This working group brings together graduate students and faculty whose research touches some aspect of mass incarceration, prisons, policing, crime and punishment, prisoners’ rights, social movements, state surveillance, detention, and violence. Using a historical framework, we will explore what scholars have called “the carceral state” chronologically and thematically. The working group will consist of three main components that will engage critical conversations in the field. Together we will read and discuss contemporary scholarship, workshop graduate student and faculty works-in-progress, and organize talks from expert researchers both at Yale and beyond. Given the growing public discourse on mass incarceration, we feel that it is imperative to create an intellectual space where we can examine the historical implications of this urgent problem.