About the Symposium

Although the problem of mass incarceration has recently received more wide-spread scrutiny, the negative consequences of incarceration on children, families, and communities receive less attention and remain under-addressed and poorly understood. Punishing Trauma aims to provide an interdisciplinary space for conversations between graduate students, faculty, and members of the community who work with, study, and confront these pressing concerns.

Academic perspectives must be in conversation with community perspectives for justice to be truly served. To this end, we invite submissions from any discipline on topics examining the impact and consequences of punishment and surveillance, broadly conceived, on children, families, and communities.

We also invite community organizers and activists, policy-makers, and individuals directly impacted by mass incarceration and mass supervision, who are currently working to mitigate these impacts, and who bring invaluable experience and critical perspectives, linking academic and community perspectives. Equitable responses to mass incarceration and mass supervision require trans-disciplinary and community-based solutions. Punishing Trauma intends to serve as a venue for these crucial connections and conversations.


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Map of Gatton Student Center


Event Registration

Important Information

  • The registration fee is $25.
  • Please indicate on the registration form if you plan to attend the dinner on Friday night (January 31).
  • Attendance is capped at 300 so be sure to secure your spot!
  • Nearby hotel options include Holiday Inn Express on Export and the downtown Lexington Hilton.
Register to Attend


Thanks to Our Sponsors

Sponsors from the University of Kentucky

Office of Institutional Diversity

Lewis Honors College

College of Social Work

Martin School of Public Policy

Center for Equality and Social Justice – College of Arts & Sciences

Department of Sociology – College of Arts & Sciences

Martin Luther King Center

Office of the Vice President for Research

College of Education

Office of Clinical Preparation and Partnerships – College of Education

Other Sponsors


University of Tennessee-Knoxville College of Social Work

Society of Philosophers in America (SOPHIA)-Lexington Chapter


In Memory of Devon Tyrone Wade, Ph.D.

At his untimely passing, Devon Wade was completing his last year as a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at Columbia University. An accomplished scholar-activist, Devon’s research was borne out of, and driven by, community needs. His dissertation examined how schools develop responses to children impacted by trauma, such as having incarcerated parents. Devon was posthumously awarded his Ph.D. by Columbia University in May of 2018. Punishing Trauma is organized in his memory, in order to bring together like-minded scholars and activists to address the pressing issues that Devon dedicated his life to.