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From exclusion to state violence: the transformation of noncitizen detention in the United States and its implications in Arizona, 1891-present

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This dissertation analyzes the transformation of noncitizen detention policy in the United States over the twentieth century. For much of that time, official policy remained disconnected from the reality of

This dissertation analyzes the transformation of noncitizen detention policy in the United States over the twentieth century. For much of that time, official policy remained disconnected from the reality of experiences for those subjected to the detention regime. However, once detention policy changed into its current form, disparities between policy and reality virtually disappeared. This work argues that since its inception in the late nineteenth century to its present manifestations, noncitizen detention policy transformed from a form of exclusion to a method of state-sponsored violence. A new periodization based on detention policy refocuses immigration enforcement into three eras: exclusion, humane, and violent. When official policy became state violence, the regime synchronized with noncitizen experiences in detention marked by pain, suffering, isolation, hopelessness, and death. This violent policy followed the era of humane detentions. From 1954 to 1981, during a time of supposedly benevolent national policies premised on a narrative against de facto detentions, Arizona, and the broader Southwest, continued to detain noncitizens while collecting revenue for housing such federal prisoners. Over time increasing detentions contributed to overcrowding. Those incarcerated naturally reacted against such conditions, where federal, state, and local prisoners coalesced to demand their humanity. Yet, when taxpayers ignored these pleas, an eclectic group of sheriffs, state and local politicians, and prison officials negotiated with federal prisoners, commodifying them for federal revenue. Officials then used federal money to revamp existing facilities and build new ones. Receiving money for federal prisoners was so deeply embedded within the Southwest carceral landscape that it allowed for private prison companies to casually take over these relationships previously held by state actors. When official policy changed in 1981, general detentions were used as deterrence to break the will of asylum seekers. With this change, policy and reality melded. No longer needing the pretext of exclusionary rationales nor the fiction of humane policies, the unencumbered state consolidated its official detention policy with a rationale of deterrence. In other words, violence. Analyzing the devolution of noncitizen detention policy provides key insights to understanding its historical antecedents, how this violent detention regime came to be within the modern carceral state, and its implications for the mass incarceration crisis.

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  • 2018

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"By the Labors of Our Hands": An Analysis of Labor, Gender, and the Sisters of Charity in Kentucky and Ohio, 1812-1852

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This dissertation focuses on the development of two communities of women religious beginning in the early nineteenth century: the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, founded in 1812, and the Sisters

This dissertation focuses on the development of two communities of women religious beginning in the early nineteenth century: the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, founded in 1812, and the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, who arrived in Ohio in 1829 and became a diocesan community in 1852. Although administratively separate, these two apostolic communities shared a charism of service to the poor in the tradition of St. Vincent de Paul. The history of these two communities demonstrates the overlapping worlds women religious inhabited: their personal faith, their community life, their place in the Catholic Church, and their place in the regions where they lived. These women were often met with admiration as they formed necessary social institutions such as schools, hospitals, and orphanages that provided services to all religious denominations.

Sisters’ active engagement with their local communities defied anti-Catholic stereotypes at the time and created significant public roles for women. The skills needed to create and maintain successful social institutions demonstrate that these women were well-educated, largely self-sufficient, competent fundraisers, and well-liked by the Catholics and Protestants alike that they served. This dissertation argues for the importance of acknowledging and analyzing this tension: as celibate, educated women who used their skills for lifelong public service, the Sisters of Charity were clearly exceptional figures among nineteenth century women, though they did not challenge the gendered hierarchies of their church or American society.

To further understand this tension, this dissertation utilizes several cases studies of conflicts between sisters and their superiors in each community to examine the extent of their influence in deciding their community’s current priorities and planning for the future. These case studies demonstrate that obedience did not have a fixed definition but is better understood instead as dynamic and situational between multiple locations and circumstances. These findings concerning gender, labor, institution and community building, and the growth of American Catholicism highlight the integral role that women and religion played in the antebellum era.

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  • 2019