Dr. Brenda Baker, is an Assistant Clinical Professor at Emory University, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. She received her Ph.D. from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond Virginia. Dr. Baker is a volunteer with the Georgia Department of Corrections providing prenatal and postpartum programs for women. Dr. Baker’s research focuses on maternal well-being and the role of social support in the transition to motherhood. Prior to joining the faculty at Emory University, Dr. Baker worked as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in perinatal settings. Dr. Baker serves on state and national committees representing the unique needs of incarcerated pregnant women and care of pregnant women with substance use disorders.
Providing prenatal and postpartum programs to incarcerated pregnant and postpartum women allows me to interact with the women and see the impact of social determinants of health in this population. Working directly with the women informs my teaching, research, and advocacy endeavors.
Elizabeth M. Bounds
Dr. Elizabeth M. Bounds, who joined Candler’s faculty in 1997, works on issues of the prison system, engaging restorative justice, conflict transformation, feminist and liberation theological ethics, and transformative pedagogical practices.
Liza Cobey is a senior at Emory University, double majoring in American Studies and media studies with a concentration in film and media management. She is currently involved in community organizing in her hometown Fredericksburg, Virginia, and works in media for a local nonprofit. She is a prison abolitionist, a police abolitionist, an anti-capitalist, and the president of Emory SPEAR, Students for Prison Education, Activism, and Resistance.
I am a PhD candidate in Religion here at Emory, with a focus in social ethics. My work asks how U.S. families, and in particular mothers, understand what it means to “flourish” in a context marked by deep social inequality—and how they pursue these visions of flourishing. One of the ways I am asking this question is through qualitative research with women who participate in a theological studies program at a state prison in North Georgia. Led by Dr. Elizabeth Bounds, this research asks the women what it means to them to live a “good life,” their hopes for their children and their future, their strategies for building care and community while inside, and how their faith or spirituality informs their perspectives. This research informs my dissertation, which more broadly asks what maternal perspectives on flourishing can tell us about what it means to live a “good life” in an unequal social landscape.
In addition to research, my work with incarcerated women has involved teaching classes related to theology, community-building, and care ethics. Teaching at the prison, seeing the incredible work that students do and ways they are able to grow, has strengthened my commitment to making quality humanities education accessible to all.
Nicholas Fesette is assistant professor of theater at Oxford College of Emory University, where he also serves as director of the theater program. His research interests include critical prison studies, trauma theory, theater and performance practice, and adaptation. His book project, Cagecraft: Performance, Race, and Trauma in Carceral America, examines modern and contemporary prison performances in order to understand how the prison system itself performs racist and classist violence. This writing draws in part on his experience working as a volunteer artist with the Phoenix Players Theatre Group inside Auburn Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison in Upstate New York.
Sarah Higinbotham is an Assistant Professor of English at Emory’s Oxford College, where she studies and teaches early modern literature, especially the intersections of literature and law. She has written about the violence of the law in early modern England, critical prison theory, and human rights in literature. Her current book project traces responses to the law’s violence throughout the English Renaissance.
I’ve discovered unparalleled intellectual freedom and creative collaboration. I help support Common Good Atlanta, which offers accredited college courses inside four Georgia Prisons (Phillips State Prison, Whitworth Women’s Facility, Metro Reentry Facility, and Burruss Correctional) as well as a weekly course in downtown Atlanta for formerly-incarcerated and justice system-impacted people.
Dr. Kathleen T. Leuschen
Marie Marquardt is a Scholar-in-Residence at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology and an author of young adult fiction. She has researched among Latin American immigrants to Georgia since 1998, and has published many articles and co-authored two non-fiction books about Latin American immigration to the U.S. South. She also writes fiction, and she has published three young adult novels that address similar themes. Marie is chair emerita of El Refugio Ministry, a Georgia non-profit that serves detained immigrants and their families. She lives in a busy household in Decatur, Georgia with her spouse, four children, a dog and a bearded dragon.
You can find out more about Marie at: www.mariemarquardt.com http://candler.emory.edu/faculty/profiles/marquardt-marie.html
Stacy Bell McQuaide
Michael Leo Owens
Liz Pittenger is the Justice Involvement Coalition’s research assistant. She is participating in the Research in Sociology at Emory (RISE) program to help with administrative and research tasks for the Coalition. She is a current junior double majoring in psychology and sociology and serves as SPEAR’s Academic Coordinator for 2020-21.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, @sarrettspeaks
Darrin Lamont Sims Jr was born in raised in St. Louis, Missouri. Growing up in such a racially divisive city had a large impact on the way Darrin saw social justice, even from a young age. He soon made the decision to attend Fisk university in Nashville, Tennessee where he double majored in Political Science and History. Upon graduation, Darrin answered that call and served as a teacher for Teach for America in Nashville and Saint Louis. It was during the Ferguson Uprising that Darrin decided to focus on community organizing and abolition. Soon after, Darrin moved to Atlanta, Georgia and enter Candler Divinity School at Emory University.. Since then, Darrin has devoted his work and research to social justice through a theological lens . Darrin currently teaches, preaches an organizes around faith-based approaches to reducing recidivism, voter suppression and police and prison abolition in Southwest Atlanta, Georgia. He is supported by his beautiful wife Chauncey and their two children Emmett and Zora.
Eric Solomon is a Visiting Assistant Professor of English and American Studies at Oxford College, and a graduate of the Laney Graduate School (2017). Eric is originally from Leland, Mississippi located at the intersection of Highway 82 and the legendary Blues Highway 61 in the middle of the Mississippi Delta and a few miles from Mississippi State Penitentiary, also known as Parchman Farm. His scholarly-activist work stands at the intersection of the new southern studies and queer and sexuality studies and is informed by a commitment to social justice rooted in his background and knowledge of socioeconomic inequities and disparities for people of color and LGBTQ+ people across southern spaces.
Alyasah A. Sewell
Alyasah “Ali” Sewell (they/them/their) is Associate Professor of Sociology at Emory University and Founder and Director of The Race and Policing Project. Advancing quantitative approaches to racism studies, they assess empirical links between the political economy of race and racial health(care) disparities using policing and housing policy data. Published in a wide array of sociological and interdisciplinary outlets, their research garnered support and recognition from the National Institutes of Health, the Ford Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Society for the Study of Social Problems, the Baden-Württemberg Foundation, and the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research. Planned Parenthood named them, “The Future: Innovator and Visionary Who Will Transform Black Communities”. They received their Ph.D. and M.A. in Sociology from Indiana University with a minor in Social Science Research Methods and their B.A. summa cum laude in Sociology from the University of Florida with a minor in Women’s Studies.