ROUGH DRAFT: The first version of your rough draft should be prepared and submitted via our Blackboard page by the end of the day on Monday, April 26. Your first draft should be typed and must be at least 4-5 double-spaced pages in length (with margins of no more than one inch). You can submit your rough draft as a Word, PDF, or Google Docs document. Any rough drafts submitted after Monday, April 26 will be considered late and penalized accordingly.


RECEIVING FEEDBACK FROM ME: Once you have submitted your rough draft of this essay, you will have two choices in terms of receiving feedback from me: 1) I will send you written comments on your draft, which you will receive by Friday, April 30; or 2) you can have a 10 minute individual meeting with me (via Zoom), in which I will provide spoken comments on your draft—that meeting will take place by Friday, April 30. I will post a sign-up sheet where you can let me know your preference for either written comments or else an individual meeting. (Please note: if you submit your rough draft after April 26, I will only be able to provide you with written comments, since I’ll already have arranged times for all the individual meetings.)


FINAL DRAFT: The final draft of your essay will be due by the end of the day on

Monday, May 10. Please submit your final draft via Blackboard; you can submit it as a

Word, PDF, or Google Docs document. The final version of your essay must be at least 5-6 double-spaced typed pages in length. Any final drafts submitted after Monday, May 10 will be considered late and penalized accordingly.


There are, of course, many similarities between Angela Davis’ Are Prisons Obsolete? and Ruth Wilson Gilmore’s Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California. The primary similarity is that both books deal with prisons and policing, analyzing what both authors would describe as “the prison industrial complex” and arguing for the abolition of this system. But there are also important differences between these two books, at the level of style, approach, and writing techniques, and also in terms of the arguments that each author is making.


For this essay, I will ask you to discuss some of the similarities and differences between Davis’ and Gilmore’s texts. This will involve a careful analysis of selected sections of these two books, with a number of specific references to passages from their texts; that is, be sure to cite and analyze some specific quotes from their texts, rather than just making general statements about each book. Try to go beyond the obvious points that can be made too easily. For example, rather than just pointing out some of the very apparent differences, talk about how these differences affect the work that they do as writers. That is, how do these differences affect their language, their tone, their approaches to writing, the way they tell their stories, the audiences they choose to address, and the arguments that they make? Are there similarities in their experiences and in their approaches? Are there differences in the conclusions that they reach about their topics, and in the suggestions they make about how to address the problems that they describe? How would you imagine them responding to each other if they were brought into a dialogue? (This is something that you, as the writer, can do: invite Davis and Gilmore to have a conversation, and figure out how to stage it.)


Obviously, you will not be able to write about everything in these two books, so your job is also to figure out how to focus your comparison of these books around a central argument or main idea of your own. In doing so, feel free to draw on points you have already made about Are Prisons Obsolete? in your first essay—although you should work to expand and adapt these ideas to fit your argument in this essay—and also points that you have raised in your weekly informal writing assignments and in the Discussion Forum. You are also welcome (but not required) to bring in other writers we have read this semester. My only concern is that in discussing the similarities and differences between Angela Davis’ and Ruth Wilson Gilmore’s texts, and in bringing them into some sort of conversation with each other, you bring in your own perspective and your own arguments as well.


I look forward to reading your drafts! Please be in touch with any questions.