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Founders' Day honoree: Joe Lockard

February 24, 2012

Joe Lockard is being honored with the Faculty Achievement Service Award for developing the Prison English Project at ASU. The project is a unique initiative that provides opportunities for mutual learning and engagement for students of English at ASU and prisoners in two regional facilities.

The Prison English Project has a number of components, including an internship program for undergraduate students, who act as online teachers of creative writing for inmates at the Penitentiary of New Mexico. The project also supports an internship for graduate students, who teach in-person classes in Shakespeare, American literature and creative writing to minimum-security prisoners at the state prison in Florence, Ariz.

ASU is one of only a few schools to offer such opportunities to inmates; students who have taught the prison classes have called this service learning experience “life changing.”

Prison literature and education is one part of Lockard’s scholarship. Other research interests include anti-slavery literature and human rights philosophy; comparative ethnic literatures; digital humanities and the culture of electronic publishing; and the literature of protest. In 2003, he established the Antislavery Literature Project to provide access to anti-slavery literature in a format that is both scholarly and accessible. 

The project operates in cooperation with the English Server, located at Iowa State University. In 2009, in cooperation with Sichuan University, he created Project Yao, a digital humanities project to study literary translation between China and the United States.

Lockard is an affiliate faculty member in African and African American Studies and Jewish Studies. He has written or edited a number of books, including “Iraq War Cultures,” “Watching Slavery: Witness Texts and Travel Reports,” and “Brave New Classrooms: Democratic Education and the Internet.”

Media contact:
Tracy Scott,
Alumni Association