Past Event

Elective Studies Supper Club Vol 14: Heather Schoenfeld

In partnership with Land & Sea Dept., Illinois Humanities presents the next volume of the Elective Studies Supper Club for Illinois artists, featuring a lecture by sociologist Heather Schoenfeld, a meal by chef Hunter Moore of Parson’s Chicken & Fish, and an opening drink by Land & Sea Dept. Beverage Director Paul McGee.

This event is part of our Elective Studies series, created to help artists find inspiration from the world around them. Through a combination of lectures by top-tier experts and meals crafted by the city’s finest chefs, these convenings are designed to unite, inspire, nourish, and connect.

This year’s Elective Studies series converges with Envisioning Justice, an initiative created and facilitated by Illinois Humanities that uses the arts and humanities to engage Chicagoans in a citywide conversation about the impact of incarceration and jails with the goal of imagining a new criminal justice system.

With generous sponsorship by Letherbee Distillers and Lagunitas Brewing Co..

More on the Lecture:

Lecture: “Building the Prison State: The Origins of Mass Incarceration”
Heather Schoenfeld
Northwestern University

This lecture draws on the experience of a few key states to explain how and why the United States became the world’s leading jailer. Schoenfeld reframes the contemporary story of mass incarceration as an expansion of the government’s power to punish. Examining civil rights protests, prison condition lawsuits, the War on Drugs, and the role of prosecutors, Schoenfeld explains why politicians veered from skepticism of prisons to an embrace of incarceration as the appropriate response to violent and non-violent crime. In addition, she describes why opponents of incarceration were unable to effectively resist the development of the prison state. Schoenfeld will be joined by her colleague Michael Campbell for a portion of this lecture.

Heather Schoenfeld, who holds a PhD in sociology from Northwestern University, is a sociologist of law who works at the intersection of politics, policy, race and the law. Her research focuses on systems of criminal punishment. Her studies of the origins and development of mass incarceration in the United States have been published in sociology, law and society, and law journals. In addition to completing a book manuscript about the origins of mass incarceration in Florida from 1950 to the present, Schoenfeld is currently working on a project that examines the motivations for recent state-level criminal justice policy reform aimed at reducing prison populations. From 2013 to 2015, she served on the editorial board of Law and Social Inquiry.

Michael Campbell is an assistant professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. His research uses historical methods to examine how politics and institutions shape legal change. This fall Campbell [be consistent] will join the University of Denver’s Department of Sociology and Criminology. Campbell received his PhD from the Department of Criminology, Law & Society at UCI. His work has been published in the American Journal of Sociology, Law & Society Review, Criminology, Punishment and other sociological and criminological academic journals.

More on the Chef:

Chef Hunter Moore is the executive chef at Parson’s Chicken & Fish. Moore got his first professional job at a cheeseburger joint in Florida at sixteen. He moved to Champaign-Urbana after high school, where – while working at mediocre Italian and vegan spots – he began to think creatively about food. From there, he moved to Chicago to attend culinary school, and once out of school, Moore worked his way through some of the city’s best kitchens, deepening his knowledge of and passion for the craft of food, as well as for cooking and hospitality in general. For Moore, food isn’t just about nourishment but about bringing us all together.

If you are interested in being added to the list of artists invited to these gatherings, please email
If you require a sign interpreter or any other arrangements to fully participate in this program, please contact at least 72 hours in advance of the event.