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Jessica R. Calvanico, Ph.D 


The House of the Good Shepherd
and Carceral Girlhoods of New Orleans


In 1873, the House of the Good Shepherd opened its doors to New Orleans as a reformatory for “sexually delinquent” girls. For the better part of a century, the Catholic reformatory incarcerated New Orleanian girls of any race, class, ethnicity, nationality, or religion—it even operated as the city’s official sentencing site for criminalized girls prior to the establishment of the juvenile court in 1909. Relying on extensive archival research across the US, this talk explores the history of New Orleans’s House of the Good Shepherd and its influence in shaping contemporary legal, social, cultural, and political ideas of “the girl” in New Orleans, the US South, and beyond.

Jessica R. Calvanico is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice in the Department of Childhood Studies at Rutgers University. She completed her Ph.D. at University of California, Santa Cruz in the Feminist Studies Department, with designated emphasis in Visual Studies and Critical Race & Ethnic Studies. Her work explores foundations of the juvenile justice system and histories of girlhood in the US South.

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Date & Time
February 23, 2022
4:20 pm-5:40 pm