Josephine Metcalf is a Senior Lecturer in American Studies at the University of Hull, UK. She is the co-founder and co-director of the Cultures of Incarceration Centre and Programme Director for the MA in Incarceration Studies.
Jo’s research centres on representations of gangs and prisons in a range of cultural forms and the ways in which these have been received by audiences. Her first monograph, entitled The Culture and Politics of Contemporary Street Gang Memoirs, was released in 2012 and she has co-edited two collections of essays, one on Ice-T (with Will Turner, 2014) and the other on African American culture and society after Rodney King (with Carina Spaulding, 2015). She has published on the life and works of Luis J Rodriguez, narratives by former prisoner Shaun Attwood, and Guantanamo Bay memoirs. Jo recently wrote a foreword for an anniversary edition of Joseph Bathanti’s award-winning prison novel, Coventry, and is currently working on a monograph about contemporary US prison literature as well as an edited collection on Luis J Rodriguez with Ben Olguín from UCSB (both with EUP).
In 2019, Jo finished working with a group of former prisoners on a British Academy / Arts Council-funded project entitled ‘Pop-Culture, and Transatlantic Perspectives: How Former UK Prisoners Interpret American (Penal) Culture’. The project resulted in a collection of creative writings, Hope Walks by Me that Bonnie Greer hailed her “book of the year” in the FT book review. During the pandemic Jo delivered a cutting-edge module on ‘US & UK Prison Culture; Redemption & Resistance’ at HMP Hull, digitally supported by specially adapted chromebooks for the prison learners. She is currently working on a HEIF-funded project called "Prison Officers & Creativity; Supporting the Self & the Inmate" as well as running an American Studies themed book club at HMP Hull. Jo has also just started working with Dr Kristen Drybread at the University of Colorado, Boulder on a British Academy funded project, “Shaping Prison Pedagogy through Transatlantic Cultural Exchange” and from February - July 2023, she will be a Visiting Scholar at the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara.