Each year, PNAP offers between 13-15 non-credit college-level courses in subjects ranging from printmaking and criminology to poetry and women’s studies. Faculty are independent artists and Chicago university professors. A committee identifies new faculty and classes based on student interest and a desire to offer classes in a wide range of subjects taught by faculty that are representative of our student population. Our commitment to non-credit classes has been supported and articulated by our students in prison as access to general education and art has been a critical gateway to higher education. Along with classes, PNAP hosts guest lectures where speakers discuss their work as writers, artists, and activists with a group in the Stateville auditorium. 

Current Courses

Race, Class, and Gender Dimensions of Criminalization and Justice

Faculty: Dr. Julian Thompson, University of IL, Chicago

This course will explore the ways that racial/ethnic identity, class position, (dis)ability, and gender/sexual identity become sources of stigma in society, and how that stigma is criminalized and punished. The readings and class discussions will focus on how structural inequality is created and reinforced by public policy, and how forces in the neo-liberal state interact with the apparatus of the carceral state to disadvantage groups of people and consolidate power among elites. 

Research for Justice

Faculty: Dr. Lisa Yun Lee, National Public Housing Museum and Dr. Adam Bush, College Unbound

This class explores the spaces and places where knowledge has been created and contributed to freedom, outside of formal school structures.  Sites of knowledge production that will be examined include social movements, in cultural models of production like community theater, jazz, hip-hop, and the black arts tradition, through friendship and mentorship, in museums and exhibitions, and within prison and spaces of incarceration. This class includes diverse readings of theory, poetry, history and musical lyrics. Students will be introduced to participatory action research methodologies, including story circles, oral history, and community mapping. 

James Baldwin and Black Political Thought

Faculty: Dr. Martha Biondi, Northwestern University

Students will read the nonfiction writings of novelist, playwright, and essayist James Baldwin, emphasizing works from the 1950s to the 1970s. The class will explore Baldwin’s engagement with race and racism, gender, national identity, justice, religion, and the meaning of history. The class will conclude with Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me, a long essay inspired by Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time. You will be asked to write your own nonfiction Baldwin-inspired essay.

Art: Mural Making

Faculty: Aaron Hughes, Independent Artist & Sarah Ross, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Murals bring histories, politics, memories, and dreams into public spaces. They activate neighborhoods as sites of agitation, popular education, and contemplation. Through a two semester course we will explore the rich history of social justice murals, learn the technical process of designing and building a mural, and develop their own murals lifting up the struggles against police violence and mass incarceration. Key ideas and themes will be developed throughout the class with a focus on both research and making. Our work will think about how research, lived experience and visions for a future can be used to speak to Chicago communities.

The Lyric Essay

Faculty: Audrey Petty

In this seminar, we’ll closely consider the lyric essay–its origins and its aesthetics. We’ll read several craft essays about the lyric essay, and closely study exemplary texts that vary widely in theme and aesthetic approach. Assigned texts will include works by such authors as James Baldwin, Jamaica Kincaid, Maxine Hong Kingston, and John Edgar Wideman. Students will keep a journal to track their key questions and observations about assigned readings, and students will also draft and refine lyric essays of their own over the course of the workshop.

Math Tutorial

Faculty: Desmond Taylor

Think Tank

Faculty: Alice Kim, Durrell Washington, and Noelle Petrowski

Past Courses

2020-2021 Academic Year

Violence in Society
Faculty: Beth Richie

Introduction to Visual Criminology
Faculty: Luke Fidler and Jason LaFountain

Economy, Society and Public Policy
Faculty: Damon Jones

2019-20 Academic Year

African Americans and the Civil War
Faculty: Dr. Johari Jabir

Envisioning Criminal Justice Reforms
Faculty: Dr. Clinton Nichols

Art: Anthems
Faculty: Sarah Ross, Anna Martine Whitehead, Aaron Hughes and Damon Locks

Writing Poetry
Faculty: Dr. Tara Betts 

Critical Writing and Research
Faculty: Dr. Tim Barnett, Dr. Martha Biondi, Dr. Erica Meiners, and Dr. Beth Richie

Draw What You See/Draw What You Dream
Faculty: Aaron Hughes

Our Dances, Our Freedom
Faculty: Anna Martine Whitehead

Art and Empire in the Ancient World
Faculty: Dr. Luke Fidler

The Social Value of Latinas/os/xs
Faculty: Michael De Anda Muňiz

Manifesta for the Future
Faculty: Claire Pentecost

2018-19 Academic Year 

Introduction to Writing
Faculty: Simone Waller

Digging Deeper: Poetry Informed by Contingent Citizenship and Being Human
Faculty: Dr. Tara Betts

Emancipation and Abolition in Historical Perspective
Faculty: Dr. Kai Parker

Afrofuturism: Science Fiction as Social Commentary and Alternative Visions of Tomorrow
Faculty: Dr. Clinton Nichols

UWW Capstone Experience Course
Faculty: Dr. Timothy Barnett & Dr. Erica Meiners

2017-2018 Academic Year

Race and Politics
Faculty: Dr. Cathy J. Cohen

Make Your Mark & Fly Your Flag
Faculty: Aaron Hughes

From Civil Rights to #Black Lives Matter: Politics, Society and Protest Since the 1960s
Faculty: Dr. Martha Biondi

Movement / Movement: Dance and Liberation
Faculty: Anna Martine Whitehead

Poetry About My Rights: Writing Poems Informed by Contingent Citizenship
Faculty: Dr. Tara Betts 

2017-2018 Academic Year

Introduction to Environmental Justice
Faculty: Dr. Antonio Reyes Lopez

Writing Workshop: Creating Character
Faculty: Tess Landon

Printmaking: Developing a Collaborative Portfolio
Faculty: William Estrada

Art and Animation
Faculty: Damon Locks and Sarah Ross

Mapping the Self in Community
Faculty: Jill Petty, Audrey Petty, and Dr. Miriam Petty

American Public Schools
Faculty: Dr. Eve Ewing and Dr. David Stovall

Justice and Politics in Shakespeare’s Plays
Faculty: Dr. Wendy Wall

Black Women in History, Politics and The Law
Faculty: Dr. Beth Richie, Dr. Barbara Ransby, and Dr. Cathy Cohen

Critical Education: Power, Knowledge, and Change
Faculty: Dr. Tim Barnett and Dr. Erica Meiners

Introduction to Criminology
Faculty: Dr. Clinton Nichols

A Survey of Black Writers
Faculty: Dr. Tara Betts

Writing: Education from the Public to the Personal
Faculty: Tess Landon

Political Theory: The Meaning and Limits of Rights
Faculty: Dr. Lucy Cane

Philosophy: Freedom and Its Limits
Faculty: Dr. David Egan

Philosophy: Philosophy of Punishment
Faculty: Dr. Jessica Bird

2016-2017 Academic Year

American Art: A People’s History
Faculty: Dr. Luke Fidler and Dr. Jason LaFountain

Introduction to Latina/o Studies
Faculty: Michael De Anda Muñiz

Staging Time: Real Stories, Real Theater
Faculty: David Feiner and Benjamin Serrano, Albany Park Theater Project

African American Studies 101
Faculty: Dr. Kai Parker

Passing Time: (In)significant Moments
Faculty: Andres L. Hernandez

Literature: The Journey
Faculty: Audrey Petty

History: From Civil Rights to Black Lives Matter
Faculty: Dr. Martha Biondi

Art: From Drawing the Personal to Printing the Public
Faculty: Aaron Hughes

Writing: Writing Through a Wall
Faculty: Alice Kim

Performance: Dance and Movement-building
Faculty: Anna Martine Whitehead

2015-2016 Academic Year

Literature: Detective Fiction
Faculty: Dr. Tim Barnett

Abstracting Nature
Faculty: William Estrada

Political Science: The Meaning and Limits of Rights
Faculty: Dr. Anna Terweil and Dr. Lucy Cane

The Artistic Imagination
Faculty: Dr. Jason LaFountain

Art: Drawing on Community
Faculty: Marvin Tate

Religion and the Black Freedom Struggle
Faculty: Dr. Kai Parker

Black Women and the Justice System
Faculty: Dr. Beth Richie

Words Free: An Exploration of Poetry & Poetics
Faculty: Dr. Lasana Kazembe

African American History, 1619-1900
Faculty: Dr. Kai Parker

Freedom Dreams
Faculty: Alice Kim

Core Writing Skills
Faculty: Nancy Traver

Art and Science Fiction: Documenting the Future
Faculty: Damon Locks

2014-2015 Academic Year

Reading and Writing Our Lives
Faculty: Dr. Tim Barnett

Political Theory: Theory and Event
Faculty: Dr. Lucy Cane

The Art and Craft of Memoir: Object Lessons
Faculty: Audrey Petty

Black Women and the Criminal Justice System
Faculty: Dr. Beth Richie

Introduction to Latino and Latin American Studies
Faculty: Dr. Christina Gomez

Portraiture and Installation
Faculty: Sarah Ross

Writing Workshop
Faculty: Dr. Amy Partridge and Dr. Erica Meiners

Poetry Series: Writing and a Healing
Faculty: Marvin Tate

Animals: Myth and Reality
Faculty: Claire Pentecost

The Artist in Representation
Faculty: Damon Locks

Introduction to Political Theory in the American Context
Faculty: Dr. Lucy Cane and Dr. Anna Terwiel

African American History, 1865-Present
Faculty: Dr. Darryl Heller

2013-2014 Academic Year

Personal Narratives in History
Faculty: Dr. Amy Partridge

Art & Advocacy, History & Practice
Faculty: Tess Landon

Art: (Re)creation / Time
Faculty: Damon Locks, Sarah Ross, and Fereshteh Toosi

The Fiction and Prose of Richard Wright
Faculty: Dr. Natasha Barnes

Social Change Histories
Faculty: Dr. Erica Meiners and Jill Petty

Poetry: Dear Reader
Faculty: Fred Sasaki, Lindsay Garbutt, Ydalmi Noriega, Ashley Sheehan, James Sitar, Mairead Case, Nuria Sheehan, Poetry Foundation

Humanities: Social Change Histories
Faculty: Ben Almassi and Nick Smaligo

Drawing from Observation
Faculty: Ryan Griffis

Expository Writing Basics
Faculty: Jill Petty

Poor People’s Movements in the 2000s, 1960s & 1930s
Faculty: Dr. Amy Partridge

2012-2013 Academic Year 

Gendered Perspectives
Faculty: Dr. Erica Meiners

Unexpected Art, Unexpected Artists
Faculty: Tess Landon

Mural and Painting Workshop
Faculty: Gabriel Villa

The Letter
Faculty: Claire Pentecost

Creative Writing: Political Poetry
Faculty: Daniela Olszewska

Creative Writing: Coming of Age
Faculty: Jill Petty

Faculty: Anthony Madrid, Nadya Pittendrigh, Fred Sasaki, and Tess Landon.

Visual Stories
Faculty: Sarah Ross