Orange Is the New Black and Philosophy
Last Exit from Litchfield
Edited by Richard Greene and Rachel Robison-Greene
Volume 92 in the Popular Culture and Philosophy® series
Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage. But once you throw in overflowing toilets, unsympathetic staff, violent fellow-inmates, arbitrary trips to the SHU, and a supernormal chicken, you’re getting pretty close.
With Orange Is the New Black, the appalling tragedy of America’s vast and exploding incarcerated population has become a touching comedy, yet one in which the really nasty reality is never far away. Prison is a microcosm of life itself, and here a chain gang of professional thinkers hammers out the philosophical implications of this unpredictable television hit.
“Timely, relevant, and binge-worthy reading! Prison life as seen in Orange Is the New Black is full of philosophical illumination, as this fun book proves so well. Existential meaning, the power of the state, the mind-body problem, punishment, race relations, transgendered identity, and the classic prisoner’s dilemma are some of the tasty items on this Litchfield menu.”
—Wayne Yuen, Professor of Philosophy, Ohlone College
“Netflix’s hit women-in-prison series Orange Is the New Black touches on just about every hot contemporary philosophical issue you can think of, and the learned contributors to this collection have done hard time chipping away at them. You, the guilty reader, are accordingly sentenced to spend the duration of this volume thinking through the show’s most provocative and puzzling implications.”
— K. Silem Mohammad, Associate Professor of English and Writing, Southern Oregon University
“From the Nietzschean ‹bermensch mentality to the epitomization of Sartre’s claim that ‘Hell is other people’ to, of course, the Prisoner’s Dilemma, this book will get you to think about life in the Big House. . . and how you most definitely don’t want to wind up there, ever!”
— Robert Arp, editor of 1001 Ideas that Changed the Way We Think
“A bunch of philosophers join you behind the bars of imagination and thinking, and they answer those burning questions like, ‘Do you really feel safer with Piper in the slammer?’ and ‘What is exploitation, anyway, in a world where everyone uses everyone else?’ and ‘What’s for lunch?’ Makes me want to write a memoir about the time I almost got arrested. The line between the free and the incarcerated is a thin one. But if you want to untangle the backstories from the parole decisions, this is your book.”
— Randall E. Auxier, author of Time, Will, and Purpose: Living Ideas from the Philosophy of Josiah Royce
Richard Greene is professor of philosophy at Weber State University and has served as executive chair of the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl. Among the many books he has co-edited are Zombies, Vampires, and Philosophy: New Life for the Undead (2010) and Dexter and Philosophy: Mind over Spatter (2011). Rachel Robison-Greene is a PhD candidate at UMass Amherst. She co-edited Boardwalk Empire and Philosophy: Bootleg This Book (2013) and The Princess Bride and Philosophy: Inconceivable! (2016).