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Word Beomces Flesh Poets Workshop at Urban Arts Partnership. Photo: Rasu Jilani^3470 Democracy, Imagination, Peeps of Color NOW! at Bailey's Cafe, Freebrook Spaces. Photo: Stephanie Meiling^3470 Pat Williams, Carl Hart, Kendall Thomas in Geographies of Incarceration at Columbia University. Photo: Stephanie Meiling^3470 Double Consciousness to Post Black Longtable Discussion at Actors Fund Art Center. Photo: Stephanie Meiling^3470 Amiri Baraka at Poets House, Citizen Poet event of Blink Your Eyes event. Photo: Stephanie Meiling^3470 Symposium Breakout Group, The America Project Symposium at the New School. Photo: courtesy of the New School^3470 Professor Cyril Ghosh from Wagner College (See more at Liza Jessie Peterson at Wagner College)^3470

Community Engagement


Artist: Liza Jessie Peterson

Presenter/Host: Wagner College (Staten Island) (Click here for directions)

Date/Time: February 27th, 2015 2pm – 3:30pm

Curator:  MAPP International Productions

Venue: Wagner College Campus, Foundation Hall - Manzulli Boardroom (Click here for location map)



This participatory engagement at Wagner College will feature an excerpted staged reading of The Peculiar Patriot by poet-performer Liza Jessie Peterson, followed by a discussion with Professor Cyril Ghosh reflecting on the content of the piece, policies, and current state of the criminal justice system. Dr. Cyril Ghosh; Wagner College professor whose research specializations include American Government, Political Theory, American Political Thought, Identity Politics/Multiculturalism, Religion & Politics, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, & Immigration. (Click here for directions)


The Peculiar Patriot 

The Peculiar Patriot is a solo stage play by poet-performer-playwright (and Def Poetry alum) Liza Jessie Peterson. It follows Betsy LaQuanda Ross, a self-proclaimed peculiar patriot, who makes regular visits to penitentiaries boosting the morale of her incarcerated friends and family. Betsy is both victim and victor of this country’s prison system and represents the millions of men and women who sojourn to penitentiaries on a regular basis, subjecting themselves to long bus rides and humiliating security checks to visit loved ones incarcerated. The Peculiar Patriot gives voice to the voiceless and shines a glaring light on America’s fastest growing epidemic/industry while enchanting audiences with provocative thought, hilarious dialogue and gripping pathos.


Liza Jessie Peterson, MAPP International

Liza Jessie Peterson is a renowned actress, poet, playwright, educator and advocate. Liza has written several plays including her most recent one woman play The Peculiar Patriot, which embarked on a national prison tour where she performed in over 35 jails and penitentiaries across the country. She recently performed The Peculiar Patriot, opening for Angela Davis, at Columbia University’s conference on mass incarceration. Liza has taught theater and poetry to urban and incarcerated youth for more than 15 years and counting. She created and developed The Urban Folktale Project, where her students created original plays based on their most pressing issues and performed it at several theaters around New York City. Liza remains steadfastly committed to this population of youth (both at Rikers Island and at community based programs) where she has discovered inspiration and light in a dark place.


Dr. Cyril Ghosh, Wagner College

Cyril Ghosh received a B.A. (1998) in political science and an M.A. (2000) in international relations from Jadavpur University, Calcutta (Kolkata), India. He also received an M.A. (2005) and a Ph.D. (2008) from the Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs, Syracuse University, with specializations in political theory and American politics. Prior to teaching at Wagner College, he has taught at Syracuse University, New School University, New York University, Reed College, Smith College, and Mount Holyoke College. Ghosh’s research specializations include American Government, Political Theory, American Political Thought, Identity Politics/Multiculturalism, Religion & Politics, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, & Immigration. He is the author of The Politics of the American Dream: Democratic Inclusion in Contemporary American Political Culture (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2013).

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