Capitalism, Progressivism, and Mass Incarceration

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Nov 03
4:00pm - 5:30pm
List Art Building, Room 120

Bernard Harcourt (Columbia Law School) and Naomi Murakawa (Princeton) present rival narratives about mass incarceration in America. In The Illusion of Free Markets: Punishment and the Myth of Natural Order , Harcourt shows the interdependence of contract enforcements in global markets and punitive authority. InThe First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison America, by contrast, Murakawa traces prison growth to liberal campaigns and progressive legislation. Together, Murakawa and Harcourt offer fresh ideas about into the political, economic and ethical dimensions of mass incarceration.



Naomi MurakawaNaomi MurakawaNaomi Murakawa is an associate professor of African American Studies at Princeton University. She studies the reproduction of racial inequality in 20th and 21st century American politics, with specialization in crime policy and the carceral state. She is the author of The First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison America (Oxford University Press, 2014), and h er work has appeared in Law & Society Review, Theoretical Criminology, Du Bois Review, and several edited volumes. She has received fellowships from Columbia Law School's Center for the Study of Law and Culture, as well the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Health Policy Research Program. Prior to joining African American Studies at Princeton, she taught in the Department of Political Science at the University of Washington. Professor Murakawa received her B.A. in women's studies from Columbia University, her M.Sc. in social policy from the London School of Economics, and her Ph.D. in political science from Yale University. 


Bernard HarcourtBernard Harcourt Bernard E. Harcourt writes about punishment and political economy. He is the author, most recently, of Exposed: Desire and Disobedience in the Digital Age (Harvard University Press 2015) and The Illusion of Free Markets: Punishment and the Myth of Natural Order (Harvard University Press 2011). He is Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia University, the founding director of the Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought, and directeur d'études (chaired professor) at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. He just moved to Columbia from the University of Chicago where he was the chairperson of the political science department and Julius Kreeger Professor of Law and Political Science.

He is author and editor of several other books and is also an active death row lawyer. He began representing inmates sentenced to death in Alabama in 1990 and continues that work on a pro bono basis today on cases challenging the death penalty and life imprisonment without parole.