Past Event

Carcerality Workshop | Counter-Histories of Safety and Justice - Vesla Weaver (Johns Hopkins)

April 19, 2024
5:00 PM - 6:30 PM
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Knox 509

We are excited to announce the next Carcerality, Law, and Punishment workshop scheduled on Friday, April 19th. The speaker will be Professor Vesla Weaver (Johns Hopkins), who will discuss her current work on the state from below, notably Black-led movements against racial authoritarianism and police violence. Those interested in attending the workshop can contact David Knight ([email protected]) for the papers.

Participants are invited to read and provide feedback on one paper on Black-led safety mobilizations and visions of safety, as well as a chapter on political organizing among Black police officers in the mid-20th century. Participants do not need to read both drafts and are invited to come even if they do not have the opportunity to read.

The workshop will be held from 5pm - 6:30pm at the Columbia Sociology Department (606 W 122nd St, Knox Hall, Rm. 509). Google Maps link here.

As always, everyone is welcome. See below for more information about the talk and about Professor Weaver.


Vesla Mae Weaver (Ph.D., Harvard, Government, and Social Policy) is the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Sociology at Johns Hopkins University, a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and faculty affiliate of the Justice Collaboratory at Yale University. A scholar of American politics, she writes about race, power, and political life.  Weaver has produced leading scholarship and pioneered concepts to understand the role of incarceration and policing in race-class subjugated communities and the development and consequences of coercive institutions in American democracy. Weaver’s books include Arresting Citizenship and Creating a New Racial Order.  Her next book, The State From Below: Racial Authoritarianism in US Democracy, amasses the most extensive collection of first-hand accounts of the police—by those who are policed—to date, using a new civic infrastructure called Portals. She co-directs the American Prison Writing Archive, the largest and first fully searchable digital archive of imprisoned people writing about their experience inside confinement in four hundred prison and jail facilities.  Such projects unite a concern with positioning the unfree as central theorists of democracy. Weaver’s research has been supported by fellowships from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation (2017 fellow), Russell Sage Foundation, National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Brookings Institution, and owes her beginnings as a political scientist to the Ralph Bunche Summer Institute. She has written in the New York TimesWashington PostBoston ReviewMarshall Project, and Slate, among others.  And she takes an active role in public debates about what it might mean to construct public space focused on civic health rather than surveillance.

Read more about Professor Weaver’s research here:

This workshop is generously supported by funding from the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP) at Columbia University.