Tommie Shelby, Caldwell Titcomb Professor of African and African American Studies and of Philosophy, Harvard University presented a lecture entitled "The Idea of Prison Abolition: Slavery and Its Legacy," on Thursday, March 30, 2023.
Abstract: Angela Davis and other leading abolitionist thinkers in the black radical tradition object to prisons on numerous grounds. One objection questions the legitimacy of the practice of imprisonment because of its similarity to, and historical connection with, practices of enslavement. In this lecture, Shelby critically engages with this influential objection. He highlights its power but also explores its limits, and he draws lessons from this engagement for criminal justice reform in the United States and elsewhere.