February 19 Monday

James A. Thomas Lecture with Professor Elizabeth Hinton

  • Monday, February 19, 2018 at 4:30PM - 6:00PM
  • Room 127
  • Open To The Public
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In her lecture, Professor Hinton will discuss how following the Second Chance Pell Pilot Program President Barack Obama established in 2015, a growing number of schools have responded to the problems stemming from mass incarceration by offering classes as well as credit to students behind bars—including, most recently, Yale. Both nationally and locally, there is increasing recognition that postsecondary education helps people secure employment, support families, heal as individuals, and remain free after they are released from the criminal justice system. This lecture will examine the ethical and moral issues that shape reentry through the lens of prison education, focusing on the extent to which institutions of higher learning can and should serve incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people.

Elizabeth Hinton is Assistant Professor in the Department History and the Department of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. Hinton’s research focuses on the persistence of poverty and racial inequality in the 20th century United States. Her current scholarship considers the transformation of domestic social programs and urban policing after the Civil Rights Movement. In her award-winning recent book, From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America (Harvard University Press, 2016), Hinton examines the implementation of federal law enforcement programs beginning in the mid-1960s that laid the groundwork for the mass incarceration of American citizens. In revealing the links between the rise of the American carceral state and earlier anti-poverty programs, Hinton presents Ronald Reagan’s War on Drugs not as a sharp policy departure but rather as the full realization of a shift towards surveillance and confinement that began during the Johnson administration. From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime was named one of the New York Times’s 100 notable books of 2016.

Before joining the Harvard faculty, Hinton spent two years as a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Michigan Society of Fellows and Assistant Professor in the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan. A Ford Foundation Fellow, Hinton completed her Ph.D. in United States History from Columbia University in 2013.

The Thomas Lecture was established by Yale Law School students in 1989 to honor Associate Dean James A. Thomas '64, to recognize scholars whose work addresses the concerns of communities or groups currently marginalized with the legal academy or society at large.