Course description

This course traces connections and divergences between nineteenth-century anti-slavery abolitionist writing and contemporary police and prison abolitionism. What does it mean to abolish systems that are core components of an economic or legal system? How might we understand the relationship between reforming and transforming broad societal structures like chattel enslavement and mass incarceration? How have artists activists community organizers and elected officials engaged with questions of abolition in their work whether it is facing the public or behind closed doors? And how have those people who have been most deeply affected by these systems responded to them? We consider the work of authors organizers and scholars such as Frederick Douglass Frances E.W. Harper Harriet Jacobs James McCune Smith Maria W. Stewart Harriet Beecher Stowe David Walker James Baldwin Octavia Butler Angela Davis W.E.B. Du Bois Mariame Kaba and Danez Smith among others.


Associated Schools

  • Harvard Division of Continuing Education

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