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Fall 2024 Seminar

Comparative Abolitions (Slavery, Capital Punishment, Prison, Police)

Prerequisite: None

Exam Type:

No Exam

This seminar will consider four abolition movements spanning two centuries: slavery, capital punishment, prisons, and police.  These distinct yet overlapping movements resonate with one another across time in shared themes of human dignity, racial oppression, and the appropriate limits of state (and private) power.  They also share the choice to use the morally loaded demand for “abolition” (rather than reform or even repeal), which shapes the nature of the rhetoric that advocates use and the remedies or alternatives that they propose. Students will write a paper of 20-25 pages on a topic addressing connections between at least two of these movements.