I'm the Caldwell Titcomb Professor in the Department of African and African American Studies and the Department of Philosophy at Harvard University, where I have taught since 2000. I first became interested in philosophy and in the world of ideas more generally at Florida A & M University. I earned my Ph.D in philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh (1998).
My newest book is The Idea of Prison Abolition (2022), which is based on my Carl G. Hempel Lectures delivered at Princeton University in 2018 and which was co-winner of the 2023 David Easton Award from the American Political Science Association. I'm also the author of Dark Ghettos: Injustice, Dissent, and Reform (2016), which won the 2018 David and Elaine Spitz Prize for the best book in liberal or democratic theory and the 2016 Book Award from the North American Society for Social Philosophy. I'm also the author of We Who Are Dark: The Philosophical Foundations of Black Solidarity (2005), which was recognized as a 2005 best academic book by New York magazine and a New York Times Editors' Choice.
Brandon M. Terry and I coedited To Shape a New World: Essays on the Political Philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2018). Derrick Darby and I coedited Hip Hop and Philosophy: Rhyme 2 Reason (Open Court, 2005).
My research and teaching interests include social and political philosophy, Africana philosophy, philosophy of law, critical philosophy of race, history of black political thought, and philosophy of social science. The thinkers who have most influenced me include Martin Delany, Karl Marx, W.E.B. Du Bois, Richard Wright, Martin Luther King, Jr., John Rawls, and G.A. Cohen. In terms of subject matter, philosophical style, and approach to the questions I address, I try to emulate and build upon the writings of Bernard R. Boxill and Kwame Anthony Appiah.