Ethics of Reading VII: Crime & Punishment

VI. Punishment: Execution

Wed, 11/29/2017 - 4:30pm
301 Marx Hall
Event Category: 
Co-sponsored Event

The seminar will study important legal cases in the field of criminal justice and penology, alongside some works of literature that address analogous issues. Focus on reading legal opinions, especially concerning: guilt, search and seizure, interrogation and confession, trial, appeal, and punishment. Attention also to the analysis of narrative and rhetoric in both law and literature.

Visiting faculty will join the seminar approximately every other week. Open to the public 4:30 to 6pm; then a break, and then students only for final hour.


Booth v. Maryland, 482 U.S. 496       
Payne v. Tennessee, 501 U.S. 808
Ex. Rel. Francis v. Resweber, 329 U.S. 459                                   
Woodson v. North Carolina, 428 U.S. 280                                   
Herrera v. Collins, 506 U.S. 390
Robert Cover, “Violence and the Word” 
Glossip v. Gross, 576 U.S. ____(2015)
Kafka, In the Penal Colony

Peter Brooks
Princeton University

Peter Brooks, Sterling Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature at Yale University, joined the Princeton University faculty in 2008 as Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Scholar, in the University Center for Human Values and the Department of Comparative Literature. At Princeton he directs a project on “The Ethics of Reading and the Cultures of Professionalism,” which included the Symposium, “The Humanities in the Public Sphere,” held at Princeton in April 2012, the source of the recent book, edited with Hillary Jewett, The Humanities and Public Life (Fordham 2014).

He has published on narrative and narrative theory, on the 19th and 20th century novel, mainly French and English, and, more recently, on the interrelations of law and literature. He is the author of several books, including Enigmas of Identity, Henry James Goes to Paris, winner of the 2008 Christian Gauss Award, Realist Vision, Troubling Confessions: Speaking Guilt in Law and Literature, Psychoanalysis and Storytelling, Body Work, Reading for the Plot, The Melodramatic Imagination. and The Novel of Worldliness. He is also the author of two novels, The Emperor’s Body (Norton, 2011) and World Elsewhere (Simon and Schuster,1999). He edited Balzac, The Human Comedy: Selected Stories (2014). He co-edited, with Paul Gewirtz, Law’s Stories (Yale, 1996) and, with Alex Woloch, Whose Freud? (Yale, 2000). He is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for Comparative Literature and Yale Journal of Law & Humanities. His essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, New York Review of Books, The New Republic, Times Literary Supplement, The Nation, London Review of Books, Critical Inquiry, New Literary History, Yale Law Journal, and elsewhere. He has held Guggenheim, NEH, and ACLAs fellowships, and received the Mellon Foundation’s Distinguished Achievement Award.

Bernard Harcourt
Columbia Law School

Bernard E. Harcourt is Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law, Professor of Political Science, and director of the Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought at Columbia University. His scholarship intersects social and political theory, the sociology of punishment, and penal law and procedure.

He has authored several books, including Exposed: Desire and Disobedience in the Digital Age, Harvard University Press, 2015, reviewed in the New York Review of Books, the L.A. Review of BooksThe InterceptBook ForumThe New Republic, and the Times Literary Supplement. He also authored The Illusion of Free Markets: Punishment and the Myth of Natural Order, Harvard University Press, 2011, and Occupy: Three Inquiries in Disobedience, (with W. J. T. Mitchell and Michael Taussig), University of Chicago Press, 2013, and the author of the forthcoming book, The Counterrevolution: How Our Government Went to War Against Its Own Citizens (Basic Books, 2018).

He is editor of Michel Foucault’s 1973 Collège de France lectures, La société punitive, Gallimard 2014; 1972 lectures Théories et institutions pénales, Gallimard, 2015; Surveiller et punir in the new Pléiade edition of the complete works, Gallimard 2015; and co-editor of Michel Foucault's Mal faire, dire vrai, Louvain 2012; in English, University of Chicago Press, 2014.

He also authored Against Prediction: Punishing and Policing in an Actuarial Age, University of Chicago Press, 2007; Language of the Gun: Youth, Crime, and Public Policy, University of Chicago Press, 2005; and Illusion of Order: The False Promise of Broken-Windows Policing, Harvard University Press, 2001.

Co Sponsor(s): 
Sponsored by The University Center for Human Values, the Department of Comparative Literature and The Program in Law and Public Affairs, and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Distinguished Achievement Award.