Last updated on: 11/10/2008 | Author:

Austin D. Sarat, JD, PhD Biography

William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science at Amherst College
Con to the question "Should the Death Penalty Be Legal?"

“[S]tate killing contributes to some of the most dangerous features of contemporary America. Among them are the substitution of a politics of revenge and resentment for sustained attention to the social problems responsible for so much violence today; the use of crime to pit various social groups against one another and to generate political capital; what has been called an effort to ‘govern through crime;’ the racializing of danger and, in so doing, the perpetuation of racial fear and antagonism; the erosion of basic legal protections and legal values in favor of short-term political expediency; the turning of state killing into an invisible, bureaucratic act, which can divorce citizens from the responsibility for the killing that the state does in their name. In response I argue for what I call a ‘new abolitionism.’ This view suggests that the time may be at hand to condemn state killing for what it does to, not for, America and what Americans most cherish.”

When the State Kills: Capital Punishment and the American Condition, 2001

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science, Amherst College, 1974-present
  • Visiting Professor, Social Studies Program, Harvard University, 2004
  • Visiting Professor of Political Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2002, 2003, and 2004
  • President, Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and the Humanities, 2001- 2004
  • Visiting Professor, Georgetown Law Center, 2002
  • Visiting Professor, School of Law, University of Connecticut, 2001
  • Visiting Professor, UCLA Law School, 2001
  • Visiting Professor, Cornell Law School, 2000
  • O’Bryne Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law and Society, University of Indiana, 1998-1999
  • Visiting Lecturer, Yale Law School, 1993, 1996
  • Visiting Assistant Professor, Johns Hopkins University, 1977-1978
  • Staff Social Scientist, Office for Improvements in the Administration of Justice, US Department of Justice, 1977-1978
  • Visiting Assistant Professor, Yale University, 1976-1977
  • JD, Yale Law School, 1988
  • PhD, Political Science, University of Wisconsin, 1973
  • MA, Political Science, University of Wisconsin, 1970
  • BA, Political Science, Providence College, 1969
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