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Bernard E. Harcourt


Professor Harcourt is the Julius Kreeger Professor of Law and Political Science at The University of Chicago. Professor Harcourt's scholarship intersects social and political theory, the sociology of punishment, and penal law and procedure. He is the author of the book, The Illusion of Free Markets: Punishment and the Myth of Natural Order (Harvard University Press 2011) and the co-editor with Fabienne Brion of Michel Foucault's Mal faire, dire vrai  (in French 2012 here at PUL and in English forthcoming at the University of Chicago Press).

He is also the author of 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). Harcourt is the coauthor of Criminal Law and the Regulation of Vice (Thompson West 2007), the editor of Guns, Crime, and Punishment in America (New York University Press 2003), and the founder and editor of the journal Carceral Notebooks.

Professor Harcourt earned his bachelor's degree in political theory at Princeton University, his law degree at Harvard Law School, and his PhD in political science at Harvard University. After law school, Professor Harcourt clerked for the Hon. Charles S. Haight Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and then worked as an attorney at the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, representing death row inmates. Professor Harcourt continues to represent death row inmates pro bono, and has also served on human rights missions in South Africa and Guatemala. 

Professor Harcourt has been a Visiting Professor at Harvard University, New York University, the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Université Paris X–Nanterre, and Université Paul Cézanne Aix-Marseille III, and was previously on the faculty at the University of Arizona.


AB ,1984, Princeton University; JD, 1989, and PhD, 2000, Harvard University