Bernard E. Harcourt is the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law, Professor of Political Science, Executive Director of the Eric H. Holder Initiative for Civil and Political Rights, and Founding 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 The Counterrevolution: How Our Government Went to War Against Its Own Citizens (Basic Books, 2018), 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 Books, The Intercept, Book Forum, The 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.
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.
Harcourt is a directeur d’etudes at the Ecole des hautes etudes en sciences sociales in Paris. He has taught at several universities, including, most recently, as the University of Chicago’s Julius Kreeger Professor of Law and Political Science and chairman of the political science department. Harcourt represented death row inmates in Montgomery, Ala., at what is now the Equal Justice Initiative. He continues to represent inmates sentenced to death or life imprisonment without parole pro bono. He has also served on human rights missions in South Africa and Guatemala.
Harcourt served as visiting professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in 2016-2017.