Law School to Host Talk by Texas Tough Author Robert Perkinson on Imprisonment and Race, November 22, 2010

The Law School’s William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law and UT-Austin’s Institute for Historical Studies will co-present a book talk by Robert Perkinson, author of Texas Tough: The Rise of America’s Prison Empire, on Monday, November 22, 2010, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Sheffield Room at the Law School. The event is free and open to the public.

Texas Tough is a critically acclaimed history of imprisonment, race, and politics from slavery to the present, with an emphasis on Texas. Drawing on ethnographical, archival, legal, and legislative research, Perkinson argues that the history of American criminal justice is a more Southern story than most have acknowledged, and that the politics of race and reaction have played a prominent role in the expansion of incarceration. The New York Times Book Review called Texas Tough “a searching history of American incarceration . . . an alarming indictment, built on passionate and exhaustive research.”

Perkinson is an associate professor in the Department of American Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. He received his BA from the University of Colorado at Boulder and his MA and PhD in American Studies from Yale University. His work on Texas Tough was supported in part by a Soros Justice Fellowship.

Michele Deitch, senior lecturer at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and the Law School, and an expert on Texas prison reform, will introduce Perkinson’s talk. The event is cosponsored by the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies, the Department of American Studies, the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies, the Department of History, the LBJ School of Public Affairs, and the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, as well as several Law School student organizations: the American Journal of Criminal Law, the Criminal Law Association, and the Thurgood Marshall Legal Society.

Contact: Mary Crouter, Assistant Director, William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law, 512-232-7855,

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