Bernard E. Harcourt is the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science at Columbia University. He is the author most recently of The Counterrevolution: How Our Government Went to War Against Its Own Citizens (Basic Books, 2018), as well as of Exposed: Desire and Disobedience in the Digital Age (Harvard 2015), The Illusion of Free Markets: Punishment and the Myth of Natural Order (Harvard 2011), and Occupy: Three Inquiries in Disobedience with Michael Taussig and W.J.T. Mitchell (Chicago 2013).
He is also the editor of the French edition of Michel Foucault’s 1972-73 lectures at the Collège de France, La Société punitive (Gallimard 2013), and the 1971-1972 lectures, Theories et institutions pénales (Gallimard 2015), as well as the new Pléiade edition of Surveiller et punir in the official collected works of Foucault at Gallimard. He is co-editor of the lectures Foucault delivered at Louvain in 1981, in French and English, Wrong-Doing, Truth-Telling: The Function of Avowal in Justice(Chicago 2014).
Harcourt is the Executive Director of the Eric H. Holder Initiative for Civil and Political Rights, and the founding director of the Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought at Columbia University, and he is also a directeur d’études (chaired professor) at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. Harcourt served as visiting professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton in 2016-2017.
A passionate advocate for justice, Harcourt started his legal career representing death row inmates, working with Bryan Stevenson at what is now the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama. He lived and worked in Montgomery for several years and still today continues to represent pro bono inmates sentenced to death and life imprisonment without parole. He also served on human rights missions to South Africa and Guatemala, and this past year has been actively challenging the Trump administration’s Muslim Ban, representing pro bono a Syrian medical resident excluded under the executive order, as well as Moseb Zeiton, a Columbia SIPA student.