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For Critique 13/13, click here.
For Praxis 13/13, click here.
For Uprising 13/13, click here.
For Nietzsche 13/13, click here.
For Foucault 13/13, click here.

Tuesday March 10, 2020


12 – 1:10 PM in JGH 104

"The frame of ending mass incarceration is great for educating people about the consequences of the war on drugs, but the frame we should use to guide policy reform is ending mass criminalization. Mass incarceration is one outcome of the culture of criminalization. Criminalization includes the expansion of law enforcement and the surveillance state to a broad range of activities and settings: zero tolerance policies in schools that steer children into the criminal justice system; welfare policies that punish poor mothers and force them to work outside of the home; employment practices that require workers to compromise their basic civil liberties as a prerequisite for a job; immigration policies that stigmatize and humiliate people while making it difficult for them to access essential services like health care and housing. These and similar practices too numerous to list fall under the rubric of criminalization.”  

– Mariame Kaba, abolitionist scholar and activist 

This event centers the perspectives of four Muslim activists, lawyers and thinkers who are imagining a world beyond criminalization. In their pursuit to end cash bail, prisons and the death penalty, they have long worked to heal and transform communities through frameworks of liberation theology, transformative justice and community-led reinvestment.


Kamilah A. Pickett, JD, MPH is an Atlanta-based critically acclaimed artist, racial equity trainer and public health advocate who specializes in non-profit organizational development and giving advice that makes her mother proud. Kamilah is the National Education Lead for Believers Bail Out and has been advocating at the intersections of health and justice for more than a decade. Kamilah is dedicated to nurturing the physical, mental and social wellness of the communities that have nurtured her, and she believes in a world without cages.


Zaynab Sahar is a writer based in Chicago. Currently Zaynab is pursuing a doctorate in comparative religion at Chicago Theological Seminary and researches the relationship between gender, ritual obligation, and public religious space within Jewish and Islamic Law. Zaynab also researches and writes about spiritual abolition and the theological imagination, as well as abolition and disability. 


Jose Hamza Saldana is Director of Release Aging People from Prison, a grassroots advocacy campaign working to end mass incarceration and promote racial justice through the release of older people in prison and those serving long-term prison sentences. RAPP works to uproot legacies of coercion and racism against Black and other communities of color. As a person formerly incarcerated for 38 years, Jose is a leading community organizer who works to reform parole, clemency, and compassionate release policies. While in prison, Jose earned an associate degree and founded several important rehabilitation, restorative justice and victim awareness programs. He mentored hundreds of people during his years inside and continues to inspire communities to think beyond a system of permanent punishment and a culture of retribution.  


Kei Williams is a queer transmasculine identified organizer, artist, and public speaker. A founding member and former organize with Black Lives Matter Global Network, the aims of Kei’s work is to transform the global culture from the individual into a systemic analysis of structural oppression to create radical change. As lead-organizer on campaigns such as Safety Beyond Policing, Swipe It Forward, and Trans Liberation Tuesday, Kei uses their platform to bring in the lived experiences of those who are Black, queer, GNC, and transgender. Currently, Kei operates as the National Organizer of the Marsha P. Johnson Institute and climate organizer at the People’s Climate Movement-NY.  


Panel will be facilitated by Fatima Ashraf, who has worked in government, non-profit, and academia for nearly 20 years with a focus on supporting the dismantling of NYC’s criminal legal system. She is currently a professor of public policy at City College of New York where she invites MPA students to think critically about US domestic policy and its entrenchment in genocidal, capitalistic and colonial projects.

Human Rights Institute Book Talk: "Authoritarian Apprehensions: Ideology, Judgement, and Mourning in Syria" with Lisa Wedeen


Tuesday, April 14th, 2020 @ 12:10pm to 1:10pm

Jerome Greene Hall, Room 105

Speaker: Lisa Wedeen, Mary R. Morton Professor of Political Science and the College; Co-Director, Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory, University of Chicago.

In conversation with Bernard Harcourt, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law, Columbia Law School; Founding Director, Columbia University Center for Contemporary Critical Thought.

If the Arab uprisings initially heralded the end of tyrannies and a move toward liberal democratic governments, their defeat not only marked a reversal but was of a piece with emerging forms of authoritarianism worldwide. In Authoritarian Apprehensions, Wedeen offers an analysis of this extraordinary rush of events. Developing an insightful and theoretically imaginative approach to both authoritarianism and conflict, she lays bare the ideological investments that sustain ambivalent attachments to established organizations of power and contribute to the ongoing challenge of pursuing political change.

This event is co-sponsored by the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute, the Columbia University Center for Contemporary Critical Thought, Columbia University's Middle East Institute, and Columbia's Middle Eastern Law Students Association. 

All are welcome and lunch will be provided.