Benjamin D. Weber

Benjamin Weber

Position Title
Assistant Professor

2223 Hart Hall

Benjamin D. Weber

PhD in History, Harvard University


Teaching Interests

African American History; African Diaspora Studies; Black Social and Political Thought; Black Radical Tradition; Social Movements; Abolitionism; Black Internationalism; Global Black Power; Policing and Prisons; Racial Capitalism; Colonialism and Decolonization; Black Geographies; Community Archives; Film & Digital Media.

Research Interests

African American History; African Diaspora Studies; Critical Carceral Studies; Racial Capitalism; Colonialism and Decolonization; Black Radical Tradition; Black Internationalism; Black Geographies; Abolitionism; Archives; Public Memory; Law and Society; Critical Theory.

Benjamin D. Weber is an interdisciplinary scholar of African American History, Critical Carceral Studies, and Black Social and Political Thought. He received his PhD from Harvard University, and served as ACLS Mellon Public Fellow in New Orleans, and a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Brown University. Before joining the UC Davis faculty, he taught at Harvard, Brown, and as a Visiting Scholar at the University of New Orleans, where he codirected Louisiana’s contribution to the States of Incarceration national public history project. He has been recognized for his teaching and digital media work, including being named the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) Outstanding Teacher of the Year for the United States and winning an Omni Gold Award for The Calderwood Series produced by WGBH Boston for PBS Learning Media. His research and public engagement work has been supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), Charles Warren Center for American History, Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Marcus Garvey Memorial Foundation, and the W.E.B. DuBois Institute / Hutchins Center for African & African American Research. He is at work on his first book, a history of race, incarceration, and empire, under contract with The New Press.

Beyond academia, Benjamin Weber has worked as a Senior Associate at the Vera Institute of Justice, a Policy Associate at Alternate ROOTS, a Researcher on the Marcus Garvey and UNIA Papers Project, and as a Public High School Teacher in Los Angeles.


Select Publications

  • American Purgatory: Race, Empire, and the Carceral State, The New Press (under contract)
  • Prison Activism, Human Rights, and Black Internationalism, Journal of African American History (accepted)
  • Undoing Time: A Counter-Archive of Imprisonment [digital history review], Journal of American History (2020)
  • The Strange Career of the Convict Clause: US Prison Imperialism in the Panamá Canal Zone, International Labor and Working-Class History (2019)
  • From Bondage to Bail Bonds: Putting a Price on Freedom in New Orleans (with Flozell Daniels, Jr. and Jon Wool), New Orleans Tricentennial Prosperity Index (2018)
  • Fearing the Flood: Prison Revolt and Counterinsurgency in the US-Occupied Philippines, International Review of Social History (2018)
  • Fugitive Justice: The Possible Futures of Prison Records from US Colonial Rule in the Philippines, Archive Journal (2017)
  • Teaching Histories of Race and Incarceration in the Prison Capital of the World, American Federation of Teachers Journal (2016)


Digital Media & Film

  • Mapping the Global Dimensions of the US Carceral State (in progress)
  • Slow Drag in the Big Uneasy (creative producer), BlueSpark Collaborative, documentary film (in progress)
  • Visions of Justice for New Orleans (director), Vera Institute of Justice, short film (2018)
  • Sentenced to Slavery, Stuck in Jim Crow? (Louisiana codirector), States of Incarceration: A National Dialogue of Local Histories, national public history project (2016)
  • Stories from Prison Honoring Loved Ones (director), ArcGIS Online, interactive map (2016)
  • The Calderwood US History Series (host), WGBH Boston and PBS Learning Media, interactive video lessons (2015)
  • Primary Sources of the Civil Rights Movement (featured guest), Center on Congress and Teaching with Primary Sources, mobile application (2014)