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; Policing, Prisons, and the Carceral State; Racial Capitalism; Colonialism; Decolonization; Abolitionism; Prison Writing; Antiracist Movements; Art-Activism; Community Archives; Placemaking; New Media.

Research Interests

African American History; Africana Political Thought; Critical Carceral Studies; Racial Capitalism; Comparative Colonialism and Decolonization; Abolitionism; Black Geographies; Antiracist Movements; Archive Studies; Critical Theory; Law and Society.

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 a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Brown University and as ACLS Mellon Public Fellow in New Orleans. Before joining the faculty at UC Davis, he taught at Harvard, Brown, and 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 new 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. He is at work on his first book, a history of race, incarceration, and US empire, under contract with The New Press.

Beyond academia, Benjamin Weber has taught public high school in Los Angeles, worked with the Vera Institute of Justice on initiatives to end money bail in New Orleans, and collaborated on community archiving and cultural policy projects at Alternate ROOTS, a grassroots art-activism organization in the South. 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. 



  • 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 (in preparation)
  • 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)

Video and Digital Media

  • Slow Drag in the Big Uneasy (creative prod.), BlueSpark Collaborative (in progress)
  • Visions of Justice for New Orleans (dir.), Vera Institute of Justice (2018)
  • Sentenced to Slavery, Stuck in Jim Crow? (with UNO students and community partners), States of Incarceration: A National Dialogue of Local Histories (2016)
  • Stories from Prison Honoring Loved Ones (with men at Angola Penitentiary and UNO students), ArcGIS Online (2016)
  • The Calderwood US History Series (host), WGBH Boston and PBS Learning Media (2015)
  • Primary Sources of the Civil Rights Movement (featured guest), Center on Congress and Teaching with Primary Sources (2014)