Bernard E. Harcourt joined the Columbia Law School faculty in July 2014. His scholarship intersects social and political theory, the sociology of punishment, and penal law and procedure. He is the author most recently of The Illusion of Free Markets: Punishment and the Myth of Natural Order (Harvard University Press 2011) and of Occupy: Three Inquiries in Disobedience (with W. J. T. Mitchell and Michael Taussig, University of Chicago Press 2013). He is the editor of Michel Foucault’s 1973 Collège de France lectures, La société punitive (Gallimard forthcoming) and the co-editor with Fabienne Brion of Michel Foucault's Mal faire, dire vrai (Louvain 2012).
He is also the author of Against Prediction: Punishing and Policing in an Actuarial Age (University of Chicago Press 2007), Language of the Gun: Youth, Crime, and Public Policy (University of Chicago Press 2005), and Illusion of Order: The False Promise of Broken-Windows Policing (Harvard University Press 2001). Harcourt is the coauthor of Criminal Law and the Regulation of Vice (Thompson West 2007), the editor of Guns, Crime, and Punishment in America (New York University Press 2003), and the founder and editor of the journal Carceral Notebooks.
Harcourt earned his bachelor's degree in political theory at Princeton University, his law degree at Harvard Law School, and his Ph.D in political science at Harvard University. After law school, he clerked for the Hon. Charles S. Haight Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and then worked as an attorney at the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, representing death row inmates. Harcourt continues to represent death row inmates pro bono and has also served on human rights missions in South Africa and Guatemala.
Harcourt served most recently as the Julius Kreeger Professor of Law and Political Science at The University of Chicago. He also has taught at Harvard Law School, New York University Law School, the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Université Paris X–Nanterre, and Université Paul Cézanne Aix-Marseille III, and was previously on the faculty at the University of Arizona. Harcourt is the former chair of the political science department at The University of Chicago.