Samuel Sokolsky-Tifft

Postdoctoral Fellow


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142 Geddes Hall

Samuel Sokolsky-Tifft is a Postdoctoral Research Scholar in Mass Incarceration at the Center for Social Concerns. Having received his Ph.D. in Political Thought and Intellectual History from the University of Cambridge, he will start up a research lab in Mass Incarceration at the Center focusing on alternatives to incarceration that reimagine the concepts of guilt and moral responsibility and produce more ethical, sustainable, and logistically grounded responses to harm.

His work centers on the history and political theory of guilt from the late 19th and early 20th century through to today, and in particular on the possibility that we might dramatically reimagine the understanding of guilt and responsibility that dominates our political, criminal, and cultural worlds. His dissertation, “The Problem of Guilt,” traces an intellectual history of guilt in the early to late 20th century from Modern Europe, North Africa, and the Caribbean, building on political theory, philosophy, and decolonial history as well as contemporary abolitionist thought and the field of critical carceral studies.

He has received the Bowdoin Prize at Harvard for best undergraduate essay in the English language, the Prince Consort & Thirlwall Prize and Seeley Medal at Cambridge for best doctoral dissertation in History, and has written and spoken across the U.S. and Europe about criminal justice, moral responsibility, Caribbean political philosophy, critical theory, mass incarceration, and the prison abolition movement. He has taught in prisons in the U.S. and England, and at Cambridge, Purdue, and Harvard, and is currently, with the intellectual help of the Center, working on a new book project, Reconceiving Guilt: Guilt, Collective Responsibility, and Political Agency in the Age of Mass Incarceration.