Through her activism and scholarship over the last decades, Angela Yvonne Davis has been deeply involved in our nation's quest for social justice. Her work as an educator, both at the university level and in the larger public sphere, has always emphasized the importance of building communities and the struggle for economic, racial, and gender justice.
Davis's teaching career has taken her to San Francisco State University, Mills College, and UC Berkeley. She also has taught at UCLA, Vassar, the Claremont Colleges, and Stanford University. She spent the last 15 years at the University of California Santa Cruz where she is now Distinguished Professor Emerita of history of consciousness, an interdisciplinary Ph.D program, and feminist studies.
She is the author of eight books and has lectured throughout the United States as well as in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and South America. In recent years, a persistent theme of her work has been the range of social problems associated with incarceration and the generalized criminalization of those communities that are most affected by poverty and racial discrimination. She draws upon her own experiences in the early '70s as a person who spent 18 months in jail and on trial, after being placed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List.
She has also conducted extensive research on numerous issues related to race, gender, and imprisonment. Her most recent books are Abolition Democracy and Are Prisons Obsolete?, about the abolition of the prison industrial complex, and a new edition of "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass."
Davis is a founding member of Critical Resistance, a national organization dedicated to the dismantling of the prison industrial complex. Internationally, she is affiliated with Sisters Inside, an abolitionist organization based in Queensland, Australia, that works in solidarity with women in prison.
Like many other educators, Davis is especially concerned with the general tendency to devote more resources and attention to the prison system than to educational institutions. Having helped to popularize the notion of a "prison industrial complex," she now urges her audiences to think seriously about the future possibility of a world without prisons and to help forge a 21st-century abolitionist movement. Davis is listed on TIME 100's Most Influential People of 2020.
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