The Jefferson Prize honors a tenured or tenure-track faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in research and creative activity.
Michelle Brown is one of the Department of Sociology’s best-known and most prolific scholars. An associate professor, she is the author of three published books and numerous articles. She is doing groundbreaking research into the United States prison system, including looking at how popular cultural media like film and television represent incarceration. Two new projects seek to build on this body of work. Brown’s next book will examine how the US criminal justice system might be transformed through social justice–oriented alternatives to mass incarceration. The second project is the creation of a virtual archive to conserve both the ongoing work and the artifacts of activists seeking to abolish the death penalty. The goal is to provide a current history of the movement that demonstrates which strategies are the most effective in building support for the abolition movement. In 2016, Brown received the American Society of Criminology’s Critical Criminologist of the Year Award. She also received the 2015 Chancellor’s Excellence in Teaching Award and the 2016 College of Arts and Sciences Diversity Award.