Elizabeth Hinton is Associate Professor in the Department of History and the Department of African American Studies, with a secondary appointment as Professor of Law at Yale Law School.
Hinton’s research focuses on the persistence of poverty, racial inequality, and urban violence in the 20th century United States. She is considered one of the nation’s leading experts on criminalization and policing.
In her first book, From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America (Harvard University Press), Hinton traces the implementation of federal law enforcement programs beginning in the mid-1960s that transformed domestic social policies and laid the groundwork for the expansion of the U.S. prison system. From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime received numerous awards and recognition, including the Ralph Waldo Emerson Prize from the Phi Beta Kappa Society and being named to the New York Times’s 100 Notable Books of 2016.
Hinton’s most recent book, America on Fire: The Untold History of Police Violence and Black Rebellion Since the 1960s (Liveright), examines the persistence of systemic racism and one of its primary consequences: the so-called urban riot. Taking readers on a troubling journey from Detroit in 1967 to Miami in 1980 to Los Angeles in 1992 and beyond, Hinton draws on untapped sources to offes a critical corrective: the word riot was nothing less than a racist trope applied to events that can only be properly understood as rebellions, or explosions of collective resistance to an unequal and violent order. The central lesson from these eruptions—that police violence invariably leads to community violence—continues to escape policymakers, who respond by further criminalizing entire groups instead of addressing underlying socioeconomic causes. The results are the hugely expanded policing and prison regimes that shape the lives of so many Americans today.
Before joining the Yale faculty, Hinton was a Professor in the Department History and the Department of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. She spent two years as a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Michigan Society of Fellows and Assistant Professor in the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan. A Ford Foundation and Carnegie Corporation Fellow, Hinton completed her Ph.D. in United States History from Columbia University in 2013.
Hinton’s articles and op-eds can be found in the pages of the Journal of American History, the Journal of Urban History, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Boston Review, The Nation, and Time. She also coedited The New Black History: Revisiting the Second Reconstruction (Palgrave Macmillan) with the late historian Manning Marable.