Naomi Murakawa

Associate Professor
Department of African American Studies
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Department of African American Studies
Ph.D, Political Science
Yale University
206 Stanhope Hall
office phone:
(609) 258-6274
Naomi Murakawa

Naomi Murakawa is an associate professor of African American Studies at Princeton University. She studies the reproduction of racial inequality in 20th and 21st century American politics, with specialization in crime policy and the carceral state. She is the author of The First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison America (Oxford University Press, 2014), and her work has appeared in Law & Society Review, Theoretical Criminology, Du Bois Review, and several edited volumes. She has received fellowships from Columbia Law School’s Center for the Study of Law and Culture, as well the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Health Policy Research Program.

Prior to joining African American Studies at Princeton, she taught in the Department of Political Science at the University of Washington. Professor Murakawa received her B.A. in women’s studies from Columbia University, her M.Sc. in social policy from the London School of Economics, and her Ph.D. in political science from Yale University.


AAS 201
Introduction to the Study of African American Cultural Practices

As the introductory course required to earn a certificate in African American Studies, this course examines the past and present, the doings and the sufferings of Americans of African descent from a multidisciplinary perspective. It highlights the ways in which serious intellectual scrutiny of the agency of black people in the United States help redefine what it means to be American, new world, modern and post modern.

AAS 247 / POL 382
The New Jim Crow: US Crime Policy from Constitutional Formation to Ferguson

This course explores the political development of America’s racially disparate punishment regime. We trace the history US crime policy, moving through US constitutional formation, Reconstruction and lynch law, and Jim Crow punishment in the south and urban north. We focus on punishment in post-civil rights America, and we devote special attention to policing, the death penalty, and the interconnected wars on crime, drugs, immigration, and terror. Our overarching goal is to understand the political construction of crime, colorblindness, and legitimate state violence.