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Joseph D. Hankins

In his teaching and research, Joseph Hankins examines the intersections of contemporary capitalism and political action. His first book, Working Skin: Making Leather, Making a Multicultural Japan, traces the circulation of rawhide from his hometown in Texas to tanneries in Japan, examining forms of political oppression and economic exploitation in that connection.

His current work is based on long-term political commitments with a feminist prison abolition organization based in California. Working collaboratively with a group of organizers and scholars across prison walls, Hankins helps run the UC Sentencing Project that examines the drivers of long-term incarceration; the impacts of long-term incarceration on individuals, families, and communities in California; and that pushes for transformative forms of racial and gender justice in opposition to the criminal legal system.

Hankins teaches classes on racial capitalism and gender, nature and the human, abolition feminism, liberalism and sympathy, and alternative models of understanding and addressing harm. He works with graduate students with long-standing, embedded relationships with political organizations to think through how such commitments transform the shape of social science research and artistic production.

Professor Hankins is affiliate faculty and former director of Critical Gender Studies and was the recipient of the UCSD Senate Distinguished Teaching Award in 2018. He is a founding member of the UC Sentencing Project and helps advise UCSD Underground Scholars and UCSD Students Against Mass Incarceration. He received his PhD from the University of Chicago in 2009.