Vice President Kamala D. Harris has broken gender and racial barriers in American politics. She now begins a four-year term in office during a historic moment marked by a global pandemic, national economic hardship, and an upswing in overt nativist sentiments and racism. As a former US senator and state attorney general, she brings a wealth of expertise and experience to a role that she will inevitably reframe in the years to come.
Harris’ swearing-in on January 20th also calls our attention to a crossroads and perhaps an inflection point in American history. She took the oath minutes before Joseph Biden became the 46th president of the United States, 14 days after the assault on the Capitol by domestic terrorists, and a little over 100 years since the passage of the 19th Amendment. The commemoration of this suffragette anniversary during the 2020 calendar year often reflected the extent to which women of color were excluded from the extension of the franchise. Such exclusions were especially poignant in an election year that witnessed widespread concerns about voter suppression and inequitable access to the polls.
Our hope is that this collective public syllabus project will be as much about the future as the past and the present. How might Harris' vice presidency help us think critically about movement toward a more diverse and inclusive union? This ethos serves as a major impetus and inspiration for this project. In this regard, Harris' own professional history is not without some controversy. Indeed, many have been skeptical of her self-presentation as a “progressive prosecutor” and “reformer” working within a broken criminal justice system while serving as a prosecutor, district attorney, and California’s attorney general. Others aver that she was in fact ahead of her time in addressing the implications of “tough on crime” policies that exacerbated racial disparities and accelerated mass criminalization and incarceration.
While recognizing the limits that the vice presidency imposes on the individuals who hold that office, we want to think collectively about the myriad of domestic and international issues that both Harris’ inauguration as vice president and the identities she embodies raise for critical engagement as we seek a path for a more diverse union.
Editorial Board Members
Jenna Bednar, Professor of Public Policy and Political Science; Edie N. Goldenberg Endowed Director for the Michigan in Washington Program
Catherine Carver, Operations Co-Lead, 2020 Democracy & Debate Theme Semester
John Ciorciari, Associate Professor of Public Policy; Director, International Policy Center and Weiser Diplomacy Center
Matthew Countryman, Chair of the Department of Afroamerican & African Studies; Associate Professor of History, American Culture
Angela Dillard, Richard A. Meisler Collegiate Professor of Afroamerican & African Studies, History, and in the Residential College
Charlotte V. Ezzo, Communications Coordinator, National Center for Institutional Diversity
Fiona Lee, Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Professional Development
Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Psychology
Ann Chih Lin, Associate Professor of Public Policy
Barb McQuade, Professor from Practice, Michigan Law
Stephanie Rowden, Associate Professor, School of Art & Design
Marie Ting, Associate Director, National Center for Institutional Diversity
Heather Thompson, Professor, History; Professor, Afroamerican and African Studies; Professor, Residential College Social Theory and Practice Program
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Kamala Devi Harris: In Her Own Words
We start our public syllabus, crowd-sourced from dozens of contributions, with Harris' own words and self-presentation. The Truths We Hold, her campaign book published in the weeks before she launched her presidential campaign shares the deficiencies of all campaign books. As a NPR review from January 2019 notes: "The Truths We Hold reads as a memoir-but-not-really. Harris does tell her life story, but she uses it as a vehicle for telling us what she really wants us to know about her .... Harris presents herself as a potentially formidable presidential candidate. Which is to say: She efficiently makes her case, like the prosecutor she is." Her campaign book can be profitably compared with her first book, written almost a decade earlier, Smart on Crime.
We also want to acknowledge that the Kamala Harris Public Syllabus is being published as the nation and the world continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic — with its implications for vaccine equity and disproportionate impacts, both locally and globally; with a mass shooting in Atlanta, Georgia that killed six Asian woman in what many are characterizing as part of a larger pattern of hate crimes directed toward Asian and Asian American Pacfiic Islander communities; and with yet another “crisis” at the southern border, for which President Biden has appointed Harris to lead a coordinated effort to address. The last interview included below provides a good representation of how Vice President Harris is navigating these multiple issues and concerns on behalf of the administration.
- Kamala Harris, The Truths We Hold : An American Journey (New York: Penguin Press, 2019). This campaign book can be contextualized via Danielle Kurtzleben’s “Kamala Harris' 'The Truths We Hold' Demonstrates What's Wrong With Campaign Books,” National Public Radio Book Review, January 8, 2019
- Kamala Harris (with Joan O'C Hamilton), Smart on Crime: A Career Prosecutor's Plan to Make Us Safer (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2009)
- Interviews are another way to listen to and understand how Harris has presented herself to the public as a candidate for office and as vice president. For Harris as candidate see Senator Kamala Harris, Democratic V.P. Nominee, Talks With Rachel Maddow | MSNBC; and for the latter her first full network one-on-one interview, with Savannah Guthrie on TODAY, after taking office: Vice President Kamala Harris talks about schools reopening, vaccine distribution, more
- Kamala Harris, The Vice President, Official White House Website
- Kamala Harris Interview, CBS This Morning, On Situation at the Southern Border, Attacks on Asian Americans, March 24, 2021
Harris and History
While everyone agrees that Harris made history with her election as vice president, we can nonetheless debate how this achievement ought to be characterized. Is it a radical break with the past, a continuation, or culmination of particular histories and struggles? And what are the wider implications for women and women of color in politics more generally? The materials in this section are divided into two parts: those that help us to consider Harris as part of a long sweep of history, following in the footsteps of Shirley Chisolm, Patsy Mink, Barbara Jordan and others both known and unknown; and those that position her as a “famous first.”
- Martha S. Jones, Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All. Book. New York: Basic Books, 2020
- Rosario Dawson and Retta, “And Nothing Less” Podcast, on the history of the women’s suffrage movement with a listener companion guide from the National Park Service, August 2020
- Livia Gershon, "Who Was Charles Curtis, the First Vice President of Color?" Smithsonian Magazine, January 13, 2021
- Shirley Chisolm, Unbought and Unbossed: Expanded 40th Anniversary Edition, with Forward by Donna Brazille and Afterward by Shola Lynch; edited by Scott Simspon (Take Root Media, 2010)
- "Chisolm '72: UnBought & Unbossed," documentary film Directed and Produced by Shola Lynch (20th Century Fox, 2005)
- Kathryn Schulz, "The Many Lives of Pauli Murray," The New Yorker, April 10, 2017
- Carly S. Woods, "Barbara Jordan and the Ongoing Struggle for Voting Rights," Quarterly Journal of Speech 106:3 (2020): 291–298
- "Who was Patsy Mink? A conversation with historian Judy Wu," She's History Podcast. Episode 16 (October 2020)
- Swati Rana, "Reading the Artifacts after the Capitol Riot," Paris Review, January 19, 2021 (A reflection, in part, on Dalip Singh Saund, the first Asian American to serve in Congress, 1957-1963)
- Evelyn M. Simien, Historic Firsts : How Symbolic Empowerment Changes U.S. Politics (Oxford University Press, 2016)
- Lisa Lerer and Sydney Ember. "Kamala Harris Makes History as First Woman and Woman of Color as Vice President," The New York Times, November 7, 2020, updated January 20, 2021
- Jessica Bennett, “Overlooked No More: Before Kamala Harris, There Was Charlotta Bass," The New York Times (“Overlooked” series), September 4, 2020; updated January 29, 2021
- Emma Green, “The Anointment of Kamala Harris: Democratic leaders praised the party’s vice-presidential nominee not just as a trailblazer, but as the champion of a more inclusive vision for America," The Atlantic, August 20, 2020
- David Siders, “Ruthless: How Kamala Harris Won Her First Race,” Politico Magazine, January 24, 2019
Madam Vice President: Will She Transform the Office?
The president of the United States is arguably the most powerful person in the world, while the vice president is overlooked and often forgotten by history. With broad speculation that President Biden will not run for a second term, Vice President Harris has an opportunity to reshape the traditional roles and responsibilities of her office during this most public of political tryouts.
- “Harris has the potential to change the face of U.S. politics,” Politico Magazine. November 7, 2020
- Michael Crowley and Katie Glueck, “For Kamala Harris, an Influential Voice and a Decisive Vote,” The New York Times, January 20, 2021
- Courtney McCluney, "How will we 'see' Madam Vice President Kamala Harris?" Forbes, January 25, 2021
- Susan Milligan, “Kamala Harris Carves Out a Role of Her Own.” U.S. News and World Report, March 12, 2021
- Christopher J. Devine and Kyle C. Kopko, “Do Vice-Presidential Picks Matter?” The Washington Post, August 13, 2020
- Christopher J. Devine and Kyle C. Kopko, Do Running Mates Matter? The Influence of Vice Presidential Candidates in Presidential Elections. (University Press of Kansas, 2020)
- Jules Witcover, The American Vice Presidency: From Irrelevance to Power (Smithsonian Institution Press, 2014)
- Michael Nelson, "Choosing the vice president," PS: Political Science & Politics 21:4 (1988): 858-868.
- Mark Hiller and Douglas Kriner, "Institutional change and the dynamics of vice presidential selection," Presidential Studies Quarterly 38:3 (2008): 401-421
- Laurel Rosenhall, "Home State Advantage: What a Vice President Kamala Harris Means for California," Cal Matters, 2020
Women in/and Politics: Shattering Glass Ceilings
One hundred years after national recognition of (some) women's right to vote, the United States elected its first woman to the vice presidency and has yet to elect a woman as president. What challenges do women face as candidates and what shapes public support for them? How are the policies they support distinguishable from male politicians?
- David Campbell and Christina Wolbrecht, "How women candidates are making girls feel better about politics,’’ The Washington Post, November 22, 2019
- Christina Wolbrecht, Karen Beckwith, and Lisa Baldez, eds. Political Women and American Democracy (Cambridge University Press, 2008)
- Maria C. Escobar-Lemmon, and Michelle M. Taylor-Robinson, eds. Representation: The case of women (Oxford University Press, 2014)
- Kathy Dolan, Voting for Women: How the Public Evaluates Women Candidates. (Routledge, 2018)
- Dawn Langan Teele, Joshua Kalla, and Frances Rosenbluth, "The ties that double bind: social roles and women's underrepresentation in politics." American Political Science Review 112.3 (2018): 525-541
- Danny Hayes, and Jennifer L. Lawless, "A non-gendered lens? Media, voters, and female candidates in contemporary congressional elections." Perspectives on Politics (2015): 95-118.
- Sarah F. Anzia, and Christopher R. Berry, "The Jackie (and Jill) Robinson effect: why do congresswomen outperform congressmen?" American Journal of Political Science 55.3 (2011): 478-493
- Kira Sanbonmatsu, Where women run: Gender and party in the American states (University of Michigan Press, 2010)
- Jennifer L. Lawless and Richard L. Fox, It takes a candidate: Why women don't run for office (Cambridge University Press, 2005)
- Julia Gillard and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Women and Leadership: Real Lives, Real Lessons (MIT Press, 2021)
- Julia Gillard, and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, "Women and leadership: A conversation with Julia Gillard and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala," Panel. Brookings Institute. March 4, 2021
Kamala Harris & the Politics of a Multiracial (and Inter-Faith) America
This section of the syllabus begins with the ways that Kamala Harris’ mixed-race identity, interracial marriage, and blended family have been discussed and understood across different constituencies, including segments of the press and by Harris herself. This section also incorporates a focus on the changing demographics of American political culture with special reference to the broader histories of Carribean and South Asian immigration and how the Harris and Harris-Biden campaigns sought to mobilize these constituencies during the 2020 electoral season.
This was ultimately one of the most challenging sections of the Kamala Harris Syllabus to shape. We recommend starting with Kumari Devarjan’s episode of Code Switch (“Claim us If You’re Famous”), which explores Harris’ identity as Black and Asian and South Asian and Indian American. It swiftly gets into “messy territory, like what her political prominence might help illuminate (or obscure) about South Asian political identity, how multiracial people are perceived, and how Blackness intersects with all of those things.” The episode features the work of Nitasha Tamar Sharma, an associate professor of African American studies and Asian American studies at Northwestern University. As always, we include resources that deal specifically with Harris as well as resources that we hope will be useful for broader contextualization. On that note, students and general readers might want to pay special attention to the social justice orientation of Andrew Jolivette’s 2010 keynote address for the inaugural Critical mixed Race Studies Conference, which advocates for cross-ethnic and transnational solidarity.
- Kumari Devarajan, "Claim Us If You're Famous," Code Switch. WAMU, National Public Radio. Washington, D.C.: WAMU, November 10, 2020
- Jennifer Ho, "With Kamala Harris, Americans Yet Again Have Trouble Understanding What Multiracial Means," The Conversation, January 27, 2021
- Ronald R. Sundstrom, "Kamala Harris, Multiracial Identity, and the Fantasy of a Post-Racial America: Politicians who happen to be multiracial face expectations that simply aren’t realistic,” Vox, January 20, 2021 (the first in the Three-Part “First Person” Series)
- Kim Parker, Juliana Menasce Horowitz, Rich Morin & Mark Hugo Lopez, "Multiracial in America: Proud, Diverse and Growing in Numbers," Pew Research Center: Social & Demographic Trends, June 11, 2015
- Danielle Casarez Lemi, “Identity and Coalitions in a Multiracial Era: How State Legislators Navigate Race and Ethnicity,” Politics, Groups & Identities 6/4 (2018): 725–42
- Danielle Casarez Lemi, "Do Voters Prefer Just Any Descriptive Representative? The Case of Multiracial Candidates," Perspectives on Politics (2020): 1–21
- Arnold K. Ho, et al., "Introducing the Sociopolitical Motive × Intergroup Threat Model to Understand How Monoracial Perceivers’ Sociopolitical Motives Influence Their Categorization of Multiracial People," Personality and Social Psychology Review 24/3 (Aug. 2020): 260–286
- C. Cheng & F. Lee, "Multiracial identity integration: Perceptions of conflict and distance among multiracial individuals," Journal of Social Issues 65 (2009): 51-68
- Sara Sadhwani, “Analysis | Kamala Harris Is Likely to Bring in Indian American Voters, This Research Finds,” The Washington Post, August 15, 2020
- Marina Fang, "Kamala Harris’ Historic Candidacy Helped Asian American Turnout Soar," Huffington Post, November 11, 2020
- David Nakamura, "Raised to Identify as Black, Harris Steps into Role as a Voice for Asian Americans Amid Rise in Hate Incidents,” The Washington Post, March 28, 2021
- Bakirathi Mani, Aspiring to Home: South Asians in America (Stanford University Press, 2012)
- Vijay Prasad, Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting: Afro-Asian Connections and the Myth of Cultural Purity (Beacon Press, 2001)
- Vivek Bald, Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2013)
- Uzma Quarishi, "Racial Calculations: Indian and Pakistani Immigrants in Houston, 1960–1980," Journal of American Ethnic History 38:4 (Summer 2019): 55–76
- Mary Waters, Black Identities: West Indian Immigrant Dreams and American Realities (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001)
- Sangay K. Mishra, Desis Divided The Political Lives of South Asian Americans (University of Minnesota Press, 2016)
Kamala Harris & The World
While it is too early in the Biden-Harris Administration to gauge Harris’ potential impact on U.S. foreign policy, her role already has been substantial. She has engaged in direct dialogue with an unusually large number of world leaders for a vice president. She has also been centrally involved in decisions on U.S. policy in the Middle East, on pandemic preparedness, and on international women’s rights. She also has been assigned to spearhead the U.S. response to the migration crisis, including a major foreign policy challenge: how to address the conditions causing migrants to flee from Central America. She is therefore engaging on issues central to America’s identity and to her own as a former law enforcement official and member of an immigrant family. This section of the syllabus includes early commentary on Harris’ foreign policy role, but its broader purpose is to provide context on how issues of race, gender, and ethnicity have come into play in foreign affairs in the past. It is useful to recall the presence of women and people of color as the face of U.S. power and diplomacy, including Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, and of course Barack Hussein Obama, among others.
- Alexander DeConde, Ethnicity, Race, and American Foreign Policy: A History (Northeastern University Press, 1992)
- Mark Ledwidge, Race and US Foreign Policy: The African-American Foreign Affairs Network (Routledge, 2013)
- Valerie M. Hudson and Patricia Leidl, The Hillary Doctrine: Sex and American Foreign Policy (Columbia University Press, 2015)
- Karen E. Smith, “Missing in Analysis: Women in Foreign Policy-Making,” Foreign Policy Analysis 16/1 (January 2020): 130-141
- Melanie Verveer, “Why Women are a Foreign Policy Issue, Seriously Guys,” Foreign Policy 193 (May/June 2012): 90-21
- Claire Crawford and Kelebogile Zvobog, “Kamala Harris for the People,” foreignpolicy.com August 12, 2020
- Vicki Assevero, “Complex identities: Kamala Harris and US foreign policy towards the Caribbean,” New Atlanticist, November 12, 2020
- Eugene Daniels and Natasha Bertrand, “Harris Gets a Crash Course on Foreign Policy,” Politico.com, February 26, 2021
- Greg Sargent, “Why Kamala Harris’s new immigration assignment could be a big deal,” The Washington Post, March, 24, 2021
- Olivier Knox, “The Daily 202: Kamala Harris is playing an unusually large role in shaping Biden’s foreign policy,” The Washington Post, March 8, 2021
The Politics of Fashion
Many of the profiles and think-pieces on Harris’ glass-ceiling shattering accomplishments in American politics have a preoccupation with her wardrobe and fashion choices. Is this a gender-biased distraction or is it an important part of Harris’ self-presentation? In a critic’s notebook piece in The New York Times, journalist Vanessa Friedman reminds us that “the pearls, the pumps, the sneakers” matter, as did her decision to wear a white pants suit when she appeared for the first time as Vice-President Elect: “The point was that to wear those clothes — to make those choices — on a night when the world was watching, in a moment that would be frozen for all time, was not fashion. It was politics. It was for posterity.” The materials in this section feature a variety of opinions on how fashion has played a role in discussion about Harris' political career, including the controversy over the Vogue cover; as well as contextual materials that speak more broadly to issues of gender, politics, identity, and fashion.
- Vanessa Friedman, “Kamala Harris in a White Suit, Dressing for History: This Wasn’t about Fashion, It Was about Politics, Past and Future,” Critic’s Notebook, The New York Times, November 8, 2020 (updated November 20, 2020)
- Rohina Katoch Sehra, “For Women in Politics, Personal Style is a Game of Chess with the Patriarchy," Huffington Post, December 9, 2019
- Alexis Okeowo, “Vice President Kamala Harris on the Road Ahead,” Vogue Magazine, January 19, 2021
- Vanessa Friedman, “Why a Vogue Cover Created an Uproar Over Kamala Harris: The vice president-elect is on the cover of the U.S. fashion magazine. Many people were not happy with the result,” Critic’s Notebook, The New York Times, January 11, 2021 (Updated January 17, 2021)
- Richard Thompson Ford, Dress Codes: How The Laws Of Fashion Made History (Simon & Schuster, 2021)
- Tanisha Ford, Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style and the Global Politics of Soul (UNC Press, 2015)
- Shira Tarrant and Marjorie Jolles, eds., Fashion Talks: Undressing the Power of Style (SUNY Press, 2012)
- Anna North, “America’s Sexist Obsession with What Women Polititcians Wear,” Vox, December 3, 2018
- "Vice Presidential Vogue: Kamala Harris and White House Fashion," Q&A with Deirdre Clemente, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
- Imran Amed, "Robin Givhan on the US Capitol Siege and Vogue’s Kamala Harris Cover," The Business of Fashion Podcast, January 14, 2020
Harris and the Cultural Worlds of HBCUs and the Divine Nine
The less formal Vogue cover that features Harris in Chuck Taylors and positions her in front of a pink and green backdrop all speak to the ways that she has adopted Black cultural forms associated with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (such as Howard University from which she graduated in 1986) and with Black sororities (such as the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc, of which she is a member and whose signature colors are pink and green). This section of the syllabus thinks generativity — and critically — about these associations, and how the Harris campaigns (first for president and later for vice president) sought to mobilize these and other Black cultural institutions.
At the same time, we want to consider the ways that Harris (and other Black women) have been confined and judged by cultural assumptions and strictures rooted in race, gender, sexuality, and color. Future iterations of the Kamala Harris Public Syllabus would do well to incorporate sections on how Harris might help us to better understand these dynamics and Black ethnicities more generally, in a global and diasporic manner. In the last two entries we invite a conversation about the policy promises that the Trump administration made to HBCUs and those put forth in the early months of the Biden-Harris administration. How, we should ask, will the support that African-American voters gave Biden and Harris be repaid through educational policies?
- Robin Givhan, "‘They see that swagger when Harris speaks’: How Howard University shaped Kamala Harris," Post Reports. Podcast audio. September 18, 2019
- Robin Givhan, "Kamala Harris grew up in a mostly white world. Then she went to a black university in a black city," The Washington Post, September 16, 2019
- Karen Grigsby Bates, "In Harris, Black Sororities And Fraternities Celebrate One Of Their Own," Code Switch, NPR, November 8, 2020 Q&A with Lawrence C. Ross, Jr., author of The Divine Nine: The History of African American Fraternities and Sororities
- Stephanie Saul, "Kamala Harris’s Secret Weapon: The Sisterhood of Alpha Kappa Alpha," The New York Times, July 1, 2019
- Chelsea Janes, "Kamala Harris, Supported by a Sea of Sisters," The Washington Post, October 1, 2020
- Takiyah Nur Amin, “The Booty Don't Lie: Pleasure, Agency, and Resistance in Black Popular Dance,” in Are You Entertained?: Black Popular Culture in the Twenty-First Century, pp. 237-251 (Duke University Press, 2019)
- Martinque Jones, Mariel Buque, and Marie Miville, "African American gender roles: A content analysis of empirical research from 1981-2017," Journal of Black Psychology 44/5: 450–486
- Martinque K. Jones and Susan X. Day, "An Exploration of Black Women’s Gendered Racial Identity Using a Multidimensional and Intersectional Approach," Sex Roles 79/1 (2018): 1–15
- Danielle Casarez Lemi and Nadia E. Brown, “The Political Implications of Colorism Are Gendered,” PS, Political Science & Politics, (2020): 1–5
- Anne Branigan, "Southern Baptist leaders called Kamala Harris a ‘Jezebel.’ That’s not just insulting, it’s dangerous, experts say," The Lily, February 9, 2021
- Noah Bierman, "Black, female and high-profile, Kamala Harris is a top target in online fever swamps," Los Angeles Times, February 19, 2021
- “A Pledge of Allegiance to America's Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” Report by Center for the Study of HBCUs at Virginia Union University on Biden/Harris policy statements and plans
- Paul Fain, “Did Trump Save HBCUs?,” Inside Higher Ed, January 23, 2020
Harris and Criminal Justice
As a former district attorney for San Francisco and attorney general for California, Kamala Harris made her career as a prosecutor. As a leading criminal justice official in a state that experienced one of the nation’s most dramatic rises in the number of incarcerated persons while in office, Harris was both lauded and criticized. While Harris saw herself as someone committed to reforming the elements of a War on Drugs, others saw her actions as district attorney and attorney general as contributing to California’s rising prison population rather than reducing it. Harris outlined a vision for moving her state in a new direction in her 2009 book, Smart on Crime: A Career Prosecutor’s Plan to Make Us Safer. As attorney general, Harris sought to limit prosecutions under California’s three-strikes law, worked to reduce incarceration through diversion programs, and implemented police training on implicit bias. Harris became increasingly vocal about the need for meaningful criminal justice reform in America when she became a U.S. senator, and sponsored a bill that would would criminalize lynching and another that would encourage states to eliminate cash bail. As a presidential candidate, Harris grew more outspoken on this issue, calling for ending mass incarceration, legalizing marijuana, reforming sentencing, stopping private prison use, and encouraging rehabilitation. Despite her support for wholesale criminal justice reform by the 2020 campaign, Harris was asked to defend her previous positions, such as her defense of California’s death penalty and her decisions to decline to investigate some police shootings. Some commentators have suggested that her race and gender may have forced her to temper her views on crime and punishment to avoid being stereotyped. As vice president, Harris is part of an administration that has continued to call for police and criminal justice reform.
- Kamala Harris and Joan O'C Hamilton, Smart on Crime: A Career Prosecutor's Plan to Make Us Safer (Chronicle Books, 2009)
- Kamala Harris, "Attorney General Kamala D. Harris endorses legislation to reduce recidivism," (press release) June 21, 2016
- Marisa Lagos and Scott Shafer, “A Look at Kamala Harris as a Prosecutor,” All Things Considered, National Public Radio, September 1, 2020
- German Lopez, “Kamala Harris's Controversial Record on Criminal Justice, Explained,” Vox, January 29, 2020
- Kamala Harris, "Kamala's Plan to Transform the Criminal Justice System and Re-Envision Public Safety in America," The Medium, September 9, 2019.
- Kamala Harris and Rand Paul, "To Shrink Jails, Let's Reform Bail," The New York Times, July 20, 2017
- Li Zhou, "Thousands of Rape Kits are Rurrently Untested. Kamala Harris Has a Plan to Change That," Vox, July 12, 2019
- Danny Hakim, Stephanie Saul and Richard A. Oppel, Jr., “‘Top Cop’ Kamala Harris's Record on Policing the Police,” The New York Times, August 10, 2020
- Emily Bazelon, “Kamala Harris, a ‘Top Cop’ in the Era of Black Lives Matter,” The New York Times Magazine, May 25, 2016
- Lara Bazelon, "Kamala Harris Was Not a 'Progressive Prosecutor,'" The New York Times, January 17, 2019
- Vanessa Romo, "African-American Senators Introduce Anti-Lynching Bill," Politics, National Public Radio, June 29, 2018
- Jeannie Suk Gersen, "Kamala Harris and the Noble Path of the Prosecutor," The New Yorker, November 20, 2020
- Reginald Dwayne Betts, “Kamala Harris, Mass Incarceration and Me,” The New York Times Magazine, October 20, 2020, Updated November 8, 2020
- Kevin Townsend, “Kamala Harris, Progressive Prosecutor?,” Radio Atlantic, February 1, 2019
- John Pfaff, Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration, and How to Achieve Real Reform (Basic Books, 2017)
- Dan Berger, “Don’t Be Fooled—Kamala Harris’s ‘Criminal Justice’ Plan is not Progressive,” TruthOut, September 10, 2019
- Michael Finnegan, "California's Law-and-Order Past Haunts Kamala Harris," Los Angeles Times, October 24, 2019
- Kyung Lah, "How Kamala Harris Death Penalty Decisions Broke Hearts on Both Sides," CNN, April 8, 2019
- Gene Demby, "Let's Talk About Kamala Harris," Code Switch, National Public Radio, October 14, 2020
Harris and the Promise of an Anti-Racist Politics?
We include this final section of the Kamala Harris Public Syllabus as a question, as opposed to a statement. In what ways might Vice President Harris help us to ground, debate, and reflect on the possibilities of an anti-racist politics for 21st-century America — and beyond? We see this section as just a beginning and welcome suggestions for additional materials. These can be sent for consideration to: email@example.com.
- Jennifer Richeson, "Americans Are Determined to Believe in Black Progress Whether it’s Happening or Not," The Atlantic, September 2020
- Beth Reingold, Kerry L. Haynie, and Kirsten Widner, Race, Gender, and Political Representation : Toward a More Intersectional Approach (Oxford University Press USA - OSO, 2020)
- Cigdem V. Sirin, Nicholas A. Valentino, and Jose D. Villalobos, Seeing Us in Them: Social Divisions and the Politics of Group Empathy (Cambridge University Press, 2021)
- Sonya Taylor, The Body Is Not an Apology (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2018)
- Ebony Omotola McGee, “The Agony of Stereotyping Holds Black Women Back,” Nature Human Behaviour 5/1 (2021): 3
- Zulekha Nathoo, "Why getting a name right matters," BBC Worklife, January 11, 2021
- Lisa Coleman and Monroe France, “Inclusion & Belonging in Times of Global Crisis,” The Global Impact Exchange: A Quarterly Publication of Diversity Abroad, Diverse Abroad (Fall 2020): 30-33
- Fiona Lee, “Asian American and Pacific Islander Faculty and the Bamboo Ceiling: Barriers to Leadership and Implications for Leadership Development,” Creating Conditions for Asians to Thrive in Higher Education, New Directions for Higher Education 186 (Wiley Blackwell, 2019)
- Laura Kina (Guest Post), "Talking Critical Mixed Race Studies in the Wake of Ferguson," University of Washington Press Blog, 2014
- Travis Pittman, "Vice President Harris on Rise in Violence against Asian Americans," WKYC, March 19, 2021
- Danielle Cohen, "Anti-Asian Violence is Consistently Directed at Women: Q&A with Dr. Melissa May Borja, University of Michigan," GQ Magazine, March 18, 2021
We give the last words to one of the early inspirations of the Kamala Harris Public Syllabus: "Kamala Harris and the Reframing of the Vice Presidency." This panel discussion, sponsored by the Democracy & Debate Theme Semester at the University of Michigan, featured Ruby Tapia, Annette Joseph-Gabriel, Michelle May-Curry, Angela X. Ocampo, Ian Shin, Annette Joseph-Gabriel, and Jasmine Williams, with Introduction by University of Michigan Provost Susan Collins. It was held on January 25, 2021 and is available here.