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Ruth Wilson Gilmore

This year’s Clark Commencement ceremony will award honorary degree to Ruth Wilson Gilmore—leading scholar and co-founder of many organizations for Earth & Environmental Sciences, and American Studies.

Ruth Wilson Gilmore is a professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences, and of American Studies, and is the director of the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics at the City University of New York Graduate Center. She is a renowned pioneer in the discipline of carceral geography — the study of the forces and institutions that have come to define modern incarceration. Dr. Gilmore has been a leading scholar and speaker on topics including prisons, decarceration, racial capitalism, oppositional movements, state-making, and more. She is co-founder of many grassroots organizations, including the California Prison Moratorium Project, Critical Resistance, and the Central California Environmental Justice Network. Dr. Gilmore is the author of the prize-winning “Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California,” and has written in multiple venues on abolition geography and racial capitalism.

Dr. Gilmore has lectured in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. Her honors include the American Studies Association Angela Y. Davis Award for Public Scholarship (2012); the Association of American Geographers Harold Rose Award for Anti-Racist Research and Practice (2014); the SUNY-Purchase College Eugene V. Grant Distinguished Scholar Prize for Social and Environmental Justice (2015–16); the American Studies Association Richard A Yarborough Mentorship Award (2017); and the Association of American Geographers Lifetime Achievement Award (2020). Most recently (along with Angela Y. Davis and Mike Davis), she was named winner of the 2020 Lannan Foundation Lifetime Cultural Freedom Prize. She also serves on the Executive Committee of the Institute for Research on the African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean. We are delighted to welcome Dr. Gilmore to campus and to award her an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.