Skip to content


Michelle BrownMichelle Brown

Professor and Associate Head
Department of Sociology
Ph.D. 2003 Indiana University

The University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996-0490

Curriculum Vitae

Interest Areas

Carceral Studies; Law & Society; Transformative Justice; Theory, Culture & Media; Feminist Perspectives

Michelle Brown’s research interests include carceral studies; law & society; feminist perspectives; media, theory, and culture; and transformative justice.  Her current work focuses on the carceral state and abolition movements surrounding prisons, police, bail, and capital punishment.  She is particularly interested in the use of rights claims and visual tactics in community and national organizing. Brown is the author of The Culture of Punishment (NYUP, 2009) and co-author of Criminology Goes to the Movies (with Nicole Rafter; NYUP, 2011); the co-editor of Media Representations of September 11 (Praeger, 2003), The Routledge International Handbook of Visual Criminology (2017; w/Eamonn Carrabine), the Palgrave MacMillan Crime, Media and Culture Book Series, and the Sage journal Crime Media Culture; and the senior editor for The Oxford Encyclopedia of Crime, Media, and Popular Culture (2018). She received the best article prize from Theoretical Criminology in 2014 for her piece titled “Visual Criminology and Carceral Studies” and was named Critical Criminologist of the Year in 2016 by the Division of Critical Criminology and Social Justice of the American Society of Criminology.


  • General Sociology (Honors)
  • Criminal Justice
  • Law & Society
  • Punishment & Society
  • Visual Criminology


  • Law & Society
  • Alternative Justice
  • Contemporary Sociological Theory


  • Brown, Michelle. (Senior Ed.) (2018) The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Crime, Media, and Popular Culture. New York: Oxford University Press, (over 150 essays, each 8-10,000 words by a leading expert in the field; print and online availability).
  • Brown, Michelle and Eamonn Carrabine (eds.). (2017) The Routledge International Handbook of Visual Criminology.  London: Routledge.
  • Rafter, Nicole and Michelle Brown. 2011. Criminology Goes to the Movies: Crime Theory and Popular Culture. New York: New York University Press. (Translations in Portuguese and Korean). 
  • Brown, Michelle. 2009. The Culture of Punishment: Prison, Society, and Spectacle. New York: New York University Press.
  • Chermak, Steven, Frankie Bailey, and Michelle Brown (eds.). 2003. Media Images of September 11th. Newport, CT: Praeger Publishers (Crime, Media, and Popular Culture series).


  • Brown, Michelle. “ICE Comes to Tennessee: Violence Work and Abolition in the South” Special Issue: Abolishing Detention: Bridging Prison and Migrant Justice.  Citizenship Studies, Forthcoming 2020.
  • Brown, Michelle and Eamonn Carrabine.  2019. “The Critical Foundations of Visual Criminology: The State, Crisis, and the Sensory,” Critical Criminology, 27(1), 191-205 
  • Brown, Michelle and Judah Schept. 2017. “New Abolition, Criminology and a Critical Carceral Studies,” Punishment & Society, 19(4): 440-462.
  • Brown, Michelle, Eamonn Carrabine, and Brett Story.  2017. “Interview: The Prison in Twelve Landscapes,” Crime Media Culture, 13(1): 107-113.
  • Bohon, Stephanie, Meghan Conley, and Michelle Brown. 2014.“Unequal Protection under the Law: Encoding Racial Disparities in the Case of Smith v. Georgia,” American Behavioral Science, 58(14): 1910–1926.
  • Brown, Michelle. 2014. “Of Prisons, Gardens, and the Way Out.” Studies in Law, Politics, and Society (Special issue: The Beautiful Prison), 64: 67-85.
  • Brown, Michelle. 2014. “Visual Criminology and Carceral Studies.” Theoretical Criminology (Special Issue: Visual Culture and the Iconography of Crime and Punishment, eds. Michelle Brown and Eamonn Carrabine), 18(2): 176-197.  Awarded 2014 Theoretical Criminology Best Article Prize.
  • Brown, Michelle and Nicole Rafter. 2013. “Genocide Films, Public Criminology, Collective Memory.” The British Journal of Criminology, 53: 1017-1032.
  • Brown, Michelle. 2012. “Empathy and Punishment.” Punishment & Society, 14, 4: 383-401.

Book Chapters

  • Brown, Michelle. Forthcoming 2020. “Fugitive Justice and the Dead Body of Racialized US Politics.” Ghost Criminology, eds. Michael Fidler, Theo Kindynis, Travis Linnemann. New York: New York University Press.
  • Brown, Michelle. Forthcoming 2020.  “As Goes the South, So Goes the Nation: Abolition as a Regional Force in the United States.” The Routledge International Handbook of Penal Abolitionism, eds. Michael Coyle and David Scott. London: Routledge.
  • Brown, Michelle. Forthcoming 2019.  “The Challenge of Transformative Justice: Insurgent Knowledge and Public Criminology.” The Routledge Handbook on Public Criminologies, eds. Kathryn Henne and Rita Shah.  New York: Routledge.
  • Brown, Michelle. Forthcoming 2019. “Transformative Justice and New Abolition in the United States.” Justice Alternatives. Eds. Pat Carlen and Leandro Ayres Franca.  London: Routledge.
  • Brown, Michelle. 2018. “Visual Criminology.” In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Oxford Encyclopedia of Crime, Media, and Popular Culture. Michelle Brown. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Brown, Michelle. 2017. “Penal Optics and the Struggle for the Right to Look: Visuality and Prison Tourism in the Carceral Era.” The Palgrave Handbook of Prison Tourism (Eds. Jacqueline Wilson, Sarah Hodgkinson, Justin Piche, Kevin Walby), London: Palgrave MacMillan: 153-167.
  • Brown, Michelle. 2017. “The Criminologist as Visual Scholar in a Global Mediascape.” The Routledge International Handbook of Visual Criminology.  London: Routledge.
  • Brown, Michelle and Eamonn Carrabine. 2017. “Introduction.” The Routledge International Handbook of Visual Criminology.  London: Routledge.
  • Ferrell, Jeff, Keith Hayward, and Michelle Brown. 2018. “Cultural Criminology.” In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Oxford Encyclopedia of Crime, Media, and Popular Culture. Michelle Brown. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Brown, Michelle. 2015. Reprint: “Prison Otherwise: Cultural Meaning Beyond Punishment”, in The Culture of Punishment: Prison, Society and Spectacle (New York: New York University Press, 2009): 190–212 to be reprinted in Punishment, Eds. Richard Jones and Richard Sparks, London: Routledge.
  • Brown, Michelle. 2014. “‘Which Question? Which Lie?’: Reflections on Payne v. Tennessee and the ‘Quick Glimpse’ of Life.” Ed. Austin Sarat, The Punitive Imagination: Law, Justice, and Responsibility, Birmingham: University of Alabama Press, 127-156.
  • Brown, Michelle. 2013. “Penal Spectatorship and the Culture of Punishment.” Ed. David Scott, Why Prison, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 108-124.

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.