Office Hours: On Leave 2017-2018
Ph.D., University of Michigan
Teaching and Research Interests
African American History and Critical Prison Studies,
Garrett Felber is a scholar of 20th-century African American history and social movements, focusing on black nationalism, prison organizing, and the carceral state. He earned a B.A. from Kalamazoo College in English and American Studies, an M.A. from Columbia University in African-American Studies, and a PhD from the University of Michigan in American Culture. He is the co-author of The Portable Malcolm X Reader (Penguin Books, 2013) with Manning Marable and was a lead researcher on the Malcolm X Project at the Center for Contemporary Black History. He joins the faculty in Winter 2019 after fellowships at Harvard University’s Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History and the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, where he will be completing two manuscripts. The first, “Those Who Know Don’t Say”: The Nation of Islam, Black Nationalist Politics, and the Carceral State, is a political history of the Nation of Islam which recenters the role of black nationalism and prison organizing in the postwar Black Freedom Movement. The second is an edited collection of writings by former political prisoner Martin Sostre, “We Are All Political Prisoners”: The Writings of Martin Gonzalez Sostre.
His next book project, tentatively titled The Norfolk Plan: The Community Prison in the Age of Mass Incarceration, traces the rise of mass incarceration through a local history of the nation’s first and only “community prison,” where Malcolm X was once imprisoned.
In 2016, Felber founded Liberation Literacy, an organization dedicated to building social justice literacy and re-imagining community through education, conversation, and political action inside and outside of prisons in Portland, Oregon. The group has advocated an end to the use of prison labor in displacement of unhoused communities in Portland and pushed for full enfranchisement of prisoners in Oregon. He also spearheaded the Prison Abolition Syllabus, a collaborative reading list published by the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS) which highlighted and contextualized ongoing prison strikes.
He is on leave during 2017-2018.