03 July 2018

BOOK: Bharat MALKANI, Slavery and the Death Penalty: A Study in Abolition. (London: Routledge, 2018). ISBN 9781472452740, £92.00

(Source: Routledge)

Routledge has just published a book on the relationship between the abolitionist movement for slavery and the death penalty.


It has long been acknowledged that the death penalty in the United States of America has been shaped by the country’s history of slavery and racial violence, but this book considers the lesser-explored relationship between the two practices’ respective abolitionist movements. The book explains how the historical and conceptual links between slavery and capital punishment have both helped and hindered efforts to end capital punishment. The comparative study also sheds light on the nature of such efforts, and offers lessons for how death penalty abolitionism should proceed in future. Using the history of slavery and abolition, it is argued that anti-death penalty efforts should be premised on the ideologies of the radical slavery abolitionists.


Dr Bharat Malkani researches and teaches in the field of capital punishment, and human rights and criminal justice more broadly. He is a member of the International Academic Network for the Abolition of Capital Punishment, and prior to joining academia he helped co-ordinate efforts to abolish the death penalty for persons under the age of 18 in America.


Chapter 1: The death penalty in the era of slavery
Chapter 2: Capital punishment and the legacy of slavery: 1865–1976
Chapter 3: The legacy of slavery in capital punishment since 1976
Chapter 4: Abolitionism defined
Chapter 5: Radical abolitionist constitutionalism
Chapter 6: The experiential abolitionist
Chapter 7: Abolitionism and "alternatives"
Chapter 8: Non-complicity and abolitionism: from fugitive slaves to lethal injections
Chapter 9: A peculiar abolition

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