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Rebecca Horwitz-Willis is a PhD candidate in education at Harvard University, with a concentration in culture, institutions, and society. Her work uses archival methods to study racial politics and education, the history of education law and policy, and the relationship between the welfare state and the carceral state.
During her Radcliffe fellowship year, Horwitz-Willis will complete her dissertation, which studies how carceral logics and racial politics shaped the development of Chicago’s public schools between 1889 and 1963. In addition to historicizing the contemporary school-prison, this project will develop a conceptual framework for understanding the criminalization of urban, Black education.
Horwitz-Willis’s work has been supported by the Harvard Mellon Urban Initiative and the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard. She has taught courses on race and equity in education and the history of school segregation at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), and she has worked as a teaching fellow at HGSE and Harvard Law School. In addition to her academic work, she has served as a research advisor for Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice and was a member of the Chapter 222 Coalition of the Education Law Task Force of Massachusetts Advocates for Children. Rebecca holds a JD from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law, an EdM from Harvard University in education policy, and a BA from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, in political science.