Zoe Hammer | Prescott College

Zoe Hammer

Academic Statement

Zoe Hammer's teaching and research centers on the political economy of globalization and the cultures of neoliberalism, contemporary theories of social inequality and social change, and Critical Cultural Studies, which emphasizes the role of culture in both challenging and reproducing social systems. 

Zoe views instruction as a collaboration between faculty and students and her primary teaching goal is to equip students with the capacity to participate in shaping their society critically, reflexively, ethically, and responsibly.

Through her graduate course work and subsequent  teaching and research, Zoe has developed an interdisciplinary, experiential  approach to analyzing the societal role and every-day practices of political activism and community organizing in relation to the reproduction of social inequality.  She is particularly interested in understanding the ways that power is organized through practice across national, economic, ethnic, racial, and gendered boundaries.  She explores these processes through the lenses of critical social and political theory informed by the experiential analysis of communities engaged in social justice organizing.  Her approach combines: an emphasis on the political-economic role of repressive state practices; critical analysis of race, class, gender, and sexuality as well as ethnic, cultural, regional, and national identities; critical analysis of the theory and practice of social movements; and a research agenda focused on the role of policing, incarceration, and militarization in shaping common sense, reproducing identity-based divisions of labor, and influencing economic development in the Arizona-Sonora borderlands.   

As an interdisciplinary social theorist, Zoe's training enables her to support students in learning to formulate and ask specifically political questions about culture, power, social systems with an informed understanding of the history and context of critical theoretical debates, as well as the politics and stakes of social decision making under specific conditions of social production and reproduction. 


Ph.D.: Comparative Cultural & Literary Studies, University of Arizona, Fall 2004

M.A., Comparative Cultural and Literary Studies, University of Arizona, 1995

B.A., Scripps College, Claremont, California, 1989.


Scholarly Publications

 "Red Scare in the Red State: The Attack on Mexican American Studies in Arizona and Opportunities for Building National Solidarity."  with co-author Anita Fernandez.  Journal of the Association of Mexican American Educators.  December 2012.

"Abolitionists in Willcox: The Campaign to Stop New Immigrant Prisons in Southern Arizona."  in Beyond Walls and Cages: Bridging Prison Abolition and Immigrant Justice Movements.  Eds., Jenna Loyd, Matt Mitchelson, and Andrew Burridge.  University of Georgia Press, Fall 2012.

"Border Action Network and Human Rights: Community-Based Resistance Against the U.S.-Mexico Border Wall." with co-authors: Jennifer Allen and Sang Hea Kil.   in  In Our Own Back Yard:  Bridging Human Rights Thought and Action.  Eds., William T. Armaline and Davita Silfen Glasberg.  University of Pennsylvania Press, Fall 2011.  Reprinted 2013.

"Human Rights, Prison Abolition, and Strategies for Social Change,"  in In Our Own Back Yard: Bridging Human Rights Thought and Action.  Eds., William T. Armaline and Davita Silfen Glasberg.  University of Pennsylvania Press, Fall 2011.  Reprinted 2013.

“The Architecture of Fear: Common Sense and the U.S. Mexico Border Wall,” in Entertaining Fear: Rhetoric and the Political Economy of Social Control.   Eds., Danika Brown, Catherine Chaput, M.J. Braun.  Peter Lang Publishing, 2009. 

Policy Publications

Liberating the Voices.  Co-author with Jennifer Allen.  2002.  http://www.borderaction.org/PDFs/immigrant_prison_report.pdf

Research report produced for and published by the Border Action Network.  This document breaks new ground in understanding the relationship between border militarization, immigration policy, the private prison industry, and prison expansion.  It has been cited by scholars, journalists, and policy makers seeking to understand the implications of contemporary U.S. border policy.  Cited in:  Urban, Jessica.  Nation, Immigration & Environmental Security.  2008.  New York; Palgrave Macmillan.

Hate or Heroism.  First Author.  2002.


Research report produced for and published by the Border Action Network.   Presented to the Arizona Attorney General and covered in the international news media from Sydney, Australia to Berlin, Germany (and throughout the U.S.) this groundbreaking report brought international attention to the impacts of border vigilantism on residents of border communities in southern Arizona. Cited in:  Urban, Jessica.  Nation, Immigration & Environmental Security.  2008.  New York; Palgrave Macmillan.  Nguyen, Tram.  We are All Suspects Now: Untold Stories from Immigrant Communities After 9/11.  2005.  Boston; Beacon Press.   

Justice on the Line.  Co-Author with Jennifer Allen.  2003. 


Research report produced for and published by the Border Action Network.  Presented to the Tucson Sector Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Senator John McCain, and U.S. Representative Raul Grijalva, this report continues to bring attention to the impacts of racial profiling on border residents in southern Arizona. Cited in Urban, Jessica.  Nation, Immigration & Environmental Security.  2008.  New York; Palgrave Macmillan.


Selected Conference Presentations:

 "Neoliberalism as Racial Capitalism: Migration, Borders, and Prisons in the Security Regime" with co-presenter, Dr. Laura Liu -- Panel:  Black Marxism, -- American Association of Geographers, 2013

 "Educating Economic Justice Activists vs. Poverty Tourism" -- Roundtable Discussion, Critical Pedagogy in the Field -- American Association of Geographers, 2013

"Critical Ethnic Studies in Arizona" at "Fanatacism and Abolition Democracy: Critical Theory in the Spirit of Joel Olson,"   January 26, 2013 - NAU, Flagstaff, AZ.

 "Authors Round Table: Beyond Walls & Cages."  American Association of Geographers, New York City, February 2012.  

 "Prisons, Performance and the State."  Special Topics Panel, sponsored by Critical Prison Studies Caucus.  American Studies Association, San Antonio, Texas,  October 2011

 “The Racial Politics of Rescue: From the Southwest Strategy to Hurricane Katrina.”  Presidential Panel, American Society of Criminologists, Los Angeles, California, November 2008.

 “Rethinking Prison Studies: Prisons as Borders, Borders as Prisons.”  American Studies Association, Oakland, California, September 2006.

 “Prisons, Borders, and National Security.” Transnational Forum on National Security States.  Toronto, Canada.  March 2006:

 “Criminology and Justice.”  Canadian Criminology Conference.  University of Toronto, September 2005:

 “Criminal Acts of Whiteness: Prisons, Borders & Vigilantes in Southern Arizona.” Panel Organizer: “Prisons, Power & Praxis”  Cultural Studies Association Conference, University of Arizona, April 2005.

 “Fighting Criminal Alien Prisons in Rural Arizona.”  Sex, Race & Globalization Conference, University of Arizona, March 2003.

 “Target Arizona: Prison Expansion and the Criminalization of Immigration.” Panel organizer: “Lockdown in the Free Zone.”   LGBT Studies Activist Collaboration Conference, University of Arizona, December 2002.

 “Carceral Flesh Units: The Politics of Spatial Containment and Citizenship.” Panel organizer: “Neoliberal Citizenship and the Spatial Production of Class.” Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, March 2002.

 “What is to be Sustained?: The Production of Prisoners as a Resource.”  NSF Conference on Sustainable Development in Urban Communities, January 2002.

 “Narrating the State: U.S. Press Coverage of Crime and Punishment.”  Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, March 2001.

 “Incarceration as War: Prisoners Making Sense of the Celling of America.”  Rethinking Marxism Conference, University of Massachusetts, September 2000

 “Prison, Debt, and Capital.”  International Cultural Studies Conference, Birmingham, U.K., June 2000.

 “Women Indebted, Capital to the Rescue: Incarceration, Debt, Military Contracts, and the Containment of Women’s Bodies.”Boundaries in Question Conference, University of California, Berkeley, March 2000.

 “Consuming Famine: Media Representations of Operation Restore Hope.” Third Annual Culture is Ordinary Conference, Bowling Green State University, April 1997.

Invited Speaking Engagements

“Immigrant Rights Organizing in The U.S.-Mexico Border Region.”  Regional Equity ’08: The Third National Summit on Equitable Development, Social Justice & Smart Growth, New Orleans, March 2008.

 “Inventing Just Futures: Organizing for Human Rights in the Sonoran Desert.” Communities & Sustainability Lecture Series: Sustainable Futures: Energy, Environment & Society, Humboldt State University, February 2008

 “Immigration, Human Rights, and the Environment.”  Department of Women’s Studies Colloquium.  Humboldt State University, February 2007

 “Women Struggling for Dignity and Political Authority within the Prison/Border System.” University of Arizona Exhibition Panel:  Interrupted Life: Incarcerated Mothers in the United States, January 2007.

 “Border Militarization and Prisons for Profit in Arizona.”  Conference on Corporations, Justice and the Border, Arizona State University, February 2006:

 “Challenging the U.S. Prison/Border System: The Politics of Prisons as Economic Development in Arizona.”  Visiting Speaker Series, Studies in National and International Development, Queens University, Kingston, Ontario, September 2005.

 “Vigilantes at the Border - The Minute Men, "National Security" and Border Activism.” Public Forum sponsored by the University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, September 2005.

 “The Politics of Prison Expansion and the Death Penalty in the United States.”  International Conference on the Death Penalty, Montreal, Canada,  October 2004.

 “Academia and Activism.” Member of a 5 person panel.  University of Arizona Geography Colloquium, March 2004.

 “Border Militarization and Prison Expansion: Media Representations of Community Opposition.”  Arizona International College, University of Arizona, April 2004.

 “Prison Expansion and the Green Agenda.”  Arizona Green Party, March 2003.

 “Spatializing Judith Butler: A Comparative Analysis of the California Department of Corrections’ Joint Venture Program and Oxfam’s Gender Training.” Comparative Cultural and Literary Studies Colloquium, University of Arizona, January 1998.

Awards, Grants, & Honors

Adjunct Teaching Award, Department of Journalism, University of Arizona, Spring 2005

 Dean’s Interdisciplinary Dissertation Research Fellowship, University of Arizona, 2001-2002

Graduate Assistant Teaching Award; nominated by undergraduate students, 1996-1997

Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award; nominated by faculty, 1994-1995

2000-2001: Co-Author, grant application to Rockefeller Foundation Humanities Residency Program for the The Sex, Race & Globalization Project, sponsored by the UA LGBT Studies Program.  

2000-2001: Recipient: Sex, Race and Globalization Graduate Student Research Group, funded by a grant from the UA LGBT Studies Program