March 22, 2017

Chris Hayes

Harvard Book Store and Mass Humanities welcome Emmy Award–winning MSNBC news anchor CHRIS HAYES, author of the New York Times bestselling book Twilight of the Elites, for a panel discussion on inequality in America and his latest book, A Colony in a Nation. Hayes will be joined in conversation by Emerson College's JABARI ASIM and Suffolk University Law School's FRANK RUDY COOPER. WBUR's ANTHONY BROOKS will moderate the evening's conversation.


With his latest book, bestselling author and award-winning news anchor Chris Hayes argues that there are really two Americas: a Colony and a Nation.

America likes to tell itself that it inhabits a postracial world, yet nearly every empirical measure—wealth, unemployment, incarceration, school segregation—reveals that racial inequality has barely improved since 1968, when Richard Nixon became our first “law and order” president. With the clarity and originality that distinguished his prescient bestseller, Twilight of the Elites, Chris Hayes upends our national conversation on policing and democracy in a book of wide-ranging historical, social, and political analysis.

Hayes contends our country has fractured in two: the Colony and the Nation. In the Nation, we venerate the law. In the Colony, we obsess over order, fear trumps civil rights, and aggressive policing resembles occupation. A Colony in a Nation explains how a country founded on justice now looks like something uncomfortably close to a police state. How and why did Americans build a system where conditions in Ferguson and West Baltimore mirror those that sparked the American Revolution?

A Colony in a Nation examines the surge in crime that began in the 1960s and peaked in the 1990s, and the unprecedented decline that followed. Drawing on close-hand reporting at flashpoints of racial conflict, as well as deeply personal experiences with policing, Hayes explores cultural touchstones, from the influential “broken windows” theory to the “squeegee men” of late-1980s Manhattan, to show how fear causes us to make dangerous and unfortunate choices, both in our society and at the personal level. With great empathy, he seeks to understand the challenges of policing communities haunted by the omnipresent threat of guns. Most important, he shows that a more democratic and sympathetic justice system already exists—in a place we least suspect.

A Colony in a Nation is an essential book—searing and insightful—that will reframe our thinking about law and order in the years to come.

About Author(s)

Chris Hayes is the Emmy Award–winning host of All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, the New York Times best-selling author of Twilight of the Elites, and an editor-at-large at The Nation. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife, daughter, and son.

Jabari Asim is an associate professor of writing, literature, and publishing at Emerson College. He is also the Executive Editor and CEO of The Crisis magazine, a preeminent journal of politics, ideas, and culture published by the NAACP and founded by W.E.B. Du Bois in 1910. He is the author of thirteen books, including Not Guilty: Twelve Black Men Speak Out on Law, Justice, and LifeThe N Word: Who Can Say It, Who Shouldn’t, And WhyA Taste Of Honey: Stories; and Only The Strong, a novel.

Frank Rudy Cooper is a Visiting Professor of Law at Boston College. He is a tenured Professor at Suffolk University Law School in Boston. He was previously an Assistant Professor at Villanova University School of Law. Professor Cooper’s scholarly interests lie at the intersection of Criminal Procedure, Cultural Studies, and Masculinities Studies, especially as applied to policing of men of color. He has published more than 25 scholarly works, including the co-edited book, Masculinities and the Law: A Multidimensional Approach. He is currently drafting a book on policing of men of color.

Anthony Brooks brings more than 30 years of experience in public radio, working as a producer, editor, reporter, and host for WBUR and NPR. Before becoming WBUR’s senior political reporter, Brooks was co-host of Radio Boston, WBUR’s local news and talk show. For many years, Brooks worked as a Boston-based reporter for NPR, covering regional issues across New England, including politics, the economy, education, criminal justice, and urban affairs. Brooks also has been a frequent fill-in host for NPR’s On Point and Here & Now, produced by WBUR.