In her exploration of a specific classificatory system - the death penalty in the United States - the author offers a rich ethnographic study of how the parties involved in making, administering, and responding to the forty death penalty classification schemes form such concepts and how they learn and use the resulting categories.
Brackette F. Williams received a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University is currently Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Arizona. She has taught at Duke University, Queens College, and the Graduate Center of New York City, The New School for Social Research, the University of California at Berkeley, the Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Chicago. In 1997 she received the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship. As a 2008 Soros Justice Fellow, she conducted a study of the impact of long-term solitary confinement on reentry of persons released from the Arizona Department of Corrections, SMU I and II units.