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Erin Kelly

Charles Stebbins Fairchild Visiting Professor of Law

Spring 2023

Erin Kelly
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Visiting Professor Erin I. Kelly is Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University. Her research areas are in philosophy of law and in moral and political philosophy, with a focus on criminal law and criminal justice. She has written about standards of individual accountability and philosophies of punishment. She also writes about how matters of social justice bear on a normative assessment of criminal justice institutions. She is working to develop alternatives to retributive thinking about criminal justice, including restorative notions of justice. More broadly, she is interested in philosophical questions related to historical injustice, social inequality, and civil society.

In 2022, Kelly won a Pulitzer Prize in biography for a memoir she co-authored with artist Winfred Rembert, Chasing Me to My Grave: An Artist’s Memoir of the Jim Crow South (Bloomsbury Press, 2021). Kelly is also author of The Limits of Blame: Rethinking Punishment and Responsibility (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2018), which criticizes the role of blame in popular theories of criminal justice. She has published dozens of academic articles, including “Is Blame Warranted in Applying Justice?” Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy. Published online Feb. 23, 2021.

Kelly received a Ph.D. in philosophy from Harvard University and a B.A. degree in philosophy from Stanford University.


  • Ph.D. Philosophy Harvard University
  • M.A. Philosophy Columbia University
  • B.A. Philosophy Stanford University