Sabina E. Vaught
Professor and Department Chair

Dr. Sabina Vaught is a Professor and Inaugural Chair of the new Department of Teaching, Learning, and Leading. Dr. Vaught was most recently at The Simpson Center for the Humanities at the University of Washington, where she was a scholar-in-residence working on two major book projects. Prior, she was chair of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Oklahoma’s (OU) Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education, where she collaborated to establish the Indigenous Education focus, found the Carceral Studies Consortium, and build the Women and Girls Across Gender Initiative. Before her time at OU, Dr. Vaught was a faculty member at Tufts University, where she served as Director of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Africana Studies, and Educational Studies, and Chair of the Department of Education. She was also Co-Chair of the board for a nine-university consortium housed at MIT: the Consortium for Graduate Studies in Gender, Culture, Women, and Sexuality.

Dr. Vaught’s research considers carcerality and liberatory knowledge movements broadly and the race-gender labor and conquest relationships among schools, prisons, and insurgent communities specifically. In her scholarly work, Dr. Vaught draws on a constellation of knowledge traditions that help make sense of insurgent and counterinsurgent movements: feminisms, the Black radical tradition, Indigenous studies, and legal studies/Critical Race Theory. Her most recent book, Compulsory: Education and the Dispossession of Youth in a Prison School (University of Minnesota Press, 2017), is an ethnographic study inside a state juvenile prison schooling system. Her two current book projects are a co-authored ethnographic, legal, and cultural study of Indigenous youth self-determination experiences with conquest colonial school-prison experiences and a single-authored ethnographic examination of gender-based carceral disciplinary practices across North American institutional and private contexts. Dr. Vaught’s teaching has extended to adult and juvenile prisons for state-identified women and girls, where she has facilitated Feminist Studies study groups. Dr. Vaught was a high school language arts teacher and leader in two city school districts and two bridge programs where she sharpened her pedagogical and labor justice sensibilities.

Instructional Interests

Sample courses taught have included:

  • Rematriation of Indigenous Epistemologies in Education
  • Doing Feminist Research
  • School-Prison Nexus
  • Imagining Another School
  • Critical Race Theory Seminar
  • Pedagogies

Scholarly Interests

  • Schools and prisons
  • Carcerality, decarcerality, abolition
  • Knowledge traditions (race, gender, labor, conquest)
  • Anthropology, ethnography

Selected Publications

BOOK: Vaught, S. (2017). Compulsory: Education and the dispossession of youth in a prison school. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

ARTICLE: Vaught, S. (2019). Vanishment: Girls, punishment, and the education state. Teachers College Record, 121, 1-36.

CHAPTER: Vaught, S. & Judge, D. (2019). State niceness: Paternalist benevolence and the punishment of girls. In A. E. Castagno (Ed.) The price of nice: How good intentions maintain educational inequity (pp. 238-257). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

Sabina E. Vaught


University of Pittsburgh
0000 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260