David Haywood ’23 Incarcerated Philosophy Major Graduates with High Honors


David Haywood ’23 with Professor Gruen at the 2018 AA Degree Graduation at Cheshire Correctional Institute


David Haywood will be graduating from Wesleyan with High Honors from the Philosophy Department.  He is also the 2023 Wise Prize recipient, a prize established by Daniel Wise, class of 1859, to recognize student excellence in philosophy.   

Haywood’s thesis “On Being Haunted:  Affective Violence in Colonial Modernity” is the first honors thesis written by a student enrolled in Wesleyan’s Center for Prison Education.  Professor Lori Gruen, chair of the department and Haywood’s thesis advisor said “this is a profound work of interdisciplinary philosophical scholarship that gives voice to the experience of the emotional, embodied terror of being disappeared. Haywood’s thesis addresses what it means to experience what he calls “haunting or affective violence” and how to resist it.  Writing an honors thesis while in prison, with very limited access to a computer on which to type and no internet access, seemed almost impossible. It is a testament to David Haywood’s commitment and vision that this brilliant work was completed.”  Professor Tushar Irani, one of the thesis readers, described the thesis as “a tour de force.”  The Department had two other honor thesis awards this year.