Gilmore is a professor of geography in the doctoral program in earth and environmental sciences at the Graduate Center, CUNY. She is known as an activist, whose wide-ranging research interests include race and gender, labor and social movements, economic geography, and the African diaspora. AAG said: “[Her] career demonstrates a lifelong commitment towards asking how individuals employ power […] Gilmore is a mentor and an inspiration for many people.”
She is the author of Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California (University of California Press, 2007), a critical account of how California’s political economy, social conditions, and “super-incarceration rates” established its industrialized and expensive prison system. The American Studies Association recognized Golden Gulag with its Lora Romero First Book Award.