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Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice



Elvia Arriola Professor of Law

Elvia Arriola

Elvia Arriola is Professor of Law at the Northern Illinois University College of Law, where she teaches Constitutional Law, Gender, Sexuality and the Law, Civil Rights Litigation, Family Law, and a research and writing seminar, Women, Law and the Global Economy. She is a Women’s Studies Faculty Associate.

Raised in a large Mexican immigrant family in Southern California, Professor Arriola attended Catholic schools in Los Angeles and in Mexico before pursuing a college education through the California state university system. She attained her law degree from the University of California-Berkeley School of Law and began her legal career in New York City on a fellowship with the national offices of the American Civil Liberties Union. At the ACLU her involvement in the re-opening of the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education inspired her to pursue a Master’s Degree in History at New York University.

Professor Arriola’s experiences at the ACLU led her into teaching first as a writing instructor and civil rights litigation as a member of the N.Y. Attorney General’s Civil Rights Division where she litigated a sex discrimination class action and drafted amicus briefs on varied civil rights cases pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. These experiences influenced her first law teaching experiences at the University of Texas at Austin where she taught civil rights litigation, employment and family law, and sexuality and the law. Her publications range widely on the subjects that deal with civil rights, feminist and queer legal theory, gender and human rights and globalization of the economy. She owes her most recent research and scholarship interests to the influence of the “LatCrit” scholarly movement begun in 1995-96. Arriola is also Executive Director of an education nonprofit, Women on the Border, dedicated to advancing awareness of the impact of free trade law and policy on women and families who work for American companies at the U.S.-Mexico border known as “maquiladoras.”