Sharon L. Davies

Professor Emeritus
Sharon L. Davies
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Curriculum Vitae Publications

  • B.A., University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Political Science, 1984
  • J.D., Columbia University School of Law, 1987

Professor Sharon L. Davies was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and a notes and comments editor of the Columbia Law Review while in law school at Columbia University. After graduation, she worked as an associate attorney for Steptoe and Johnson in Washington, D.C. and Lord, Day & Lord Barrett Smith in New York City.

Professor Davies served for five years as an assistant U.S. attorney in the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York, widely thought to be the premier U.S. Attorney’s Office in the country.

She joined the faculty at The Ohio State University in 1995, was awarded tenure in 1999, and was promoted to full professor in 2002.

Professor Davies’ primary research focus is in the area of criminal law and procedure. Her articles have been published in a variety of leading journals including the Michigan Law Review, the Duke Law Journal, the Southern California Law Review, and Law and Contemporary Problems. She is also a co-author of a leading treatise on health care fraud, Medicare and Medicaid Fraud and Abuse (West Group 2001-2002).

Professor Davies taught Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure (Police Practices), and Evidence.

In January 2012, she took the helm of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University. Through interdisciplinary research and other working partnerships, the Kirwan Institute seeks to deepen the understanding of the causes and consequences of racial and ethnic disparities in order to stimulate change to bring about a society that is fair and just for all people. The institute was established in May 2003 and named for former university president William E. “Brit” Kirwan in recognition of his efforts to champion diversity. In 2015, she was appointed vice provost for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer at The Ohio State University.

Davies was appointed provost and vice president of academic affairs at Spelman College, effective June 1, 2017.

Rising Road: A True Tale of Love, Race, and Religion in America

In Rising Road, Professor Davies recounts the revenge murder of Catholic priest, James Coyle, by a minister named Edwin Stephenson. Stephenson was upset that Coyle had married Stephenson’s 18-year-old daughter Ruth – who had secretly converted to Catholicism three months earlier – to Pedro Gussman, a Puerto Rican migrant and practicing Catholic.

Having all but disappeared from historical memory, the murder of Father Coyle and the trial of the Rev. Stephenson that followed are vividly resurrected by Professor Davies. The case laid bare all the bigotries of its time and place: a simmering hatred not only of African Americans, but of Catholics and foreigners as well. Placing this story in its full social and historical context, Davies brings to life a heinous crime and its aftermath, in a brilliant, in-depth examination of the consequences of prejudice in the Jim Crow era.