ABOUT DR. HAMES-GARCÍA

Michael Hames-García studies and teaches about inequalities of race, class, gender, sexuality and disability in the criminal justice system from policing and criminal courts to incarceration and reentry. His current research considers the attitudes, motivations, and experiences of people engaged with overseeing local law enforcement. Police oversight is resisted by police unions as enfeebling and derided by abolitionists as concessionary; yet it has been touted as the gold standard for policing reform since the 1967 Kerner Commission. In addition to extensive archival data, the research draws from in-depth, semi-structured interviews with officials (independent auditors, internal affairs investigators, city bureaucrats, and local politicians), volunteers (police commissioners and review board members), and others (activists, attorneys, and journalists) who participate in community oversight of police and sheriff’s departments. The first phase of the research uses data (including around 50 interviews) from a mid-sized city in the northwestern United States, while the second will include about twice as many interviews from one of the nation’s most populous counties.


His past scholarship includes two single-authored books: Fugitive Thought: Prison Movements, Race, and the Meaning of Justice (University of Minnesota Press, 2004) and Identity Complex: Making the Case for Multiplicity (University of Minnesota Press, 2010). He also coedited Reclaiming Identity: Realist Theory and the Predicament of Postmodernism (University of California Press, 2000), Identity Politics Reconsidered (Palgrave, 2006), and Gay Latino Studies: A Critical Reader (Duke University Press, 2010) which won a Lambda Literary Award from the Lambda Literary Foundation in 2011.

Professor Hames-García teaches about inequalities of race, class, gender, sexuality and disability in the criminal justice system from policing and criminal courts to incarceration and reentry. He offers both graduate and undergraduate courses on critical theory, the criminal legal system, and Latinx studies in the Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He has formerly taught at the University of Oregon and at the State University of New York at Binghamton as well as at the Elmira Correctional Facility in Upstate New York and at the Oregon State Penitentiary.

Professor Hames-García is a member of the University of Texas’s Critical Legal System Research Interest Group (CLS-RIG). He serves on the board of the Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC), occasionally advising them on strategies for settlements involving litigation against law enforcement. He has formerly served on the city of Eugene, Oregon’s civilian review board, which investigations into alleged misconduct and use of force by the Eugene Police Department, and on Eugene’s police commission, which advises the police chief on policy. He has formerly served on the boards of the Sponsors, Inc. (which assists men and women with reentry following incarceration) and of the Community Alliance of Lane County (CALC).