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Elvia R. ArriolaElvia R. Arriola
Professor Emerita

B.A., California State University, Los Angeles
J.D., University of California, Berkeley
M.A., New York University

Phone: (815) 753-7251
Room: 197C


Professor Arriola joined NIU College of Law in 2001. She is a faculty associate in the NIU Women’s Studies Program and serves on its Executive Committee. She teaches Constitutional Law, Family Law, Gender and the Law, Sexuality and the Law, and a scholarship seminar, Women, Law and the Global Economy. She has also taught Civil Rights Litigation, Professional Responsibility, Contracts, Federal Courts and Domestic Violence.

After graduating from the University of California at Berkeley, Professor Arriola began her legal career as a Karpatkin attorney at the National Headquarters of the American Civil Liberties Union and worked on the ACLU’s involvement in the historic 1980s reopening of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education. She served as assistant attorney general in the Civil Rights Bureau for the New York State Department of Law working on class action sex discrimination litigation and speaking publicly on the subject of AIDS-related discrimination.

Professor Arriola is the author of more than forty-five articles, essays and book chapters ranging widely on the topics of feminist legal theory and history, LGBT/queer legal theory, LatCrit theory and the impact of globalization and free trade policy on working women and families at the Mexican border. She is Executive Director of Women on the Border, Inc. a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing awareness of the impact of NAFTA on women in the global factories at the U.S.-Mexico border known as “maquiladoras.”

Professor Arriola currently serves on the Board of Governors for the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) and is most active on the LGBT and Access to Justice Committees.

Faculty News for Professor Arriola

Recent Activities

  • October, 2014: Joined the Board of Directors of the Illinois-based nonprofit, Friends of the Jane Adeny Memorial School (JAMS). JAMS is a school offering transformative learning experiences to underserved village girls in Kenya.
  • DeKalb, Illinois, March 19, 2014: Presented for NIU Department of History and Women Studies Center Civil Rights Act 50th Anniversary Celebration, March 19, 2014.
  • DeKalb, Illinois,  Feb. 25, 2014: Served as Commentator to Presentation by Patrice Florvilus, for NIU Anthropology Museum exhibit "Fragments: Haiti Four Years after the Earthquake," Feb. 25, 2014.
  • Chicago, Illinois, Feb. 7, 2014: Presented for American Bar Association Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Midyear CLE, Feb. 7, 2014.
  • Chicago, Illinois, Oct. 3-6, 2013: Panelist: "Presumed Incompetent: Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia, Possibilities for a Movement," for Latina/o Critical Legal Theory Conference, Oct. 3-6, 2013.
  • March 27, 2013: Guest Speaker: Univision America radio program hosted by Helen Aguirre Ferré on Perry/Windsor gay marriage cases pending before U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Univ. of California Berkeley, March 8, 2013: Panelist: “The First Generation,” for Symposium on Book, PRESUMED INCOMPETENT, by Berkeley Journal of Gender, Race and Justice.
  • Geneva, Switzerland, CETIM, Nov. 2, 2012: Presented: “Linking NAFTA to Gender Violence in Northern Mexico,” for Symposium, Who Benefits from Free Trade Agreements? Sponsored by European Third World Centre (CETIM).
  • Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, Oct. 23, 2012: Presented: “Linking Global Corporate Power, Privilege and Indifference to Gender Violence in Northern Mexico,” for Symposium on Race, Sexuality and Social Justice, produced by Moritz College of Law.
  • University of Maryland Law School, Oct. 5, 2012: Presented: Social Justice Insights in the Classroom: The Case of Family Law, for SALT Teaching Conference, Oct. 5, 2012.

Areas of Expertise:

Feminist Legal Theory, LGBT Studies, Latina Critical Legal Theory, Women and Globalization

Books and Chapters

  • “No Hay Mal Que Por Bien No Venga”: A Journey to Healing by a Latina Law Professor, in Gabriella Gutiérrez y Muhs, Yolanda Flores Niemann, Carmen G. González, and Angela P. Harris, eds., PRESUMED INCOMPETENT: INTERSECTIONS OF RACE AND CLASS FOR WOMEN IN ACADEMIA, (Utah Univ. Press, 2012).
  • Gendered Inequality: Lesbians, Gays and Feminist Legal Theory (1994), in Delgado and Stefancic, Eds., CRITICAL RACE THEORY, 3d. Ed (2012).
  • Of Woman Born: Courage and Strength to Survive in the Maquiladoras of Reynosa and Rio Bravo (2000), Tamaulipas, in Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, CRITICAL RACE THEORY, 3d. Ed (2012).
  • Accountability for Murder in the Maquiladoras, in MAKING A KILLING; FEMICIDE, FREE TRADE AND LA FRONTERA, Alicia Gaspar de Alba (Univ. of Texas Press, 2010).
  • La Responsibilidad Por Los Asesinatos en las Maquiladoras in C. Gonzalez, D. Bonilla-Maldonado, C. Crawford, ed., EL LIBERALISMO NEOCLASICO, EL LIBRE COMERCIO Y SUS CRITICOS (2010).
  • Law and the Gendered Politics of Identity: Who Owns the Label "Lesbian"?, reprinted in Katherine Bartlett & Angela Harris, Gender and Law: Theory, Doctrine, Commentary (2010).
  • LatCrit Theory, Int'l Human Rights, Popular Culture and the Faces of Despair in INS Raids, reprinted in The Latino Condition: A Critical Reader (Richard Delgado & Jean Stefancic eds., 1998) and in A Reader on Race, Civil Rights and American Law: A Multiracial Approach (Timothy Davis, Kevin R. Johnson & George A. Martinez eds., 2001).
  • Gendered Inequality: Lesbians, Gays, and Feminist Legal Theory, reprinted in Critical Race Theory: The Cutting Edge (Richard Delgado & Jean Stefancic eds., 2000) and in The Latino Condition: A Critical Reader (Richard Delgado & Jean Stefancic eds., 1998).
  • "What's the Big Deal?": Women in the New York City Construction Industry and Sexual Harassment Law, reprinted in Applications of Feminist Legal Theory to Women's Lives: Sex, Work and Reproduction (D. Kelly Weisberg ed., 1996) and in Law and Violence Against Women: Cases and Materials on Systems of Oppression (Mary Louise Fellows & Beverly Balos eds. 1994).
  • Feminism and Free Expression: Silence and Voice, Freeing the First Amendment: Critical Perspectives on Freedom of Expression 195-223 (with Robert Jensen) (Robert Jensen & David Allen eds., 1995).
  • "Sexual Identity and the Constitution, Homosexual Persons as a Discrete and Insular Minority, reprinted in Special Issue: The Best of the Women's Rights Law Reporter Rutgers Women's Rights Law Review (1992) and in 13 Studies in Homosexuality (Wayne R. Dynes ed. 1991).


  • Amor y Esperanza: A Latina Lesbian Becomes a Law Professor, 66 J. Legal Educ. 484 (2017).
  • Migrants Resist Discrimination and Dehumanization in For-Profit Detention Centers,15 Santa Clara J. Int'l L. 1 (2017) (with Virginia Raymond, Esq., Ph.D).
  • Queer, Undocumented, and Sitting in an Immigration Detention Center, A Post-Obergefell Reflection, 84 U.M.K.C. L. Rev. 617 (2016),
  • The Undocumented Gay Migrant - Opportunities for Pro Bono Legal Assistance?, in The Equalizer, Vol. I, Issue 2 (Winter 2015),
  • Healing the “Isms” in our Bodies, Our Selves, Our Communities, in Social Justice Today, Vol. I, Issue 1 (Spring 2012).
  • Shaking Out the Welcome Mat for Enduring Lat/Crit Social Movement, Comments on Cluster of Essays for 14th Annual Lat/Crit Conference, 18 A.U.J. of Gender, Social Policy and L. 711 (2011).
  • Crazy Mexican Border Politics Post 9-11, Women on the Border (2011),
  • Justice Interrupted: The Ciudad Juarez Femicides and Global Social Responsibility, LA VOZ (Esperanza Center) (March 2010),
  • Gender, Globalization and Women's Issues in Panama City: A Comparative Inquiry, 41 U. of Miami Inter-American L. Rev. 19 (2010).
  • Sociocultural Consequences of Free Trade: Accountability for Murder in the Maquiladoras: Linking Corporate Indifference to Gender Violence at the U.S.-Mexico Border,Seattle J. Soc. Just. 603 (Spring/Summer 2007).
    | Lexis*| | Westlaw*| | Hein On-line*|
  • Encuentro En El Ambiente De La Teoria: Latina Lesbians and Ruthann Robson's Lesbian Legal Theory, 8 N.Y. City L. Rev. 519 (2005).
    | Lexis* | | Westlaw*| | Hein On-line*|
  • Democracy and Dissent: Challenging the Solomon Amendment as a Cultural Threat to Academic Freedom and Civil Rights, 24 St. Louis U. Pub. L. Rev. 149 (2005).
    | Lexis* | | Westlaw*| | Hein On-line*|
  • Coffeehouse Musings on Post-Grutter Ironies: Promoting Diversity to Ensure Globalization, 7 Scholar: St. Mary's L. Rev. on Minority Issues 3 (2004).
    | Lexis* | |Westlaw*| | Hein On-line*|
  • Tenure Politics and the Feminist Scholar, 12 Colum. J. Gender & L. 532 (2003).
    | Lexis* | | Westlaw*| | Hein On-line*|
  • Staying Empowered by Recognizing our Common Grounds: A Reply to Subordination and Symbiosis: Mechanisms of Mutual Support Between Subordinating Systems by Professor Nancy Ehrenreich, 71 U.M.K.C. L. Rev. 447 (2002).
    | Lexis* | | Westlaw* | |Hein On-line*|
  • Maquila Zoned Out in Reports from the Field, 1 Latino Studies 188 (2003) (Poem).
    | Lexis* | | Westlaw* |
  • Queering the Painted Ladies:  Gender, Race, Class and Sexual Identity at the Mexico Border in the Case of the Two Paulas, 1 Seattle J. Soc. Just. 679 (2003).
    | Lexis* | | Westlaw*|  | Hein On-line*|
  • Introductory Remarks:  Comparative and Co-Constituent Construction of Identities, 55 Fla. L. Rev. 413 (2003) (6th Annual Latino/a Critical Legal Theory Conference).
    | Lexis* |  | Westlaw*|  | Hein On-line*|
  • Talking About Power and Pedagogy, Introduction for Cluster: "LatCrit Theory in New Contexts," 78 Denv. U. L. Rev. 507 (2001) (5th Annual Latina/o Critical Legal Theory Conference).
    | Lexis* | | Westlaw*|  | Hein On-line*|
  • Of Woman Born: Courage and Strength to Survive in the Maquiladoras of Reynosa and Rio Bravo, Tamaulipas, Frontera-Norte-Sur (April 2001),
  • Looking Out from a Cardboard Box: Workers and Their Families in the Maquiladora Industry of Ciudad Acuña. Coahuila. Frontera-Norte-Sur (December 2000),, reprinted in National Lawyer's Guild Practitioner (2001).
  • Becoming Leaders: The Women in the Maquiladoras of Piedras Negras, Coahuila: Frontera-Norte-Sur (October 2000),
  • Voices from the Barbed Wires of Despair: Women in the Maquiladoras, Latina Critical Legal Theory and Gender at the U.S.-Mexico Border, 49 DePaul L. Rev. 729 (2000).
    | Lexis* |  | Westlaw*|  | Hein On-line*|
  • Introduction: The Value of Our Work, 53 U. Miami L. Rev. 1037 (1999).
    | Lexis* |  | Westlaw*|  | Hein On-line*|
  • Wildly Different: Anti-gay Peer Harassment in Public Schools,Geo. J. Gender & L.  5 (1999).
    | Lexis* | | Westlaw*| | Hein On-line*|
  • Coming Home to a Latina Lesbian Self: Race and Sexual Orientation in Legal Scholarship (1998),
  • The Penalties for Puppy Love: Institutionalized Violence Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Youth, 2 J. Gender Race & Just. 430 (1998).
    | Lexis* | | Westlaw*| | Hein On-line*|
  • Foreword: March! - Second Annual Symposium on Latina/o Critical Legal Theory, 19 Chicano-Latino L. Rev. 1 (1998).
    | Lexis* | | Westlaw*| | Hein On-line*|
  • Getting Possessive About the Term "Lesbian," Proceedings of the Fifth Annual International Conference on Transgender Law & Employment Policy (1998).
  • Law and the Gendered Politics of Identity: Who Owns the Label "Lesbian"?,Hastings Women's L.J. 1 (1997).
    | Lexis* | | Westlaw*|  | Hein On-line*|
  • LatCrit Theory, Int'l Human Rights, Popular Culture and the Faces of Despair in INS Raids, 28 U. Miami Inter-Am. L. Rev. 245 (1997).
    | Lexis* | | Westlaw*|  | Hein On-line*|
  • Welcoming the Outsider to an Outsider Conference: Law and the Multiplicities of Self,Harv. Latino L. Rev. 397 (1997).
    | Lexis* | | Westlaw* |  | Hein On-line*|
  • Law and the Family of Choice and Need, 35 U. Louisville J. Fam. L. 691 (1997).
    | Lexis* | | Westlaw*|  | Hein On-line*|
  • Faeries, Marimachas, Queens and Lezzies: The Construction of Homosexuality Before the 1969 Stonewall Riots, 5 Colum. J. Gender & L. 33 (1995).
    | Lexis* | | Westlaw*|  | Hein On-line*|
  • Gendered Inequality: Lesbians, Gays, and Feminist Legal Theory, 9 Berkeley Women's L.J. 103 (1994).
    | Lexis* | | Westlaw*|  | Hein On-line*|
  • Coming Out and Coming to Terms with Sexual Identity, 68 Tul. L. Rev. 283 (1993) (book reviews).
    | Lexis* | | Westlaw*|  | Hein On-line*|
  • "What's the Big Deal?" Women in the New York City Construction Industry and Sexual Harassment Law, 1970-1985, 22 Colum. Hum. Rts. L. Rev. 21 (1990).
    | Lexis* | | Westlaw*|  | Hein On-line*|
  • Sexual Identity and the Constitution: Homosexual Persons as a Discrete and Insular Minority, 14 Women's Rts. L. Rep. 263 (1988).
    | Lexis* | | Westlaw*|  | Hein On-line*|

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