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Thalia González

Associate Professor, Politics


Education: B.A., Arizona State University; J.D., Northwestern University

Professor González teaches and writes in the fields of restorative justice, juvenile justice, civil rights, education, human rights, law and society, and public interest practice. She is a nationally recognized expert in the field of school-based restorative justice and is frequently asked to advise policymakers at the local, county, state, and federal levels.  As the restorative justice movement has rapidly grown in the United States, her early work in Denver Public Schools on disproportionality, the school-to-prison pipeline, and restorative practices has been utilized across the country by school districts, county safety councils, community-based organizations, academic institutions, think tanks, and bar associations.  Building on her applied research, Professor González recently published Reorienting Restorative Justice (2015) in which she argues that the ontology of restorative justice should to be viewed to include a liberatory moment of politicization focused on promoting equality and human relationality.  This reorientation exposes an understanding of restorative justice as political demands, specifically demands for emancipation, for an end to domination and oppression, and the right to have a meaningful, rather than tokenized, voice.  

In 2015, Professor González hosted a three-workshop series (Mindfulness & Social Justice: From Personal Transformation to Collective Liberation) to engage questions about how in an unjust world, what is the relationship between individual transformation and collective liberation?  Each workshop focused on communitiy-building and critical reflection about how public interest lawyers can work in solidarity with individuals and communities most often marginalized and excluded from spaces of power and privilege. Participants were challenged to see themselves as not simply working for social change, but rather mindful collaborators building the power of individuals and communities seeking to reverse legal, political, economic, and social subordination.  Her forthcoming article, Root to Rise: Mindful Lawyering for Social Justice (2017), considers a new way to explore, contextualize, expand, and reinterpret the contemplative law movement. Rather than continue to associate, and often isolate, mindfulness as individualized, her article decenters the identity of “mindfulness and law” from the individual and expands it into the collective domain.

Professor González has been recognized for her excellence in teaching, including being awarded the Loftgordon Teaching Award and selected as the Mortar Board Last Lecture speaker.  In 2012, she joined the Research to Practice Collaborative of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA.  She has been a Visiting Scholar at Berkeley Law (2012 - 2013) and UCLA School of Law (2015 - 2016).  Prior to joining the faculty at Occidental College, she was a practicing attorney, community organizer, and held appointments at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and Arizona State University.  She is currently Chair of the Board of Directors of CADRE and serves on the Leadership Team of the Yoga and Body Image Coalition.


Thalia González, Root to Rise: Mindful Lawyering for Social Justice (forthcoming in N.Y.U. Review of Law and Social Change)

Thalia González, From Global to Local: Domestic Human Rights Norms in Theory and Practice 59 How. L.J. 501 (2016)

Thalia González, Reorienting Restorative Justice: Initiating a New Dialogue of Rights Consciousness, Community Empowerment and Politicization, 16 Cardozo J. Conflict Resol. 457 (2015)

Thalia González & Giovanni Saarman, Regulating Pollutants, Good Neighbor Agreements, and Negative Externalities: Who Bears the Burden of Protecting Communities? 41 Ecology L.Q. 37 (2014)

Thalia González, Reclaiming the Promise of the Indian Child Welfare Act: A Study of State Incorporation and Adoption of Legal Protections for Indian Status Offenders, 42 N.M. L. Rev. 131 (2012)

Thalia González, Keeping Kids in Schools: Restorative Justice, Punitive Discipline, and the School to Prison Pipeline, 41 J.L. & Educ. 281 (2012)

Thalia González, Restoring Justice: Community Organizing to Transform School Discipline Policies, 15 U.C. Davis J. Juv. L. & Pol’y 2 (2011)

Thalia González, A Model for Economic Empowerment: Minority Business Development and Advocacy Before the California Public Utilities Commission, Los Angeles Pub. Int. L.J. 104 (2010)

Book Chapters and Edited Volumes

Thalia González & Lauren Eckstrom, From Practice to Praxis: Mindful Lawyering for Social Justice, in Yoga, the Body, and Embodied Social Change: An Intersectional Feminist Analysis (Melanie Klein, Beth Berila & Chelsea Jackson, ed., 2016).

Thalia González, Socializing Schools: Addressing Racial Disparities in Discipline Through Restorative Justice, in Closing the School Discipline Gap: Equitable Remedies for Excessive Exclusion (Daniel J. Losen ed., 2014)

Thalia González & Edwin González-Santin, The Indian Child Welfare Act: A Legal Mandate for Social Justice and Preservation of American Indian/Native Alaskan Heritage, in Social Issues in Contemporary Native America: Reflections from Turtle Island (Hilary N. Weaver ed., 2014)

Thalia González, Protecting the Future of Tribal Communities: Ensuring Compliance with the Indian Welfare Act, in Big Ideas for Children in the Southwest (First Focus ed., 2012).

Thalia González & Benjamin Cairns, Moving Beyond Exclusion: Integrating Restorative Practices and Impacting School Culture in Denver Public Schools, in Justice for Kids: Keeping Kids Out of the Juvenile Justice System (Nancy E. Dowd ed., 2011) 

Conference Papers

Thalia González, Mindfulness and Community-Centered Legal Education, paper presented at the Mindfulness & Compassion: The Art and Science of Contemplative Practice Conference (June 3-6, 2015).

Thalia González, Integrating Experiential Legal Education into the Undergraduate Curriculum: A New Dimension to Critical Service-Learning, paper presented at the American Political Science Association Teaching and Learning Conference (February 7-9, 2014).

Thalia González, Community-based Experiential Undergraduate Legal Education and Collaboration with Law Schools, paper presented at the Society of American Law Teachers Teaching Conference (December 10-11, 2010).

Sponsored Research 

2016, Thalia González.  Restorative Justice and School Safety: An Interdisciplinary Analysis of Current Practices, Programs and Policies.  National Institute of Justice, Office of Research and Evaluation.  Assessment of school safety and restorative justice. 

2012-2014, Thalia González.  The Emergence and Experience of Human Rights in South Los Angeles and Beyond.  Occidental College Anderson Grant.  Assessment of localized human rights practice. 

2012-2013, Thalia González. Race and Gender Disparities in Discipline: A Research to Practice Collaborative.  Atlantic Philanthropies.  Assessment of restorative justice practice in schools and development of recommendations for practice, policy, and research.

2010-2011, Thalia González. The Use of Restorative Practices at North High School. Occidental College Anderson Grant.  Assessment of the use restorative justice by students and teachers to address conflict. 


POLS 140 - Law and Society
POLS 234 - Juvenile Justice
POLS 238 - Human Rights in the United States
POLS 243 - Restorative Justice
POLS 244 - Constitutional Law
POLS 247 - Supreme Court Politics
POLS 260 - Community Law Internship  
POLS 340 - Rebellious Lawyering
POLS 345 - Constitutional Law II
POLS 346 - Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
POLS 347 - Race and Law

Legal Links

Cases Archive containing opinions of the court issued since 1990.  Free source for finding cases (federal and the state level).  Wide range of materials about landmark cases, including secondary sources, and a helpful glossary.

The Supreme Court & the Justices  Official site of the Supreme Court and provides information about the history and operation of the Court, links to cases, as well as biographical information about the justices. Official site for the Historical Society of the Supreme Court and is resource for information about the Court (includes a timeline, biographies of the justices, and information about including landmark cases).  Multimedia site that includes audio transcripts of oral arguments in major cases, a virtual tour of the Court, as well as biographical information for sitting justices, information about pending cases, and news items about the Court. 

News & Press Coverage News about the Supreme Court and other federal courts.  News and commentary about the Supreme Court. News about the Supreme Court, as well as links to blogs and others sources of information and commentary about the Court.

Blogs  Discussions about the Court and its cases. Information about pending cases.  Commentary about current cases and Supreme Court news.

Other Resources  Links to the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, later amendments, the Federalist Papers, and other materials.  The Declaration of Independence. A Comprehensive, annotated on-line guide to the Constitution.  Secondary information about the Constitution.  The Federalist Papers.  The Federalist Papers, Annotated.  Links to other Constitutions.

Community Partners