Thalia González

Associate Professor, Politics


Department Chair, Politics

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

Professor González teaches and writes in the fields of civil rights, human rights, restorative justice, juvenile justice, law and society, and public interest practice.  Since 2008, she has examined issues of school discipline and racial disproportionality, with a focus on the implementation of alternative models of discipline and ending the school-to-prison pipeline.  She is frequently asked to provide programmatic assesments to school districts and advise policymakers at the local, county, and state levels. Her work in Denver Public Schools has been nationally recognized and utilized by school districts, county safety councils, community-based organizations, academic institutions, think tanks, bar associations, and scholars.  Similarly, based on her research on the Indian Child Welfare Act and status offenders, Professor González has been invited to review state court policy guidelines and rulemakings, and participate in community roundtables.

Building on her applied research of restorative justice, Professor González recently published, Reorienting Restorative Justice: Initiating a New Dialogue of Rights Consciousness, Community Empowerment and Politicization, arguing 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.  Her forthcoming publication, From Global to Local: Domestic Human Rights Norms in Theory and Practice, explores how human rights ideas are translated into behavior, practices, and processes at the local, subnational, and national levels.

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 based on her work on school discipline and restorative justice.  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.

In spring 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 being in solidarity with those 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.  


Thalia González, From Global to Local: Domestic Human Rights Norms in Theory and Practice (forthcoming 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, 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 

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 101 - American Politics and Public Policy
POLS 140 - Law and Society
POLS 234 - Juvenile Justice
POLS 238 - Human Rights in the United States
POLS 260 - Community Law Internship 
POLS 244 - Constitutional Law 
POLS 247 - Supreme Court Politics 
POLS 340 - Rebellious Lawyering
POLS 345 - Constitutional Law II
POLS 346 - Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
POLS 347 - Race and Law
CSP 23 - Confronting Authority 

Legal Links


http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/index.html. Archive containing opinions of the court issued since 1990.  

http://www.findlaw.com/casecode/supreme.html.  Free source for finding cases (federal and the state level).

http://www.landmarkcases.org/.  Wide range of materials about landmark cases, including secondary sources, and a helpful glossary.

The Supreme Court & the Justices

http://www.supremecourtus.gov/.  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.

http://www.supremecourthistory.org/. 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).

http://www.oyez.org/oyez/frontpage.  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

http://news.findlaw.com/legalnews/us/sc/. News about the Supreme Court and other federal courts.

http://www.law.com/jsp/scm/index.jsp.  News and commentary about the Supreme Court.

http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/currentawareness/ussupremes.php. News about the Supreme Court, as well as links to blogs and others sources of information and commentary about the Court.


http://www.scotusblog.com/movabletype/.  Discussions about the Court and its cases.

http://scotus.blogspot.com/ Information about pending cases.

http://supremecourtwatch.tpmcafe.com/.  Commentary about current cases and Supreme Court news.

Other Resources

http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/help/constRedir.html.  Links to the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, later amendments, the Federalist Papers, and other materials.

http://www.law.indiana.edu/uslawdocs/declaration.html.  The Declaration of Independence.

http://www.usconstitution.net/. A Comprehensive, annotated on-line guide to the Constitution.

http://www.constitution.org/.  Secondary information about the Constitution.

http://www.law.ou.edu/hist/federalist/.  The Federalist Papers.

http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/federal/fed.htm.  The Federalist Papers, Annotated.

http://confinder.richmond.edu/  Links to other Constitutions.

Community Partners