Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve

Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve is an Assistant Professor at Temple University in the Department of Criminal Justice with courtesy appointments in the Department of Sociology and the Beasley School of Law. She is the recipient of the 2014-2015 Ford Foundation Fellowship Postdoctoral Award, the 2015 New Scholar Award (co-winner) awarded by American Society of Criminology’s Division on People of Color and Crime. She is also an affiliated scholar with the American Bar Foundation. Her book, Crook County: Racism and Injustice in America's Largest Criminal Court, and her legal commentary has been featured onNBC News, MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show and CNN.Her recent op-ed in the New York Times entitled, "Chicago's Racist Cops and Racist Courts" shows the complicity of the criminal courts in the racist culture of policing and injustice in Chicago.  

Van Cleve received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Northwestern University where she was a legal studies fellow. Her research examines the cultural impact of mass incarceration on criminal justice apparatuses. She explores the contradictory ways that racial stigma is reproduced by these institutions in a purportedly, “colorblind” era. She received her B.A. and M.A. from Northwestern University where she was awarded the Farrel Grant for Public Policy and the Badesch Fellowship from the Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice. Nicole’s chapter, “Reinterpreting the Zealous Advocate: Multiple Intermediary Roles of the Criminal Defense Attorney” is in the book, Lawyers in Practice: Ethical Decision Making in Context (Leslie Levin and Lynn Mather eds., University of Chicago Press, 2011) and was the winner of the 2010 Outstanding Graduate Paper presented by the Sociology of Law Section of the American Sociological Association.


Prior to receiving her Ph.D., Van Cleve served in The Office of the Chief of Staff at the White House during the Clinton Administration and subsequently worked for five years as a Consumer Brand Planner for Leo Burnett, USA.  She is the former Research Director for Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice - a policy/nonprofit organization that specialized in legal advocacy.  Van Cleve is the current co-chair of Law and Society’s Collaborative Research Network on Critical Research on Race and the Law, a Junior Fellow of Yale University’s Urban Ethnography Project, and a member of the Racial Democracy, Crime and Justice Network (RDCJN).