Kaaryn Gustafson

Ellen Ash Peters Professor of Law
Headshot of Professor Gustafson.
Office: Hosmer 116
  • Welfare
  • Poverty Law
  • Race and Gender
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Search and Seizure
  • Due Process
  • Law and Society

Kaaryn Gustafson is an expert on America’s welfare system, and how rules and regulations function in practice. Her research focuses on law and inequality, drawing heavily on both empirical research and critical theory. Professor Gustafson’s book Cheating Welfare: Public Assistance and the Criminalization of Poverty (NYU Press) was co-winner of the Law and Society Association’s 2012 Herbert Jacob Book Prize for outstanding new book. In addition to her academic writing, Professor Gustafson has co-authored (with Linda Burnham) a report to the United Nations on U.S. government policy toward poor women and children.

A magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College, Professor Gustafson earned her Ph.D. in jurisprudence and social policy and her J.D. from UC Berkeley. Prior to joining the Law School faculty in 2004, Professor Gustafson worked as a litigator at a San Francisco law firm and as a policy analyst and advocate at the Women of Color Resource Center in Oakland.

Professor Gustafson has served on the board of trustees for the Law and Society Association, the editorial advisory board for Law & Society Review, and the boards of the National Center for Law and Economic Justice and Greater Hartford Legal Aid. She was the 2009 recipient of the AALS’s Section on Minority Groups’ Derrick A. Bell, Jr. Award, which honors a junior faculty member who, through activism, mentoring, colleagueship, teaching and scholarship, has made an extraordinary contribution to legal education, the legal system or social justice.

Kaaryn Gustafson, Degradation Ceremonies and the Criminalization of Low-Income Women, 3 U.C. Irvine L. Rev.  __ (forthcoming 2013)

Kaaryn Gustafson, Cheating Welfare: Public Assistance and the Criminalization of Poverty (NYU Press, 2011)

Kaaryn Gustafson, Breaking Vows: Marriage Promotion, The New Patriarchy, and the Retreat from Egalitarianism, 5 Stanford J. C.R. & C.L. 269 (2009)

Kaaryn Gustafson, The Criminalization of Poverty, 99 J. Crim. L. & Criminology 643 (2009)

Kaaryn Gustafson, Disability, Fluidity, and Measuring without Baselines, 75 Miss. L.J. 1007 (2006)