Erica R. Meiners



I am a Professor of Education and Women's and Gender Studies at Northeastern Illinois University - a public, urban institution in Chicago where I am also a union member of UPI: the University Professionals of Illinois.  As the Bernard J. Brommel Distinguished Research Professor, I teach classes in justice studies, women’s and gender studies, and educational studies.

I am the author of a number of books including: Right to be hostile: Schools, prisons and the making of public enemies (Routledge 2007), Public acts: Disruptive readings on making curriculum public with Francisco Ibáñez-Carrasco (Routledge 2004), and with Therese Quinn, Flaunt It! Queers organizing for public education and justice. I have also published articles in a range of journals and magazines including AREA Chicago, ReThinking Schools, Meridians, Upping the Anti, Monthly Review, Women’s Studies Quarterly, Social Justice Journal, and Academe.

A new book, For the Children? Protecting Innocence in a Carceral State (University of Minnesota Press 2016), explores how conceptions of childhood continue to be used to build up a racialized US prison nation and is named as the must read for 2017 by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, a winner of the 2017 Critics Choice Award for the American Educational Studies Association, reviewed in TCR and Criminal Justice Review, and other periodicals.

In 2000, with others, I started, and still teach at, an alternative high school for people who have been incarcerated, Sister Jean Hughes Adult High School. I am involved in a number of other projects and movements.

In 2016-2017 I was a Soros Media Fellow critically examining registries and community notification laws and exploring alternative responses to sexual violence that do not center criminalization. Working on related research, I am also a Visiting Scholar at the Leather Archives & Museum with Francisco Ibáñez-Carrasco.

In 2010 I had the privilege to be a sister at the Simone de Beauvoir Institute in Montreal and in 2011-2012 at the amazing Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy.

I am into making jam, radical science fiction, trying to keep my bees alive, most music, and long distance running.


20i6 events included: North Carolina, Sisters Inside, Queer Provocations, American Studies Conference, The Academy and the Prison.

2017 events include: Beyond the Bars (Columbia, NYC), Reconceptualizing Fascism in the Post-Civil Rights Era (Northwestern, Chicago), Resisting Criminalization in Education (NYU, NYC), University of California Davis, and more. 

2018 events coming soon! Children’s Studies 25th Anniversary Lecture at Brooklyn College, Inaugural Visiting Scholar at Trent University, Justice Speaks Initiative at Western Washington University


Erica R. Meiners


Instagram: allruthes

Recent (Useful) PieceS

We’re Rethinking Prisons. Is it Time to Rethink Sex Offender Registries?in the February 2016 issue of In These Times.

Toilet Trouble with Therese Quinn in the December 2015 issues of the Windy City Times & Good Cop? Bad Cop? No Cop! Queer Resistance to Policing  in the Windy City Times.

“And what happens to you concerns us here”: Imaginings for a (new) Prison Arts Movement. with Sarah Ross in Rebecca Zorach’s Art Against the Law (Chicago: University of Chicago Press 2014).

I don’t recall, with Michelle Boyd, is a three-part sound collage that memorializes Black men and women tortured by Chicago Police officers in the 1970s and 1980s. Produced for the 2012 Opening the Black Box exhibit at the Sullivan Galleries in Chicago. Part one was also published in 2014 in Lumina/Lux.