Political Science and Criminal Justice

Michael J. Coyle, PhD

Michael joined the department in 2007, with a scholarly background in the Humanities and Justice Studies (Harvard University & Arizona State University) and an activist background in human rights for people in prison. In his work, Michael examines language, everyday life, and public policy to expose the social construction of the excluded and discarded persons of our community (people of color, the underclass, the homeless, the imprisoned, and a variety of groups identified for their difference from promoted norms – who are characterized as “unlike us,” “dangerous,” or “punishment-worthy”). His teaching and research topics center on penal abolition, transformative/restorative justice, ethics, and theoretical, as well as methodological, inquiry. Activism on campus, in Chico, as well as in national and international community contexts, has centered on leading or participating in groups engaging White supremacy, racial capitalism, and violence in everyday life, labor abuses, and a continuously shifting array of justice topics as they emerge (“criminal justice” system abuses, community justice projects, indigenous persons’ rights, governing abuses, and more). Michael maintains an active publishing schedule. Recent books include, Talking Criminal Justice: Language and the Just Society (Routledge 2013) and Seeing Crime: Penal Abolition as the End of Utopian Criminal Justice (forthcoming 2021). Recent articles include, “Penal Abolition and the State: Colonial, Racial and Gender Violences” (Contemporary Justice Review 2017) and “Transgression and Standard Theory: Contributions toward Penal Abolition” (Critical Criminology 2018).

Portrait of Michael J. Coyle, PhD