Professor of Law


  • Office: 120 Tremont St.,
  • Suite: 410-D
  • Phone: 617-573-8155
  • Fax: 617-305-3223
  • Email:


  • BA, University of Toronto
  • LLB, University of Ottawa
  • LLM, Columbia University


  • Contracts
  • Criminal Law
  • Comparative Criminal Law
  • Legal Professions
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Critical Race Theory
  • Sports Law Ethics
  • Transnational Law


Dean Nelson brings to Suffolk Law outstanding scholarship, a deep love of teaching, and a longstanding commitment to public service and the pursuit of social justice.

Before joining Suffolk Law, Dean Nelson served as Professor of Law at Hofstra Law School. From 2000 to 2009, she was a member of the faculty of Saint Louis University School of Law, where she was named Faculty Member of the Year in 2004 and received the Faculty Excellence Award in 2006. She also was a visiting professor at Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, where she became the Dean’s Scholar in Residence.

Following her undergraduate education at the University of Toronto, Dean Nelson received her law degree from the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law and went on to receive a Master of Laws from Columbia Law School in New York. She clerked for Justice Frank Iacobucci of the Supreme Court of Canada before working as an associate at McCarthy Tetrault in Toronto, the largest law firm in Canada.

Dean Nelson is a member of the American Law Institute and is widely recognized for her writings and lectures, which have focused on the intersection of critical race theory and cultural studies with particular focus on criminal law and procedure, health law, and comparative law.

Professional Activities

Member, American Law Institute, 2010; Executive Committee AALS Section on the Law School Dean, Editorial Board, Law and Society Review, 2009; Board of Governors, Society of American Law Teachers (SALT); National Steering Committee, National People of Color Legal Scholarship Conferences; International Scientific Committee, International Academy of Law and Mental Health, 2005-08; Member Planning Committee, Northeast People of Color Legal Scholarship Conferences, 2001-07.



RACISM EH? A CRITICAL INTER-DISCIPLINARY ANTHOLOGY OF RACE AND RACISM IN CANADA (Toronto, Canada: Captus Press, 2004) Co-edited anthology with Dr. Charmaine Nelson

Book Chapters

Lyrical Assault: Dancehall versus the Cultural Imperialism of the North-West (revised reprint), in Donald Tibbs and Andre Cummings, eds., HIP HOP AND THE LAW: THE KEY WRITINGS THAT FORMED THE MOVEMENT (Carolina Academic Press, forthcoming 2014)

Colonial Optics: Dancehall and Legal Imperatives against the "Unnatural", in Martha Fineman and Michael Thomson, eds., EXPLORING MASCULINITIES: FEMINIST LEGAL THEORY REFLECTIONS (Ashgate, UK, 2013)

Sexuality Without Borders: Exploring the Paradoxical Connection Between Dancehall and Colonial Law in Jamaica, in Frank Rudy Cooper and Ann C. McGinley, eds., MASCULINITIES AND THE LAW: A MULTIDIMENSIONAL APPROACH (New York Univ. Press, 2012)

Love at the Margins: The Racialization of Sex and the Sexualization of Race, in Kevin Noble Maillard and Rose Cuizon Villazor, eds., LOVING V. VIRGINIA IN A POST-RACIAL WORLD: RETHINKING RACE, SEX, AND MARRIAGE (Cambridge University Press, 2012)

Reflection Essay, Educating Women Lawyers: Students, Professors, and Deans, in Hon. Patti Saris and Hon. Margot Botsford, eds., BREAKING THE BARRIERS: THE UNFINISHED STORY OF WOMEN LAWYERS AND JUDGES IN MASSACHUSETTS (Boston, MA: MCLE, 2012)


Racializing Disability, Disabling Race: Policing Race and Mental Status, 15 BERKELEY J. CRIM L. 1 (2010)

Racial Paradox and Eclipse: Obama as a Balm for What Ails Us, 86 DENV. U. L. REV. 743 (2009)

The Radical King: Perspectives of One Born in the Shadow of a King, 32 N.Y.U. REV. L. & SOC. CHANGE 485 (2009)

Batson, O.J., and Snyder: Lessons from an Intersecting Trilogy, 93 IOWA L. REV. 1687 (2008)

Lyrical Assault: Dancehall Versus the Cultural Imperialism of the North-West, 17 S. CAL. INTERDISC. L.J. 231 (2008) SSRN Top Ten download for Music, October 7, 2009 & November 30, 2010

Lovin' the Man: Examining the Nexus of Irony, Hypocrisy, and Curiosity, 2007 WIS. L. REV. 543 (2007)

American Husbandry: Legal Norms Impacting the Production of (Re)Productivity, 19 YALE J.L. & FEMINISM 1 (2007) Lead Article

Multicultural Feminism: Assessing Systemic Fault in a Provocative Context, 17 U. FLA. J.L. & PUB. POL'Y 263 (2006)

Starting Anew: The ADA's Disability with Respect to Episodic Mental Illness, 75 MISS. L.J. 1039 (2006)

Of Eggshells and Thin-Skulls: A Consideration of Racism-Related Mental Illness Impacting Black Women, 29 INT'L J. L. & PSYCH. 112 (2006)

Considering Tortious Racism, 9 DEPAUL J. HEALTH CARE L. 905 (2005)

Consistently Revealing the Inconsistencies: The Construction of Fear in the Criminal Law, 48 ST. LOUIS U. L.J. 1261 (2004)

Carriers of Globalization: Loss of Home and Self Within the African Diaspora, 55 FLA. L. REV. 539 (2003)

Breaking the Camel's Back: A Consideration of Mitigatory Criminal Defenses and Racism-Related Mental Illness, 9 MICH. J. RACE & L. 77 (2003)

(En)Raged or (En)Gaged: The Implications of Racial Context to the Provocation Defense, 35 U. RICH. L. REV. 1007 (2002) excerpts reprinted in Cynthia Lee, MURDER AND THE REASONABLE MAN: PASSION AND FEAR IN THE CRIMINAL COURTROOM, New York University Press (2003); excerpts reprinted in Lee & Harris, CRIMINAL LAW: CASES AND MATERIALS, Thomson/West (2005).