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Gwen Jordan, JD, PhD

Chair, Undergraduate Justice and Legal Programs and Professor

BA, University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign; MA, University of Illinois Chicago; JD, University of Denver College of Law; PhD, University of Illinois Chicago

Gwen Jordan, JD, PhD, is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Justice and Legal Studies Department. She teaches courses in law and justice, including courses on wrongful convictions. Dr. Jordan joined the faculty at Bay Path University in August 2020, after working for 9 years as an assistant, and then associate, professor at the University of Illinois Springfield, where she also served as Chair of the Legal Studies Department. Additionally, Dr. Jordan held a part-time staff attorney appointment with the Illinois Innocence Project, where she represented individuals who were wrongfully convicted, led policy reform initiatives to reduce wrongful convictions, and trained police cadets on the causes of wrongful convictions and best practices.

Jordan’s scholarship focuses on the history of women lawyers and their local, national and international social justice activism; issues of gender, race, and law; and critical race theory. Her current work is on the transnational coalitions of women lawyers of color in shaping the new world order during the mid-twentieth century. She additionally analyzes issues of race identity, African-American women lawyers’ civil rights activism throughout the twentieth century, and the strategies women lawyers of color developed to overcome the intersection of race and gender discrimination in the legal system.

Dr. Jordan earned her MA in Criminal Justice and her PhD in History from the University of Illinois Chicago, where she was awarded the UIC Dean’s Scholar Award and received an American Association of University Women Educational Foundation American Dissertation Fellowship. She earned her JD from the University of Denver College of Law. She was the Legal History Fellow at the Institute for Legal Studies, University of Wisconsin Law School, and in the spring semester of 2016, Jordan was a visiting fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London. She also won a National Award Certificate of Commendation as curator of the exhibition Bar None: 125 Years of Women Lawyers in Illinois and was Co-Chair of the Chicago Bar Association Alliance for Women. In addition to her academic experience, she spent five years as a Deputy District Attorney in Colorado.

Recent Publications:

"'We must forget every difference and unite in a common cause – Votes For Women':
Lessons from the woman suffrage movement," in ConLawNOW (forthcoming).

"A Woman of Strange, Unfathomable Presence": Ida Platt’s Lived Experience of Race, Gender, and Law, 1863-1939," in Harvard Journal of Law and Gender volume 42:1 (Winter 2019) 219.

"'After Mature Deliberation': Women Lawyers' Infiltration of the 1893 World Columbian Exposition," in WOMAN IN INTERNATIONAL AND UNIVERSAL EXHIBITIONS 1876-1937, Myriam Boussahba-Bravard and Rebecca Rogers, eds. (London: Routledge, 2018).

"'Trying to bail the ocean with a sieve': Women Lawyers and the Fight between the ERA and the Sex Disqualification Removal Amendment, 1939-1957," Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies, 38, no. 2 (2017) 81.

"Contemporary Perspectives on Wrongful Conviction: An Introduction to the 2016 Innocence Network Conference, San Antonio, Texas," Hofstra Law Review 45, no. 2 (Winter 2016): 365 (co-authored with Aliza B. Kaplan, Valena Beety, and Keith A. Findley).

"How the Feminine Mystique Played in Peoria: Who is Betty Friedan?" History of Women in the Americas 3 (2015).

"Radical Women and the Development of Legal Aid Societies in Chicago and Los Angeles, 1886-1914," The Journal of Gender, Race and Justice, 18, no.1 (Winter 2015) 65.

"How 30 Women Changed the Course of the Nation’s Legal and Social History: Commemorating the First National Meeting of Women Lawyers in America," The Circuit Rider (November, 2013) 23-27. (PDF)

"Engendering the History of Race and International Relations: The Career of Edith Sampson, 1927-1978," Chicago-Kent Law Review 87, no. 2 (2012) 521.

"' Them Law Wimmin': Grassroots Lawyering and the Protective Agency for Women and Children," in FEMINIST LEGAL HISTORY: RECOVERING THE PAST, RECLAIMING THE FUTURE, Tracy Thomas and TJ Boisseau, eds., (New York University Press, 2011).

"Agents of Incremental Change: From Myra Bradwell to Hillary Clinton" Nevada Law Journal 9, no. 3 (Spring 2009): 580- 645.

"'Horror of a Woman': Myra Bradwell, the Fourteenth Amendment, and the Gendered Origins of Sociological Jurisprudence" Akron Law Review 42, no. 4 (2009): 1201-1244.