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Erin Sheley

Erin Sheley

Professor of Law
Associate Dean for Research

(619) 525-1698
Dean's Office


Prof. Sheley’s research considers how the law should account for subjective narratives in evaluating criminal and tort harm, particularly in the areas of sexual assault and white-collar crime. Drawing on her doctoral work on narrative and cultural memory, she combines insights from the fields of psychology, narrative studies, and sociology to make the case that the narrative aspects of harm ought to play a more consistent role in shaping civil and criminal liability, procedure, evidentiary rules, and remedies. Her work has appeared in the Duke Law Journal, the Wake Forest Law Review, the Indiana Law Journal, the North Carolina Law Review, and the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, among others. Her book, Criminality and the Common Law Imagination in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, has been published by Edinburgh University Press.

Prof. Sheley joined the School of Law in 2020. Before coming to CWSL she was an Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Law and an Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary Faculty of Law. She has also served as a Visiting Associate Professor at the George Washington University Law School and an Olin-Searle Fellow at Georgetown University Law Center. Prior to academia she practiced for several years in the litigation group of the Washington, D.C. offices of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. While in practice she was commended by the Humane Society of the United States for her pro bono work in the prosecution of dog fighting sponsors. She is proud to have served on the Board of Directors of the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society.

  • JD, Harvard Law School
  • PhD (English), George Washington University
  • AB, Harvard College
  • White Collar Crime
  • Evidence
  • Criminal Procedure

Visit Professor Sheley’s SSRN Author Page


  • Erin Sheley, Criminality and the Common Law Imagination in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries (Edinburgh University Press, April 2020).

Law Reviews

  • "Self-Defense and Political Rage," Texas A&M Law Review (2024)
  • "The Purloined Debtor: Edgar Allan Poe's Bankruptcy in Law and Letters" (with Zvi Rosen), Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities (2023)
  • "The Dignitary Confrontation Clause," Washington Law Review (2022)
  • "Reconceiving Coercion-Based Defenses" (with Stephen Galoob), Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (2022).
  • “Criminalizing Coercive Control Within the Limits of Due Process,” 70 Duke Law Journal 1321 (2021).
  • “Tort Answers to the Problem of Corporate Criminal Mens Rea,” 97 North Carolina Law Review 773 (2019).
  • “A Broken Windows Theory of Sexual Assault Enforcement,” 108 Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 101 (2018).
  • “Victim Impact Statements and Expressive Punishment in the Age of Social Media,” 52 Wake Forest Law Review 157 (2017) (reprinted in Women and the Law (Thomson Reuters, 2018 ed.)).
  • “Substantive and Procedural Silence,” 84 Tennessee Law Review 447 (2017).
  • “Prospective Injunctive Relief and Class Action Settlements” (with Theodore Frank), 39 Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy 769 (2016).
  • “Rethinking Injury: the Case of Informed Consent,” 2015 BYU Law Review 63.
  • “Perceptual Harm and the Corporate Criminal,” 81 University of Cincinnati Law Review 225 (2013).
  • “Reverberations of the ‘Victim’s Voice’: Victim Impact Statements and the Cultural Project of Punishment,” 87 Indiana Law Journal 1247 (2012).
  • "The Constable’s Blunder and Other Stories: Narrative Representations of the Police and the Criminal in the Development of the Fourth Amendment Exclusionary Rule,” 2010 Michigan State Law Review 121.
  • “Live Animals: Towards Protection for Pets and Livestock in Contracts for Carriage,” 3 Journal of Animal Law 59 (2007).
  • Comment, “Threats in the Line of Duty: Police Officers and the First Amendment in State v. Valdivia and Connecticut v. DeLoreto,” 28 Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 307 (2004).

Invited Symposium Articles

  • “Victim Impact Statements and Corporate Sex Crimes,” Oklahoma Law Review (forthcoming 2020).
  • “Victim Impact Statements at Canadian Corporate Sentencing,” Manitoba Law Journal (forthcoming 2020).

Peer-Reviewed Journals and Book Chapters

  • “Adultery, Criminality, and the Fiction of the King’s Body,” in Fictional Discourse and the Law (Routledge, 2020).
  • Review of Colin Manlove’s George MacDonald’s Children’s Fantasies and the Divine Imagination, 45 Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 182 (2020).
  • “Adultery, Criminality, and the Myth of English Sovereignty,” 14 Law, Culture, and the Humanities 501 (2018).
  • Convicta et Combusta: Walter Scott’s Condemned Woman, the Chivalric Tradition, and Historical Legitimacy,” in Impassioned Jurisprudence: Law, Literature, and Emotion (Bucknell University Press, 2015).
  •  “The Condemned Woman as Historical Relic,” 24 Law and Literature 211 (2014).
  • Gone with the Wind and the Trauma of Lost Sovereignty,” 45 Southern Literary Journal 1 (Spring 2013).
  • “Reciprocal Colonization in the Fairy Tales of Lord Dunsany,” 31 Mythlore 105 (Fall/Winter 2012).
  • “The Law of Nature or Nature’s God? Penal Authority in Charles Kingsley’s The Water Babies,” 37 Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 133 (Summer 2012).
  • “Demolished Worlds: Manfred and Sublime (Un)Burial,” 40 Byron Journal 51 (June 2012).
  • “Re-Imagining Olympus: The Creative Mythologies of John Keats,” 45 Romanticism on the Net (Feb. 2007).
  • “From Eden to Eternity: The Timescales of Genesis in George MacDonald’s ‘The Golden Key’ and Lilith,” 29 Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 329 (Winter 2004).