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Photo of Nguyen, Nicole

Nicole Nguyen

Associate Professor

Criminology, Law, & Justice

Educational Policy Studies


Building & Room:

3406 ETMSW


1040 W. Harrison St. (MC 147), Chicago, IL 60607

Office Phone:

(312) 996-5660


Nicole Nguyen (she/her) is associate professor of criminology, law, & justice and educational policy studies. She also is a 2022 Soros Justice Fellow. As a feminist geographer, Nicole ethnographically investigates the intersections of national security, war, and US public schooling. This research agenda contributes to, and draws on, grassroots struggles challenging racialized policing, war, and empire, particularly in collaboration with community organizations like Vigilant Love. Nicole teaches classes on the school-prison nexus, alternatives to incarceration, and qualitative writing. From 2018 to 2022, she led the College's Creating Cultural Competencies initiative, which included curricula and teacher workshops related to countering anti-Muslim racism in schools and classrooms. With Dan Cohen and Alice Huff, she co-created the Critical Geographies of Education specialty group of the American Association of Geographers (AAG), which works to promote, organize, and advance critical geographic explorations of education and schooling; support the scholarly growth of critical geographers of education; and contribute to social movements related to struggles over schooling.



2014 - PhD, Syracuse University, Cultural Foundations of Education

2010 - MA, New York University, International Education/Education in Emergencies

2008 - BA, Syracuse University, English Education and English & Textual Studies



Nguyen, N. (2016). A curriculum of fear: Homeland security in US public schoolsMinneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Nguyen, N. (2019). Suspect communities: Anti-Muslim racism and the domestic war on terror. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Nguyen, N. (2023). Terrorism on Trial: Political Violence and Abolitionist Futures. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.


Refereed Articles 

Book Chapters

Other Publications

  • Nguyen, N. (2022). Published roundtable: Police reform in global perspective. In conversation with Mara Revkin (Duke University), Hayal Akarsu (Utrecht University), Monica Bell (Yale Law School), Joanna Gilmore (University of York), Akwasi Owusu-Bempah (University of Toronto), Omar Sirri (University of Toronto), and Alex Vitale (CUNY Graduate Center). New York, NY: The Century Foundation.
  • Nguyen, N. (2022). Published roundtable: Studies of policing should extend to communities and across borders. In conversation with Hayal Akarsu (Utrecht University) and Alex Vitale (CUNY Graduate Center). New York, NY: The Century Foundation.

Invited Book Reviews

Academic Interviews

(2021). Collective Intellectualities podcast (Philosophy of Education Society of Australia), Security, geopolitics, and education (research interview).

(2020). Europe Now (journal by the Council for European Studies, issue 34), Putting the ‘critical’ in geographies of education: An interview with Dan Cohen, Alice Huff, and Nicole Nguyen.


(2022). We Act Radio, Conversations toward repair: Surveillance and fear-fueled 'safety' demands (media interview).

(2022). Wallet Hub, 2022's states with the best and worst education systems (media interview).

(2022). Kerning Cultures podcast, Operation Boulder (media interview).

(2021). New Books podcast, Suspect communities: Anti-Muslim racism and the domestic war on terror (book interview).

(2021). Truthout, 20 years after Patriot Act, surveillance of Arabs and Muslims is relentless (news interview).

(2021). NowThis Politics, The Department of Homeland Security, explained (media interview).

(2021). Wallet Hub, States with the most and least equitable schools.

(2021). South Side Weekly. Private eyes. (media interview).

(2021). Jadaliyya, Including Arab Americans in the Biden administration is not enough (media interview).

(2021). Citations Needed podcast, The house always wins: How crisis narratives enrich the security and carceral state (research interview).

(2020). Against the Grain, KPFA radio, Community-level counterterrorism (book interview).

(2020) Chicago Reporter, As Trump relaunches Countering Violent Extremism, records on past Illinois program reveal links to FBI, law enforcement (news interview and background research).

(2020). Wallet Hub, States with the best and worst schools (news interview)

(2020). Chicago Reporter, Bernie Sanders endorses former head of controversial state counterterrorism program (news interview)

(2020). Rising Up with Sonali, KPFA radio, Suspect communities: Anti-Muslim racism and the domestic war on terror (book interview)

(2019). Vice, 2020 candidates want to fund a program used to surveil Muslims on social media (news interview)

(2019). Chicago Reporter, Report: Illinois’ Countering Violent Extremism programs struggle to gain community partners (news interview)

(2019). WBEZ Worldview, Do anti-extremism tactics harm Muslim and Arab communities? (news interview)

(2018). Chicago Reader, The problem with the ‘public health’ approach to ideological violence. (news interview)

(2017). In These Times, We can't fight Trump-style hate with the surveillance state (news interview)

(2017). Chicago Tonight, Chicago group opposing neo-Nazis planned to target jihadists, too (news interview)

(2017). Wallet Hub, 2017’s states with the most at-risk youth (news interview)

(2017). Chicago Tonight, Recruiting America’s future hackers – On Chicago’s west side (news interview)

(2017). Voice of America, US groups focused on ‘countering violent extremism’ still waiting for funds (news interview)

(2017). Chicago TonightIllinois agency awarded controversial counter-extremism grant (news interview)

(2017). Against the Grain, KPFA radio, book interview

(2016). The Majority Reportbook interview (interview begins at 13:25)

(2016). Rising Up with Sonali, KPFA radio, book interview

(2016). Pacific Standardbook feature with an interview

(2016). Alternetbook feature

(2016). New Books in Educationbook interview



(* indicates graduate students)



Globe Book Award, American Association of Geographers

Betty and Alfred McClung Lee Book Award honorable mention, Association of Humanist Sociology


Courses Taught

ED 200: Educational Policy Foundations

ED 373: Introduction to the School-Prison Nexus

EDPS 543: The Criminalization of Youth in Urban Schools

EDPS 572: Sociology of Education

EDPS 590: Writing a Qualitative Dissertation




(2022-present). CLJ curriculum committee member

(2022). Educational Policy Studies chair search committee member

(2018-2022). Social Foundations of Education doctoral program co-coordinator

(2018-2022). Department Executive Committee member

(2019-2020). Social Foundations of Education search committee chair

(2017). Policy Studies Doctoral Student Writing Group faculty advisor

(2016). Undergraduate Course Committee member

(2014-2015). Policy Studies Doctoral Student Reading Group faculty advisor


(2022-present). First-at-LAS, faculty fellow

(2021-present). Faculty Senate, College of Education representative

(2019-present). Graduate Student Interest Group Urban Anthology faculty advisor

(2017-2022). Doctoral Program Steering Committee member

(2017-2022). College of Education 5-Day Doctoral Student Summer & Winter Writing Retreat faculty organizer

(2018). Student Writing Subcommittee member


(2018-present). Race and US Empire Working Group co-facilitator, Institute for the Humanities

(2021-present). Honors College Honors Council member

(2020-present). Graduate College Executive Committee member

(2017-present). Arab American Cultural Center advisory board member

(2016-2022). Asian American Resource and Cultural Center advisory board member

(2022). Campus Climate Survey Project taskforce member

(2018-2022). Chancellor's Committee on the Status of Asian Americans member

(2021). Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement Research Award review committee member

(2021; 2022). Sister Dorothy Drobis Award reviewer, Graduate College

(2020; 2022). Provost’s Graduate Research Award reviewer, Graduate College

(2020). Truman Scholarship reviewer, Graduate College

(2016-2017). Sawyer Seminar Working Group invited member


(2022-present). UIC United Faculty, bargaining team member

(2020-present). International Education Alumni Mentor Program mentor, New York University

(2019-present). Critical Geographies of Education Specialty Group secretary, American Association of Geographers

(2018-present). International Education Alumni Council ambassador, New York University

(2015-present). School of Education Board of Visitors invited member, Syracuse University

(2018-2019). Critical Geographies of Education Specialty Group co-chair, American Association of Geographers

(2017-2018). Annual Meeting Public Engagement Theme Organizing Committee, American Association of Geographers

(2017-2018). Critical Geographies of Education Specialty Group co-creator, American Association of Geographers


Vigilant Love, Steering Committee member


Political Geography

Educational Policy

Urban Education

Society & Space

Educational Studies

Curriculum Inquiry

Journal of Education Policy

Journal of International Relations and Development

Transformations: The Journal of Inclusive Scholarship and Pedagogy

Educational Policy Analysis Archives

Asia Pacific Journal of Education

IET Biometrics

Children's Geographies

Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space

Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space

Acta Sociologica

Children’s Geographies

Comparative Migration Studies

Geography Compass

Current Sociology

Critical Criminology

Critical Studies in Education


Educational Review


NYU Press


Cambridge University Press

West Virginia University Press

University of Georgia Press

West Virginia University Press


Professional Memberships

American Educational Research Association

American Association of Geographers

American Educational Studies Association

National Women's Studies Association

American Studies Association