Department of Ethnic Studies - College of Letters and Science - University of California, Berkeley

People / Faculty

Lecturers Faculty

Thomas Fleming

U.C. Berkeley Chancellor's Public Scholar
Comparative Ethnic Studies


  • 522 Barrows
  • Mondays 5-6 pm at Free Speech Movement Cafe, and Upon Request


Bio & Research Interests

Thomas M. Fleming (JD, Yale; A.B. Sociology, U.C. Berkeley; A.B., Ethnic Studies, U.C. Berkeley) currently teaches a couple of courses in the  Ethnic Studies Department and the Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies Department:   ES 144AC: Racism and U.S. Law, and AAADS 141: Law in the Asian American Community.  ES 144AC fulfills U.C. Berkeley’s American Culture breadth requirement.  Thomas was also recently appointed as a U.C. Berkeley Chancellor’s Public Scholar.  His research interests include critically examining the following:  (1) the profound role of law and legal institutions in shaping and defining racial minority and majority communities; (2) the question of the definition and meaning of race in U.S. society (e.g., whether race is biological, cultural, environmental, based on white supremacy, or a social construct that is constantly being transformed); (3) the connection between law and race, both in the historical context and in modern society; (4) the connection between law and race in different analytical frameworks, including through the lenses of four major schools of thought on law and race (i.e., neoconservative, liberal, critical legal studies, and critical race theory); and, (5) how law might be used and abused in the future to curtail or deny the rights of racial groups.  Thomas majored in Ethnic Studies and Sociology as a Berkeley undergraduate.  Thomas not only teaches here at U.C. Berkeley, but also served as a Deputy Public Defender representing indigent clients in the criminal justice system for over two decades.  He currently provides criminal defense representation in select cases in the criminal justice system.