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  • Joint Ph.D., Sociology and Criminal Justice, Indiana University, Bloomington
  • M.A., Criminal Justice, Indiana University, Bloomington
  • B.A., Law, Nanjing University, China

Ke Li is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the John Jay College, part of the City University of New York. Her research focuses on law and society, power and inequality, gender relationships and politics in non-democratic contexts. After receiving a joint Ph.D. in sociology and criminal justice at Indiana University, Bloomington, Li published journal articles as well as an award-winning book, Marriage Unbound: State Law, Power, and Inequality in Contemporary China (Stanford University Press 2022).

Drawing on extensive archival and ethnographic data, paired with unprecedented access to Chinese courtrooms, Marriage Unbound shows how women’s legal mobilization and rights contention can forge new ground for our understanding of law and politics, culture and the state, and power and inequality in an authoritarian state. In 2023, this book garnered awards from several academic associations, including the Law and Society Association, the American Sociological Association, the American Political Science Association, and the Asian Law and Society Association.

In recent years, Li has branched out into new research areas. In collaborating with colleagues in mainland China, she has been building a project to examine LGBTQ activism and impact litigation in Chinese society. This project will shed new light on the ways LGBTQ groups mobilize networks of experts, such as academics, medical professionals, lawyers, journalists, and NGO leaders, to contest not only individual rights, but public knowledge of sexualities, families, and equal employment opportunity.

JJC Affiliations
Law and Society Program
Courses Taught
  • LWS200 Introduction to Law and Society
  • LWS225 Introduction to Research Methods in Law and Society 
  • LWS385 Legal Disruption Project 
  • LWS425 Colloquium for Research in Law and Society