Michael Yarbrough

Michael Yarbrough

Michael Yarbrough
Assistant Professor
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Ph.D., Yale University (Sociology)

J.D., Yale Law School

B.A., University of Chicago (Sociology)


Michael W. Yarbrough is an Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY), where his teaching focuses on the Law & Society major. His research examines how law shapes the ways we understand interpersonal relationships, most especially the relationship of marriage. He is currently writing a book on South Africa, the only country in the world that has recently expanded marriage laws for two forms of marriage: same-sex marriages, and marriages under indigenous systems of African law. This project has received multiple awards, including the 2019 Law & Society Association Article Prize. Yarbrough also recently published the After Marriage Equality series, three co-edited volumes that examine how queer families, activism, and political priorities are changing after same-sex marriage. Yarbrough places a high priority on working with undergraduates, and he has received awards from John Jay for both teaching and service to students. With his Law & Society faculty colleagues, he helps facilitate the Legal Disruption Project, in which Law & Society students at John Jay will research how law disrupts people's lives throughout the NYC region. In 2019, Yarbrough was recognized by the CUNY Academy for the Humanities and Sciences as one of CUNY’s outstanding Assistant Professors. He holds a BA in sociology from the University of Chicago and a JD and a PhD in sociology from Yale. For more about Prof. Yarbroughs work, please visit his website at michaelyarbrough.net.

**In the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, Yarbrough and his Spring 2020 LWS 425 class published an op-ed in the New York Daily News about the pandemic's impact on CUNY students and their loved ones. For more information on the op-ed and subsequent press coverage, please see the 'In the Media' section below.

JJC Affiliations

Law & Society Major; Gender Studies Program

Course Taught

LWS 200: Introduction to Law & Society

LWS 225: Introduction to Research in Law & Society

LWS 425: Colloquium for Research in Law & Society

Scholarly Work

Edited Volumes
cover of Queer Families and Relationships After Marriage Equality cover of The Unfinished Queer Agenda After Marriagecover of Queer Activism After Marriage Equality
2018. Michael W. Yarbrough, Angela Jones, and Joseph Nicholas DeFilippis, eds. Queer Families and Relationships After Marriage Equality. New York: Routledge
2018. Angela Jones, Joseph Nicholas DeFilippis, and Michael W. Yarbrough, eds. The Unfinished Queer Agenda After Marriage Equality. New York: Routledge.
2018. Joseph Nicholas DeFilippis, Michael W. Yarbrough, and Angela Jones, eds. Queer Activism After Marriage Equality. New York: Routledge.
Click [preprint] links to access pre-publication manuscript versions for free.
2018. “Something Old, Something New: Same-Sex Marriage and Ongoing Struggles over African Marriage in South Africa.” Sexualities 21(7): 1092-1108. doi:10.1177/1363460717718507. [preprint]
2018. “Very Long Engagements: The Persistent Authority of Bridewealth in a Post-Apartheid South African Community.” Law & Social Inquiry 43(3): 647-77. doi:10.1111/lsi.12275. [Winner, Law & Society Association Article Prize, 2019] [preprint]
2015. “Toward a Political Sociology of Conjugal-Recognition Regimes: Gendered Multiculturalism in South African Marriage Law.” Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society 22(3): 456-94. doi:10.1093/sp/jxv016. [preprint]

Honors and Awards

Law & Society Association Article Prize, 2019

Henry Wasser Award for Outstanding CUNY Assistant Professors, CUNY Academy of Humanities & Sciences, 2019

Distinguished Faculty Service to Students Award, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 2019

Distinguished Teaching Prize, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 2015

Marvin B. Sussman Dissertation Prize, Yale Sociology Department, 2014

Area of Expertise

Most requested topics by media

Women / Gender Justice

Faculty Expertise: topics/keywords

Law & Society; Marriage and Family; Sexuality, Gender, and Race; Queer Studies; Post-Colonial Studies; Legal Pluralism; Cultural Sociology; Political Sociology; Undergraduate Research Pedagogy; African Studies
In The Media


Yarbrough, Michael W. and John Jay Law & Society Research Colloquium. "What CUNY teaches us about the coronavirus, and vice versa." New York Daily News, April 17. [Appears under my sole byline due to NYDN policy, but this was a joint venture with my Spring 2020 LWS 425 class.]

Robin, Corey. "The pandemic is the time to resurrect the public university." The New Yorker, May 7. [Features research performed by my Spring 2020 LWS 425 class on deaths of CUNY affiliates during the COVID-19 pandemic.]

Touré, Madina. "CUNY pressed to release more data on coronavirus-related deaths." POLITICO, May 8. [Quoted about failure of CUNY to release reliable data on deaths of CUNY affiliates during the COVID-19 pandemic.]

Online Presence
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