Amber J Powell

Amber Joy is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Minnesota. Her current research interests include law, punishment, racialized gendered violence, and youth justice. She is also a former Sexual Assault Survivor Advocate volunteer in Milwaukee, WI. Her prior research (with Heather Hlavka and Sameena Mulla) draws on ethnographic observations to examine how legal actors construct narratives of credibility in child sexual assault jury trials across systems of race, gender, age, and sexuality. She has also worked with Michelle Phelps and Christopher Robertson, exploring how North Minneapolis residents, activists, and law enforcement officials understand police reform. As the 2020-2022 American Bar Foundation Law & Inequality Fellow and Ruth Peterson Fellow, her dissertation explores youth's, advocates', and correctional personnel's constructions of sexual victimization and coercion in youth confinement. Amber Joy is also a regular contributor to The Society Pages, writing on a range of topics including sexual assault, prisoner reentry, and racial disparities among youth of color. You can find her work in Gender & Society and The New Handbook of Political Sociology.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • BS: Criminology & Law Studies, Marquette University , Milwaukee, 2015.

Curriculum Vitae


  • Law, Crime & Punishment
  • Violence & Victimization
  • Black Feminist Theory
  • Critical Race Feminist Theory
Research & Professional Activities

Professional Activities

  • American Bar Foundation Fellow: September 2020 - September 2022
  • Ruth Peterson Fellow (American Society of Criminology): 2020 - 2021


  • Department Development Committee of the President's Initiative to Prevent Sexual Misconduct. Minneapolis, MN. University of Minnesota.: March 2018
  • Sexual Assault Survivor Advocate - Aurora Sinai: 2013 - 2015
  • Book Review: Jennifer Cobbina, Hands Up, Don’t Shoot: Why the Protests in Ferguson and Baltimore Matter and How they Changed America: Powell, Amber, Punishment & Society, 1-3, 2020. Link
  • Savelsberg, Joachim and Amber Joy Powell. 2020. “Political Systems and the Carceral State,” in Handbook of Political Sociology, 2nd edition, edited by Thomas Janoski, Isaac Martin, Joya Misra, and Cedric De Leon. Cambridge University Press.
  • Intersectionality and Credibility in Child Sexual Assault Trials: Powell, Amber, Heather Hlavka; Sameena Mulla, Gender & Society, 31(4) 457-480, 2017. Link
  • American Bar Foundation Law & Inequality Fellow, September 2020 - September 2022
  • Ruth Peterson Program Fellow, 2020 - 2021
  • Anna Welsch Bright Research Award, Department of Sociology, University of Minnesota. $2,000, 2019 - 2020
  • Beverly and Richard Fink Summer Fellowship ($4,000), 2016 - 2020
  • Ford Predoctoral Fellowship Honorable Mention, 2017