Area of Expertise
Clinical Education; Prison Litigation/Prisoners’ Rights; Community Development Law; Gender Law; Business Law; Civil Rights; Constitutional Law; Criminal Law and Procedure; Employment Discrimination Law; Housing Law
Brenda V. Smith is the Senior Associate Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs and professor at the American University Washington College of Law where she is the Co-Director of the Community Economic Development Law Clinic. Professor Smith is also the Director of the Project on Addressing Prison Rape. In 1993, Professor Smith was awarded the Kellogg National Leadership Fellowship and, in 1998, inducted into the D.C. Women’s Hall of Fame for her work on behalf of low-income women and children. In November 2003, Professor Smith was appointed to the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission by the United States House of Representatives Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Prior to Professor Smith’s faculty appointment at the Washington College of Law, she was the Senior Counsel for Economic Security at the National Women's Law Center and Director of the Center's Women in Prison Project and Child and Family Support Project from 1988 to 1998. Professor Smith is a 1984 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and 1980 a magna cum laude graduate of Spelman College. Professor Smith’s scholarly work and writing focuses on the intersections of gender, crime and sexuality. She is widely published and has received the Emmalee C. Godsey Research Award and the Pauline Ruyle Moore Award for her scholarship. Publications include Battering, Forgiveness and Redemption, 12 AM. U. J. GENDER SOC. POLICY & L. 1, 921 (2003); Rethinking Prison Sex: Self -Expression and Safety, Symposium on Sexuality and the Law, 15 COLUM. J. GENDER & L. 185 (2006); Sexual Abuse of Women in Prison: A Modern Corollary of Slavery, 33 FORDHAM URB. L.J. 571 (2006); Uncomfortable Places, Close Spaces: Theorizing Female Correctional Officers’ Sexual Interactions with Men and Boys in Custody, 59 UCLA L. REV. 1690 (2012); Boys, Rape and Masculinity, Reclaiming Male Narrative of Sexual Violence in Custody, 29 N.C. L. REV. 1559 (2015); and Stories of Teaching Race, Gender, and Class: A Narrative, 51 WASH. U. J. L. & POLICY 01 (2016); Commentary, Dothard v. Rawlinson, 433 U.S. 321 (1977), Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Opinions of the United States Supreme Court, Cambridge Press (2016). Relevant speaking engagements include the 2016 McClure Lecture at the University of Mississippi, the Convening on Women and Girls in the Criminal Justice System in June 2016 at the White House.