Michelle Fine


Research Interests

  • Participatory Action Research and Studies of Social Injustice and Resistance
  • Urban Education


  • Ph.D. Columbia University

Michelle Fine is a Distinguished Professor of Critical Psychology, Women’s Studies, Social Welfare, American Studies and Urban Education at the Graduate Center, CUNY and founding faculty member of The Public Science Project, a university-community research space designed in collaboration with movements for racial and educational justice. In addition, I am humbled to be recognized as Professor Extraordinarius at the University of South Africa (UNISA) Psychology department, 2021 – 2024. As a scholar, expert witness in litigation, a teacher and an educational activist, my work centers theoretically and epistemically on questions of justice and dignity, privilege and oppression, and how solidarities emerge.

  I taught at the University of Pennsylvania from 1981 – 1991, and then came to the CUNY Graduate Center. I have served as an expert witness in a range of educational, racial and gender justice class action lawsuits including girls suing for access to Central High School in Philadelphia and The Citadel in South Carolina, students of color suing for racial equity in Wedowee Alabama, youth fighting for equitable financing and facilities in Williams v. State of California, and most recently a finance inequity lawsuit for the children of Baltimore.   

   With a rich international network of collaborators and activist scholar colleagues, I have spent time teaching and researching at the Institute for Maori Studies in Auckland, New Zealand; the Centre for Narrative Research at the University of East London; University of Witswatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa; Universidad Federal de Pernambuco, Brazil, and at the Euroclio Institute in Nicosia Cypress. 

    Across thirty years, key publications include many “classics” – books and articles on high school push outs, adolescent sexuality – called the “missing discourse of desire,” the national evaluation of the impact of college in prison, the struggles and strength of the children of incarcerated adults, the wisdom of Muslim American youth, as well as chapters and books on epistemic justice and critical participatory inquiry.

Author or co-author/editor or co-editor of more than 20 books, my most recent publications include:

Fine, M. (2017) Just research in contentious times : widening the methodological imagination.  New York: Teachers College Press.

Fabricant, M. and Fine, M. (2012) Charter Schools and the Corporate Makeover of Public Education. New York: Teachers College Press.

Sirin, S. and Fine, M. (2008) Muslim American Youth: Understanding Hyphenated identities through Multiple Methods. New York: New York University Press.

Fine, M., M. Torre, R. Roberts, J. Bloom, L. Chajet (2004) Echoes of Brown: Youth documenting and performing the legacy of Brown v. Board of Education. New York: Teachers College Press.

Fine, M., Torre, M., Boudin,K., Bowen, I., Clark, J., Hylton, D., Martinez, M., “Missy,”, Roberts, R., Smart, P. and Upegui, D. (2001) Changing Minds: The Impact of College in a Maximum Security Women’s Prison. www.publicscienceproject.com

Fine, M., Weis, L., Powell, L. and Burns, A. (2004) Off White: Essays on Power, Privilege and Resistance. New York: Routledge.

Fine, M. and Weis, L. (1998) The unknown city: The lives of poor and working-class youth adults.  Boston: Beacon Press.

Guinier, L., Fine, M. and Balin, J. (1994) Becoming Gentlemen: Women, law school and institutional change at an Ivy League Law School. Boston: Beacon Press.

Fine, M. (1991) Framing Dropouts: Notes on the Politics of a Public High School.  Albany: SUNY Press.

Asch, A. and Fine, M. (1988) Women with disabilities: Essays in psychology, culture and politics.  Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

I have been honored with a range of professional awards including Honorary Degrees from Bank Street College, Lewis and Clark, Stanford University and the Distinguished Alumni award from Teachers College Columbia, as well as lifetime achievement awards from the American Psychological Association and the American Educational Research Association.