Professor of Law (on leave), Dean Rutgers Graduate School-Newark
Taja-Nia Henderson
Rutgers Law School
S.I. Newhouse Center for Law and Justice
123 Washington Street
Newark, NJ 07102

Taja-Nia Henderson’s scholarship focuses on the historical impact of punishment regimes on property systems in the U.S. She is particularly interested in the legal histories of incarceration (including prisoner release and “reentry”) and chattel slavery. In 2016, she was a Fellow at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress.

  • Biography
  • Publications
  • Courses Taught
  • Expertise

Professor Henderson researches and writes on slavery, punishment, and the law.

After graduating law school, Professor Henderson served as the Derrick Bell Teaching Fellow in constitutional law at NYU School of Law and also clerked for the Hon. Consuelo B. Marshall, U.S. District Court, Central District of California. Before joining the Rutgers faculty in 2010, Professor Henderson was an associate in the litigation group of Arnold & Porter LLP in New York, where her practice included commercial litigation and pro bono civil rights advocacy. 

Professor Henderson’s work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Iowa Law Review, N.Y.U. Law Review, Stanford Journal of Civil Rights & Civil Liberties, Lewis & Clark L. Rev., Chicago-Kent Law Review, Columbia J. of Race & Law, the Maryland Law Journal of Race, Religion, Gender and Class, and the Law & History Review. 

Her research has been supported by fellowships and grants from the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, the American Philosophical Society, and others. She was previously a fellow at the J. Willard Hurst Summer Institute in Legal History at the University of Wisconsin. Since 2010, Professor Henderson has organized and facilitated the Rutgers Reentry Roundtable, and she is a member of the steering committee for Newark Reentry Legal Services (ReLeSe). Professor Henderson is also a member of the board of directors of Practicing Attorneys for Law Students Program, Inc. Professor Henderson has been a visiting scholar at Beijing Jiaotong University (2014), and a Visiting Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School (2015). In 2013, the Rutgers–Newark Student Bar Association awarded Professor Henderson with the law school’s "Professor of the Year” award.

Professor Henderson received her A.B. from Dartmouth College, and her J.D., M.A., and Ph.D. from New York University. At NYU School of Law, she was a Dean’s Scholar, Senior Notes Editor of the N.Y.U. Law Review, and recipient of the Gary E. Moncrieffe Graduation Award.


Book Review of Appealing for Liberty: Freedom Suits in the South, 86 J. of Southern History 464 (2020)

#LivingWhileBlack: Blackness As Nuisance, 69 Am. L. Rev. 101 (2020) (with Jamila Jefferson-Jones)

Dignity Contradictions: Reconstruction as Restoration, 92 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 1135 (2018)

“I Shall Talk to My Own People”: The Intersectional Life and Times of Lutie A. Lytle, 102 Iowa L. Rev. 1983 (2017)

Property, Penality, and (Racial) Profiling, 12 Stanford J. of Civil Rights & Civil Liberties 177  (2016)

Teaching the Carceral Crisis: An Ethical and Pedagogical Imperative, 13 MARGINS (Maryland L. J. of Race, Religion, Gender and Class) 104 (2013)

The Ironic Promise of the Thirteenth Amendment for Offender Anti-Discrimination Law, 17 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 1141 (2013)

Book Review of Buried Lives: Incarcerated in Early America, 31 Law and History Rev. 484 (2013)

Racial Fortuity, Rights Sacrifice, and the Promise of Convergence in Prison and Policing Policy, 2 Colum. J. Race & L. Spec. Features __ (2012)

Review of Rogan, Mary, Prison Policy in Ireland: Politics, Penal-Welfarism and Political Imprisonment, Criminal Law Criminal Justice (CLCJ) Books, at (May 2012)

N.J. Should Ban Arrests From Job Applications, N.J. Star-Ledger, May 6, 2012 (op-ed)

New Frontiers in Fair Lending: Confronting Lending Discrimination Against Ex-Offenders, 80 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 1237 (October 2005)


Courses Taught
  • Civil Procedure
  • Legal History
  • Property