John Viola

headshot of John Viola

Contact Information

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Tuesday: 14:00-15:30
Thursday: 14:00-15:30


John Viola teaches at San Francisco State University and maintains a private criminal defense practice in the San Francisco Bay Area. He received his B.A. in American Studies at San Francisco State University and his Juris Doctorate at City University of New York School of Law. Before law school, he worked in numerous direct-action campaigns and remains active with social movements. As a lawyer, he has participated in legal support for the Global Justice movement, Direct Action to Stop the War, Oscar Grant 100, Occupy Oakland, Black Lives Matter, and Water Protectors at Standing Rock North Dakota. He is a former staff attorney at the Coalition on Homelessness and has collaborated with numerous local and national civil rights and legal services organizations including, the American Civil Liberties Union (NC), the Ella Baker Center, the Eviction Defense Collaborative, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights. He is an advisory member of the National Lawyers Guild’s local and national mass defense committees. Persistent collective action toward equality and liberation is at the heart of his professional and academic activities.  
Teaching Interest
John Viola has taught Criminal Procedure, Criminal Law, Legal Research and Writing, and Ethics in Criminal Justice. He uses a multi-disciplinary approach with an emphasis on critical theory and legal studies. He believes in a student-centered, cooperative approach to education.   
Research Interest
Representation, power, sub-alterity, and social change. Aesthetics of resistance, dissent, and social movements. Mass-Surveillance and authoritarianism.