Kelly K. Richter

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Assistant Professor

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Kelly K. Richter, Ph.D., Esq., is a Term Assistant Professor at the Schar School whose teaching focuses on the undergraduate Legal Studies curriculum.

Richter earned her Ph.D. in History from Stanford University in 2015, with a specialization in modern U.S. political and policy history, and her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 2018, where she was a Public Interest Fellow. She is an honors graduate of the University of Chicago and a Washington, D.C. native.

At Stanford, Richter taught undergraduate courses on recent California political history and U.S. immigration politics and policy and was recognized for her student mentoring. She was a National Fellow in-residence at the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, a Dissertation Fellow in-residence at Stanford’s Research Institute for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, and an affiliated researcher of Stanford’s Bill Lane Center for the American West, and she won competitive university research and writing grants.

Richter brings knowledge and insight to the Schar School from her professional experiences in Washington, D.C. spanning public policy and public interest law. She previously worked on legislation and government oversight in the U.S. Congress, including serving as Legislative Counsel to U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) for immigration and the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. Prior to the Hill, she worked in immigration policy advocacy. As a licensed attorney, Richter has represented local low-income immigrant clients in asylum and detention matters before the immigration courts and aided them to seek various administrative benefits. During law school further, she assisted attorneys with civil rights and employment litigation and was a research assistant for the Georgetown Federal Legislation Clinic, among other activities.

Richter has presented her research and policy work at interdisciplinary academic and policy conferences nationwide. She is finalizing a book manuscript intended for academic press publication, based in part off her Ph.D. dissertation. Provisionally entitled Manufacturing a Political Crisis: Backlash Towards Latino Unauthorized Immigration in Modern America, the book offers an approachable narrative history explaining how Latino unauthorized immigration became a political crisis in the U.S. over the past half century – a process much deeper, more complex, and longer in invention than most policymakers understand.

Research Areas: U.S. Politics and Legal Studies, Social Policy, Immigration, Race and Ethnicity, Recent U.S. History, American Political Development, Federalism, Legislation, Government Oversight, Administrative Law, Public Interest Law, Immigration and Asylum Law

Areas of Research

  • U.S. Politics and Legal Studies
  • Social Policy
  • Regional Expertise – United States