Full-Time Faculty

Sheldon Bernard Lyke

Assistant Professor of Law
Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Whittier College (courtesy)

Ph.D., Sociology, University of Chicago
J.D., Northwestern University School of Law
A.B., Sociology, Princeton University

Contact Information

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Tel. 714.444.4141 ext. 211
Fax. 714.444.1854
Building Two, Room 211

Sheldon Bernard Lyke is an Assistant Professor at Whittier Law School where he teaches Property and Wills & Trusts. Professor Lyke uses empirical methods, comparative law, and property theory to study the role of law and its institutions in the stratification of marginalized people He particularly studies racial and sexual minorities in a comparative context. At the heart of his scholarship is a desire to identify the social collective action problems associated with shared resources (i.e., commons) and understand their links to oppression. His dissertation project examined cosmopolitanism and how foreign high court judges use and share foreign legal authority in their civil and human rights decisions. Professor Lyke’s current research explores anti-affirmative action practices in higher education as a shared commons problem. His work is increasingly observing commons property law institutions (e.g., charitable trusts, estates, and organizations) and their role in creating and ameliorating social inequality.

Professor Lyke has extensive research and teaching experience in the areas of law, society, race, and sexuality. In 2011, he was appointed as the inaugural Dorr Legg Law and Policy Fellow by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law. Before joining the faculty at Whittier, he was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Northwestern University School of Law where he taught Critical Race Theory and Law & Society. Additionally, he has taught a variety of law and social science courses at Saint Xavier University, Columbia College Chicago, and the Illinois Institute of Technology. At the University of Chicago, he served as a Lecturer and taught: Race as Property, Contemporary Global Issues, and Sexuality & Human Rights. The latter course was made possible after winning the 2003 University of Chicago Human Rights Lectureship. Before completing his Ph.D., he received a JD from Northwestern University School of Law and his AB cum laude in Sociology from Princeton University.


Trusts and Estates (casebook) (Chartacourse, 2015)


  • Why Malia and Sasha Obama Need Affirmative Action, presented at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Law and Society Association, New Orleans, Massachusetts, June 2016.
  • Affirmative Action as Cure, Justice Scalia as Savior?, presented at the SoCal Junior Faculty Workshop. Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law, October, 2015.
  • The Thirty-Five Year Conservative Colorblind Campaign Gutting Affirmative Action in America, presented at the University of Chicago Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows Workshop, June 2013.
  • Diversity as Commons, presented at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Law and Society Association, Boston, Massachusetts, June 2013.
  • Racism and Citation to Foreign Law, presented at “Globalization and Race” Fourth Annual Spring 2013 Symposium of the Notre Dame Journal of International and Comparative Law at Notre Dame Law School, February 2013.
  • Marginality as Commons, presented at The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law. November 2011.
  • Blackness as Anti-Property, presented at the University of Chicago, Reproduction of Race and Racial Ideologies Workshop of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture. October 2011.
  • Towards a Conceptualization of Cosmopolitan Courts, presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association. August 2007.