Blanche Cook

Blanche Cook

Assistant Professor of Law

Room 3249

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(313) 577-9963

blanche.cook@wayne.edu

Blanche Cook

Biography

Blanche Cook joined Wayne State University Law School in fall semester 2014.

She earned her bachelor of arts degree at Vassar College and her law degree at the University of Michigan Law School. Her primary areas of expertise are appellate practice, criminal law and procedure, critical race theory, employment discrimination, evidence, federal courts, sex trafficking and trial advocacy.

Most recently, she served as an assistant U.S. attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, where she specialized in large-scale drug and sex-trafficking prosecutions. As a federal prosecutor, she has briefed and/or argued more than 40 federal appeals.

Professor Cook clerked for the Honorable Damon J. Keith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. She was also an associate at Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone in Detroit and Seyfarth Shaw in Chicago, where she specialized in employment discrimination, labor law, and sexual harassment litigation and prevention training. While a practicing attorney, she taught and/or lectured at American Baptist College and Vanderbilt University.

She has established herself as a leading expert on sex trafficking by problematizing the entire spectrum of sex-trafficking prosecutions and the commercialization and exploitation of women and girls. She is actively involved in shaping the emerging nationwide discourse on sex trafficking and victims' rights as it relates to evidentiary issues, race-class-gender profiling and sex-trafficking statutes. She writes in the areas of victims' rights, critical race theory, human rights, race and gender discrimination, criminal procedure, black feminist legal theory, womanist thought and the normative gaze of identity. Her current research trajectory focuses on a critical analysis of sex-trafficking prosecutions.

Her years of practice in the public and private sector inform her teaching philosophy and passion. Her mission is to deconstruct and make accessible the principles and practices of law in ways that are meaningful to students, not only for professional development, but also as a means of augmenting the role that advocacy plays within law and litigation.

Professor Cook is a frequent and sought-after speaker at workshops and conferences, and she is active in promoting community among critical legal scholars, critical race theorists, feminists and womanists in legal academia and beyond.

Degrees and Certifications

J.D., University of Michigan Law School
B.A., Vassar College

Courses Taught

Adjudications and Investigations
Criminal Law
Criminal Procedure
Critical Race Theory and Social Ethics
Race and the Law
Sex Trafficking and Citizenship

Accomplishments

  • Blanche Cook

    spoke at Yale Law School on Feb. 7. She discussed her forthcoming article in the Yale Journal of Law & Feminism, “Johnny and the WHP.”

  • Blanche Cook

    delivered a lecture titled, “Citizenship Transmission Laws and Property Right in Rape,” on Oct. 25 at Berkeley Law as part of the Henderson Center’s Scholar-in-Residence program.

  • Blanche Cook

    article, “Johnny Appleseed: Citizenship Transmission Laws and A White Heteropatriarchal Property Right In Philandering, Sexual Exploitation, And Rape (The ‘WHP’)” was accepted for publication in the Yale Journal of Law and Feminism.

  • Blanche Cook

    has been named a scholar in residence at the University of California Berkeley School of Law. During her stay in mid-October, Cook will deliver a series of lectures that address the ways in which the law creates vulnerability for the purpose of both labor and sexual exploitation.

  • Blanche Cook

    was a speaker at the “Perspectives on the #MeToo Movement” panel hosted by Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue in Detroit. The event focused on the #MeToo movement from three different areas: activism, media and law.

  • Blanche Cook

    co-led a plenary session titled “Liberal Arts Education as a Foundation for Pursuits of Justice” at The Oberlin College Design Your Purpose project. She discussed strategies and challenges of engaging the legal system for social change and justice through an introduction to critical race legal theory, exploration of selected case studies, and discussion of current events.

  • Blanche Cook

    was on a panel discussing gendered violence at the University of Toledo's Law Review Symposium. 

  • Blanche Cook

    presented, "Implicit Bias and the Professional Responsibility of the Bench," at the National Bar Association annual convention in Toronto, Canada.

  • Blanche Cook

    presented, "An Algorithm for Capturing White Heteropatriarchy," at the National Black Prosecutors’ Annual Conference in Cleveland, Ohio.

  • Blanche Cook

    moderated a discussion, "Navigating Workplace Conflicts and Inequities," at the University of Michigan's Lutie Lytle Writing Workshop in Ann Arbor.

  • Blanche Cook

    presented, "Sex Trafficking Expert Testimony: Gender Salience, Consciousness, And Relevance In Removing The Taint Of Gender Inequality From The Vulnerable Body Of Proof," at the University of Michigan's Lutie Lytle Writing Workshop in Ann Arbor.

  • Blanche Cook

    served as a commenter on a research paper, "The Symbolic Assailant Revisted," by Jennine Bell at the Lutie Lytle Writing Workshop at the University of Michigan School of Law in Ann Arbor.

  • Blanche Cook

    presented, "Complicit Bias: Sex Offender Registration as a Penalty for Obstructing Sex Trafficking Prosecutions," at the Global Studies Conference at National University of Singapore.

  • Blanche Cook

    attended the George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School's Law & Economics Center's Thirty-Third Economics Institute for Law Professors.

  • Blanche Cook

    presented at the University of Richmond School of Law's Mid-Atlantic Junior Faculty Forum. Her topic involved sex trafficking experts in federal cases.

  • Blanche Cook

    gave a TEDxWayneStateU talk titled, "CAUGHT: Calculating the Moves of Power in Our Midst." Watch her full talk here.

  • Blanche Cook

    presented a day-long implicit bias workshop for student athletes in the Pac-12 collegiate athletic conference. The conference was part of a partnership between the Pac-12 and the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality, founded by Stephen Ross, '65.

  • Blanche Cook

    was a panelist for the School of Social Work Diversity Lecture on Advancing Racial Justice.

In the news

  • Blanche Cook

    was quoted in a report for the Detroit Free Press, “The price sexual assault survivors pay is too high for many to tell.”

    Read article
  • Blanche Cook

    was quoted in a report for Michigan Radio, Defendants will now be required to listen to their victims' impact statements.” 

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  • Blanche Cook

    was quoted by Bridge Magazine for its report, "Reviving war on drugs could carry big costs in Michigan."

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  • Blanche Cook

    wrote a column titled, "An algorithm for capturing racism, sexism and classism," for Detroit Legal News.

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  • Blanche Cook

    wrote, "Black lives matter and so do black votes" for The Detroit News.

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  • Blanche Cook

    was featured in the Detroit Legal News regular profile brief column, "Step by Step..."

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  • Blanche Cook

    was quoted in a Michigan Radio report, "Police training could be key to solving racial violence."

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Advocating for justice, serving the community, revitalizing Detroit and Michigan