Faculty Information

  • About Professor Ota

    ​I am a third generation Japanese American (Sansei), born and raised in Berkeley, CA. I attended San Francisco State University and the University of California, Berkeley ("Cal"). In 1977, I received a B.S. in Food Science, Nutrition and Dietetics from the Department of Nutritional Science at Cal and later, went on to earn an M.B.A. from Tulane University in New Orleans. After working as a commercial banker for six years, I enrolled at Stanford Law School and earned my J.D. in 1992. Following law school, I held the Future Law Teaching Fellowship at Georgetown University Law Center.

    I have taught at the University of Baltimore School of Law as an adjunct professor and the University of Toledo College of Law as a visiting professor. I have been on the faculty at Albany Law School since 1995. Courses I have taught include: Business Organizations, Commercial Law, Contracts, Gender & the Law, Immigration Law & Policy, Issues in Law & Society Seminar, Law & Sexuality, Sales, Leases & Payment Law.

    My research interests focus on the interaction of law, race, sexuality, gender, class, and national identity in social history.

    I collect advertising trade cards and other ephemera with orientalist and/or racist depictions and themes. Most of the items in my collection were produced around the turn of the 19th century in the wake of reconstruction, U.S. imperialist expansion, and at a time when anti-immigrant sentiments were rising. In many cases, the images have little to do with the items advertised. These images illustrate stereotypical views of Asians at the turn of the 20th century. Trade card printers aimed their humor at many ethnic groups including Chinese, Japanese, Irish, Jewish, German, and Italian people. View Victorian-era trade cards (.pdf)

    I live in Albany, NY with my partner, Laura, and my dog, Bojocq (pronounced Bo - Zhock). Among many things, Laura and I share a passion for dark chocolate. We are working together on a guidebook to tours of artisanal chocolate makers around the world. Feel free to send us samples to taste-test.  

    Current Research Projects

    Queer Lactification and Paper Daughters (draft)

    Publicly Private (work-in-progress)

    Loving Off Base (work-in progress)

    If you have any questions or comments, email me at: nota@albanylaw.edu.

  • Biography

    ​B.S., University of California, Berkeley  
    M.B.A., Tulane University  
    J.D., Stanford University

    Future Law Teaching Fellow, Georgetown University. Previously taught at the University of Toledo College of Law. Before attending law school, worked as a commercial banker in international trade and corporate finance in New Orleans and San Francisco. Research interests are interdisciplinary and cover the role of race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, and class in the legal construction of human and corporate citizenship.

  • OUTlaw

    Lesbians, gay men, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people do not enjoy full protection of the law. Moreover, our status (or the appearance of having LGBT status) subjects us to the violence of law and of people emboldened by "the law."  At Albany Law School, OUTLaw exists to provide support, networking, information, and social activities for LGBT students, staff, faculty, friends, and non-LGBT supporters.

    Albany Law School's out lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community formed its first organization, Lambda Law, in 1994. During the 2000-2001 school year, the group changed its name to OUTLaw. The organization exists to provide support to LGBT students, staff, and faculty, to increase awareness of issues that LGBT people face, and to work with allies to promote justice. The organization is open to anyone who supports these goals.

    The visible presence of LGBT people at ALS has made a difference. The organization has successfully encouraged the law school to offer domestic partner benefits to all employees and students, to disallow the military from mass-distribution of recruitment flyers in student mailboxes, and to post notices about the military's discriminatory employment policies (a.k.a. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell").

    Lambda Alumni Group. The Alumni Affairs office is in the process of forming an LGBT alumni group. The Lambda Alumni Group will have its first gathering in Spring, 2002. If you are interested in receiving updates about this group, please contact the ALS Alumni Affairs office at: 518.445-3220 or  alumni@albanylaw.edu.

    Upcoming Events. 

    SEPTEMBER (TBA) Professors Clark and Ota will host a reception for OUTLaw members, friends, and alumni. Please email Professor Ota if you would like to be notified about this event.

    OCTOBER 11 is National Coming Out Day. Also, Lavender Law is scheduled for October 10 - 13 in Philadelphia. The National Lesbian & Gay Law Association (NLGLA) and the National Lesbian & Gay Law Foundation co-sponsor the annual conference of practitioners, scholars, and law students interested in cutting edge legal issues facing the LGBT community. Visit the NLGLA website for more information.
    LGBT Advocacy Organizations



  • Paper Daughters, 12 Washington and Lee Race and Ethnic Ancestry Law Journal 41 (2005)papers.cfm

  • Private Matters: Family Race and the Post-World-War-II Translation of "American", 46 International Review of Social History 209 (2001)papers.cfm

  • Queer Recount, 64 Albany Law Review 889 (2001) papers.cfm

  • Flying Buttresses, 49 De Paul Law Review 693 (2000)papers.cfm

  • Falling From Grace: A Meditation on LatCrit II, 19 Chicano-Latino Law Review 437 (1998)papers.cfm

Forthcoming Publications

Selected Achievements

In the News