University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Tania Lopez DoCarmo

Professional Title: 

Assistant Professor of Legal Studies and Political Science


Thompson 230


Office Hours: 

By Appointments only


As a sociologist, my research centers on the intersections of law, society and culture, with an emphasis on migration. I’m interested in how social problems come to be socially constructed, how these constructions find their way into social & legal institutions, and their consequences in practice, particularly for women, migrants and disadvantaged populations. My current book project examines the rise of international counter-human trafficking policy at the United Nations, and the impact counter-trafficking policies for those who “translate” the law into practice and trafficked persons themselves, specifically in Cambodia and the U.S. 

My other research includes an ongoing study among detained asylum seekers in U.S. detention centers, a collaborative study about the use of storytelling by international social movement participants (see my article in Mobilization), and a collaborative project on “the law in computation;” that is, how legal terrain is being shaped and created through new and emerging technologies (see my article in Law & Policy). I teach courses on globalization, law & inequality, “crimmigration” (the intersection of criminal and immigration policies), human trafficking, and criminology.

Prior to my academic career, I worked over ten years for international advocacy and nongovernment organizations (NGOs) in Brazil, Cambodia and the United States. This work focused on human trafficking, migration, labor exploitation, and child protection. I have a B.A. in Social Science and Gender Studies from Washington State University, an M.S. in Anthropology from the University of North Texas, and an M.A./Ph.D. in Sociology from University of California Irvine.

Field/Areas of Research: 

  • Sociology of law, globalization, culture, migration, social movements.


  • Legal Studies