University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Politics of Law

We share an interest in the relationship between law and legal systems and the political, economic, social, and cultural processes in which they are embedded. This cluster connects scholars from multiple fields across the department whose work focuses on the formulation, implementation, politicization, and/or modification of the law and law-like systems of meaning at tribal, local, community, national, transnational, or global levels. Active research areas include domestic, international and transnational law-related advocacy, the implementation of international law through domestic, transnational and global policy networks, the role of constitutional law in emerging and established democracies, US and comparative judicial politics, domestic and international law enforcement and criminology, alternative dispute resolution, judicial decision making and selection, international treaty-making and implementation processes, legal policy making, and the social construction of legal understandings in everyday practice. 

Angelica Bernal

I specialize on issues of founding and refounding, popular constitutionalism, and indigenous rights and social movements in Latin America.  I am interested in examining the mechanisms and challenges involved in the creation and recreation of political orders, the significance of constitution-making and the law in processes of extraordinary politics,...Read more

Charli Carpenter

My teaching and research interests include the politics of war law, transnational advocacy networks, protection of civilians, humanitarian disarmament, and the role of popular culture in global human security policy. I have a particular interest in the gap between intentions and outcomes among advocates of human security.Read more

Paul M. Collins, Jr.

My research interests include understanding the democratic nature of the judiciary, interdisciplinary approaches to legal decision making, and social movement litigation.Read more

My research interests include the politics of judicial selection and confirmation, the backgrounds and career paths of lower federal court judges,and the politics of constitutional law and civil liberties.Read more

Rebecca Hamlin

My research is focused on law and immigration politics. I am interested in how administrative agencies and courts adjudicate migration and citizenship questions, and the political responses to judicial involvement in migration matters. I have a particular interest in migrant categorization and the concept of a refugee.

My new...Read more

Kawar_faculty profile

My research examines how the work of lawyers, judges, and other legal experts shapes our understandings of social issues. I am particularly interested in exploring how juridical knowledge-making intersects with migration, citizenship, and labor.

In the tradition of interpretive Law and Society scholarship, I draw on a combination...Read more

picture of MJ Peterson

My research interests include world politics, international institutions, international political economy, technology, technological change, and ethics in science and engineering.

To make an appointment click https://umass.campus.eab.comRead more

I received my Ph.D. in political science from Penn State University. Broadly, I am interested in the study of courts and public policy, the separation of powers, judicial behavior, agenda-setting, and political methodology. On my website, you can find more information on my current research, my prior publications, and...Read more


Dr. Rowen's research focuses on law and society, transitional justice, international criminal law, social movements, and international and comparative methods. Dr. Rowen's current projects examine the confluence of domestic immigration and international criminal law within the Department of Homeland Security, as well as purpose and practice of Veterans Treatment Courts, specialized courts...Read more