University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Rebecca Hamlin

Professional Title: 

Professor of Legal Studies and Political Science
Director of Legal Studies


Thompson 202


Office Hours: 

Spring 2024: Tuesdays, 4:00-5:00pm in person and Fridays, 2:45-3:45pm on Zoom:


PhD, Political Science & MA, Political Science, University of California, Berkeley; BA, University of Chicago


I am currently serving as the Director of the Legal Studies Program and am happy to answer any questions about this interdisciplinary major. 

My research is focused on law and immigration politics, and I have a particular interest in migrant categorization and the concept of a refugee. My published work has examined how the United States and other liberal democracies use administrative agencies and courts to adjudicate migration and citizenship questions, and the political responses to judicial involvement in migration matters. I have published articles on the history of American asylum policy, comparative Refugee Status Determination systems, the politics of migration and the media in the UK, and the blending of international criminal law and immigration law to remove suspected war criminals and human rights violators. I have multiple ongoing projects at the moment, including: (1) a joint project with Jamie Rowen and Luz Maria Sanchez Duque on Colombians in the US and the concept of diasporic peacebuilding, (2) a historical project on 1924 looking at the intersection between immigration restrictionism and the expansion of Native American citizenship, (3) a project on the concept of a ‘refugee-producing country,’ (4) a survey-based project with Lamis Abdelaaty and Scott Blinder on attiudes about refugees and framing, (5) a multi-article project with Jamie Rowen and Scott Blinder on No Safe Haven policies for people classified as human rights violators and war criminals.  

My first book, Let me be a Refugee was published by Oxford University Press in 2014:

My second book, Crossing: How We Label and React to People on the Move was published with Stanford University Press in May of 2021.

I would be very pleased to work with graduate students who have an interest in anything related to migration and borders, or comparative law and courts. I have co-authored with graduate students in the past, and am open to doing so again. Along with Profs Arnold and Do Carmo, I coordinate the campus Migration Working Group, which is open to all graduate students. Please feel free to contact me with questions about our graduate program or the MWG! 

Area of Study: 

  • American politics
  • Comparative politics
  • Public law

Curriculum Vitae: 

Download docx (58 KB)


  • Legal Studies