The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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. 

I specialize on founding and refounding processes, 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 foundations (political, legal, economic, symbolic), the role of popular power and "the people" in enacting and legitimating...Read more

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. I work with...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.

I have published articles in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Journal of Law and Courts, Journal of Politics, Law & Social Inquiry, Law & Society Review, Notre Dame...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

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...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.

I am also one of two UMass advisers for the Five College International relations Certificate.  To make an appointment to talk about it,  go to SSC Navigate, then...Read more

My research centers on judicial policymaking in American politics, with a particular interest in the power of courts in the American policymaking context, and the implications of according policymaking power to judicial institutions in a democratic political system. My work has appeared in The Journal of Politics, Political Research QuarterlyThe Journal of Law,...Read more

Dr. Rowen's research focuses on the use of law to redress mass atrocity and aid vulnerable groups. She is the founding director of UMass' Center for Justice, Law, and Societies, and a research affiliate with the UMass Center of Excellence for Specialty Courts. Dr. Rowen's current projects examine the citizen-state relations...Read more