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. 

Angélica Maria Bernal is Associate Professor of Political Sci­ence at UMass Amherst and faculty affiliate with the Center for Latin American, Latinx and Caribbean Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  Her research and teaching focus on issues of popular power, constitutional change, decolonial theory and politics, and indigenous social movements and resistance in...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 focuses on understanding bias and inequality in the legal system, the selection and work of judges, social movement litigation, and how people understand the law. 

I have published articles in the American Political Science Review, Journal of Law and Courts, Journal of Politics, Law & Social Inquiry,...Read more

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...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, www.umasscjls.org and a research affiliate with the UMass Center of Excellence for Specialty Courts. Dr. Rowen's current projects examine relationships between immigration...Read more