Skip to main content

Meet Our 2016-2017 Visiting Scholars

Please use the links on the left hand side to see information about our past visiting scholars. More infornation on the ABF's visiting scholar opportunties can be found here.


Russell K. Robinson, University of California, Berkeley School of Law

Robinson is the Distinguished Haas Chair in LGBT Equity Professor of Law at UC Berkeley School of Law. His scholarly and teaching interests include antidiscrimination law, race and sexuality, law and psychology, constitutional law, and media and entertainment law.  Prior to joining UC Berkeley, Robinson was Professor of Law at UCLA. Robinson graduated with honors from Harvard Law School (1998), after receiving his B.A. summa cum laude from Hampton University (1995). Robinson clerked for Judge Dorothy Nelson of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (1998-99) and for Justice Stephen Breyer of the U.S. Supreme Court (2000-01). He has also worked for the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Legal Counsel (1999-2000) and the firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer and Feld in Los Angeles, practicing entertainment law (2001-02). While at ABF, Robinson will  interview people for his qualitative study on LGBT Relationships and Wellbeing.  Russell K. Robinson can be reached at .

Photo and biography courtesy of UC Berkeley School of Law.



Leslie Abramson is a film scholar who holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. She has taught law and cinema at the Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Abramson is the author of Hitchcock & the Anxiety of Authorship (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). Her essays have been published in Hitchcock and Adaptation (2014), American Cinema of the 1960s (2008), In the Limelight and Under the Microscope: Forms and Functions of Female Celebrity (2011), New Constellations: Movie Stars of the 1960s (2012)and various journals. She has presented papers on law and cinema at the Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and the Humanities Conference, the Society for Cinema and Media Studies conferences, and elsewhere. Abramson is currently researching representations of the law in silent American cinema. Her study investigates how silent films originated and disseminated defining moving images of American law with regard to judicial processes and proceedings, legal documents, non-uniformed practitioners of the law—specifically, judges and lawyers—and the association among the citizenry, the courtroom, and critical legal issues. Leslie Abramson can be reached at .


Ian Hurd, Department of Political Science, Northwestern University 

Ian Hurd is an associate professor at Northwestern University and director of their International Studies Program. He teaches political scienceinternational studies, and legal studies. His research interests include International Relations, International Law, International Organizations, The United Nations, Research Methods, IR Theory, and International Rule of Law. Hurd has written extensively about the politics of international law and international institutions. His work has appeared in leading academic and public policy journals including International Organization, Foreign Affairs, International Politics, Global Governance, and Ethics & International Affairs. His book on the UN Security Council, After Anarchy: Legitimacy and Power in the UN Security Council (2007), won the Chadwick Alger Award from the International Studies Association and the Myres McDougal Prize from the Policy Sciences Society. His most recent book is International Organizations: Politics, Law, Practice, which appeared in a second edition in 2013. Hurd has been a visitor scholar at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, Sciences-Po in Paris, and the WZB Berlin Social Science Center, among other institutions, and is a frequent contributor to public debates on global affairs, foreign policy, and international law. His current work includes a book on the international rule of law, and he is a co-editor of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of International Organizations. According to Hurd: "I am investigating how people make claims when they suffer harms from international organizations. As international organizations are increasingly influential in the daily lives of people around the world, this question is becoming ever more pressing. Answering it requires close attention to the various legal regimes that govern the rights, obligations, and immunities of international institutions in relation to local people, and the rules that govern how local people can advance claims for damages. From accidents to negligence to outright crimes, it is inevitable that people will suffer losses from the actions of international organizations. How the organizations respond speaks volumes about their sensitivity to local needs, their internal accountability procedures, and ultimately about the power of global governance in people’s lives.
These accountability mechanisms are tremendously important. They define the lived experience of local people in relation to global institutions. When they work poorly, the result is tremendously dysfunctional for both the organization and the people, creating ill-will, injustice, and an experience of domination. When they work well, they may mitigate the inequalities of power that are inevitable between the organizations and local people. The UN has suffered immensely as a consequence of its attempts to cover up peacekeeper sexual abuse in Africa. Better accoutability mechanisms can reduce the incentive to keep misbehavior secret, and contribute to better outcomes for local people and for the transparency of the organization.
" Ian Hurd can be reached at .

Photo and biography courtesy of Northwestern University.

Stephen C. Nelson, Department of Political Science, Northwestern University

Nelson is an assistant professor of political science at Northwestern University. Nelson’s main research and teaching interests lie in the subfields of International and Comparative Political Economy. His recent work explores a variety of topics, including the politics that shape the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) lending policies; the structure and governance of financial markets before and after the near-collapse of the American financial system in 2008; the political dynamics of developing and emerging market countries’ decisions to open their economies to international capital flows; how organizational cultures shape the behavior of international institutions; and the international organization of sovereign debt markets. Nelson's forthcoming book, The Currency of Confidence: How Economic Beliefs Shape the IMF's Relationship with Its Borrowers (Cornell University Press), is based on his dissertation, which won the American Political Science Award’s Helen Dwight Reid Award in 2010. He has published articles inInternational OrganizationReview of International Political Economy, and Review of International Organizations. Links to his papers, replication files, and syllabi for courses can be found on his personal websiteWhile at the ABF, Nelson will be working on several projects, including a study of public attitudes toward settlement of sovereign debt disputes, a project on the mass political economy of capital controls, and a historical exploration of divergent trajectories of legalization in the global governance of trade versus international monetary affairs. Stephen C. Nelson can be reached at .

Photo and biography courtesy of Northwestern University.

Site design by Webitects

© 2017 American Bar Foundation (
750 North Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611-4403
(312) 988-6500
Contact Us
Media Contacts
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in ABF publications are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Bar Foundation or the American Bar Association. The AMERICAN BAR FOUNDATION, ABF and related seal trademarks as used by the American Bar Foundation are owned by the American Bar Association and used under license.