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Boyce Robert Owens, Civic Consulting Alliance

Owens completed his PhD in Sociology at the University of Chicago in 2017, writing a dissertation on refugee admission law in federal courts. The focus of his academic work is how law works as a knowledge system, especially judge-made law in the powerful U.S. federal courts. He is currently a senior associate at the Civic Consulting Alliance working with the Chicago Police Department on their plan for reform. In graduate school , Robert was an associate editor of the American Journal of Sociology and taught seminars in “Sociology of Law” and “Self, Culture, and Society.” His scholarly work has appeared in American Sociologist, Journal of Classical Sociology, Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciencesand Law & Social Inquiry. Robert Owens can be reached at

Photo and bio courtesy of the University of California, Irvine.

David John Frank, School of Social Sciences, University of California, Irvine

Frank is Professor of Sociology and Courtesy Professor of Education and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine. He studies changes in the cultural infrastructure of world society, with special focus on global environmental protection, the university and the knowledge society, and the criminal regulation of sex. He holds degrees in sociology from Stanford and the University of Chicago. Before coming to Irvine in 2002, he was on the faculty at Harvard University.

Photo and bio courtesy of the University of Connecticut.

David Embrick, Sociology Department and African Studies Institute, University of Connecticut 

Embrick is an associate professor in the Sociology Department and African Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut. He spent a decade at Loyola University Chicago in the Sociology Department. He received his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in 2006.  He is a former American Sociological Association Minority Fellow, Past-President of the Southwestern Sociological Association, and current Vice President-Elect of the Society for the Study of Social Problems.  In addition, Dr. Embrick serves as the Editor-in-Chief for Humanity & Society (the official journal of the Association for Humanist Society), Founding Co-Editor of Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, the newest ASA sponsored journal of the Section on Racial and Ethnic Minorities, and Associate Editor of Social Problems. Dr. Embrick’s research has centered largely on the impact of contemporary forms of racism on people of color.  While most of his research is one what he has labeled “diversity ideology” and inequalities in the business world, he has published on race and education, the impact of schools-welfare-and prisons on people of color, and issues of sex discrimination. Dr. Embrick has published in a number of journals including American Behavioral Scientist, Critical Sociology, Race and Society, Sex Roles, Sociological Forum, and Symbolic Interaction, among others. He has been invited to give talks on his work in over 60 venues, both academic and public.

Photo and bio courtesy of Rutgers University.

Janice Gallagher, Department of Political Science, Rutgers University

Gallagher is currently an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University, Newark. She was previously a postdoctoral fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. She holds a PhD in Government from Cornell University, an MA in Teaching at Brown University, and a BA in Political Science and Economics from Swarthmore College. She conducted more than two years of fieldwork in Mexico and Colombia, and previously worked as a human rights accompanier in Colombia. Gallagher’s dissertation, "Tipping the Scales of Justice: The Role of Citizen Action in Strengthening the Rule of Law," examines the role of organized citizen action and institutional pressure in affecting the provision of justice in Mexico and Colombia. This study is part of a larger research agenda of state-civil society relations, specifically how informal institutions, relationships and mobilization shape judicial and human rights outcomes. Her research has appeared in Comparative Political Studies, and in many popular venues such as the Huffington Post and

Photo and bio courtesy of Australian National University.

Nick Cheesman, Department of Political & Social Change, Australian National University

Cheesman (PhD, MEd, BCom, GDipEd) is a fellow in the Department of Political Science & Social Change at Australian National University's College of Asia and the Pacific. His research interests include rule of law, sovereignty, the state, authority, power, political order, torture, impunity, human rights, postcolonialism in South and Southeast Asia, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, and interpretive research design. He holds an Australian Research Council grant to document where, when and how torture occurs in Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand. In 2016-17 he is working on this project at the Institute for Advanced Study, PrincetonThe study follows his doctoral dissertation on the politics of law and order in Myanmar, which was awarded the ANU's Crawford Prize, and the President’s Prize of the Asian Studies Association of Australia, published as Opposing the Rule of Law: How Myanmar's Courts Make Law and Order (Cambridge UP). Before coming to the ANU, Cheesman worked in Hong Kong with a regional human rights group. Earlier he convened a people’s tribunal on food scarcity and militarization in Myanmar, and lived and worked in a refugee camp in Thailand.

Photo and biography courtesy of UC Berkeley School of Law.

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. 

Leslie Abramson

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

Photo and biography courtesy of Northwestern University.

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."

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.

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