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Bernadette Atuahene

Bernadette Atuahene headshot

Research Professor

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Joint appointment

Professor of Law, James E. Jones Chair at the University of Wisconsin Law School


J.D., Yale Law School; M.P.A., Harvard University; B.A. University of California, Los Angeles

Curriculum vitae


Bernadette Atuahene is a professor of law and the James E. Jones Chair at the Univeristy of Wisconsin Law School, and a research professor at the American Bar Foundation. She earned her J.D. from Yale Law School in 2002, her M.P.A. from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government in 2002, and her B.A. in 1997 (magna cum laude) from the University of California, Los…

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Research focus

Law and international development, particularly the dispossession and restitution of property rights in the developing world. Research has examined the challenges faced by transitional democracies that provide compensation for past property dispossession, as well as how land titling programs can best address urban poverty.


Conceptualizing Property Takings

Using the concept of a “dignity taking,” linking the unconsented taking of property rights with the deprivation of dignity, this research project seeks to further understand the…

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"Predatory Cities"
California Law Review
"Taxed Out: Illegal Property Tax Assessments and the Epidemic of Tax Foreclosures in Detroit"
UC Irvine Law Review
Southern California Law Review

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The Scandal of the Predatory City

Jan 14, 2021

The Scandal of the Predatory City (NY Times Op-Ed)

Detroit's Tax Foreclosures Indefensible

Sep 6, 2018

In this September 2017 , Atuahene discusses the property tax foreclosure crisis in Detroit.

Don't Let Detroit's Revival Rest on an Injustice

Sep 6, 2018

In a July 2017 NY Times op-ed, Atuahene discusses the high rates of property tax foreclosures in Detroit, Michigan and how they are the result of illegal property tax assessments and inflated…

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We Want What's Ours: Learning from South Africa's Land Restitution Program
Jan 2014
Speaker, Workshop on Poverty, Immigration and Property
Jun 2013
Property-Induced Invisibility: When the Expropriation of Property Removes People from the Social Contract
Oct 2012

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Professional Service & Recognition

  • Associate Editor, Law & Social Inquiry

  • Trustee, Law & Society Association

  • Fellow, Program in Law and Public Affairs, Princeton University

  • Fellow, Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership

  • Editor, SSRN Transitional Justice eJournal

  • International Affairs Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations

  • Adviser to Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Collins on the legal challenge to the Illinois Act to End Atrocities and Terrorism in Sudan

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