The American Bar Foundation (ABF) is pleased to welcome the 2023-24 Visiting Scholars cohort to the ABF research community. This year’s scholars are Leslie Abramson, Michelle Brown (University of Tennessee), Daniel L. Chen (Toulouse School of Economics), Kate Masur (Northwestern University), and Willa Sachs (Yale University).
The ABF invites national and international scholars to take advantage of our diverse sociolegal community and research facilities through its Visiting Scholars program. The ABF chooses scholars whose research coincides with the organization’s research agenda of innovative, interdisciplinary, and rigorous empirical research on law and society. Visiting Scholars participate in the intellectual life of the ABF by attending weekly seminars with leading scholars, collaborating with ABF faculty, and participating in workshops and discussions with the ABF Fellows.
“The vitality of the ABF’s intellectual community comes in part from the high quality of the Visiting Scholars who spend time with us each year,” said ABF Interim Executive Director Bryant Garth. “We are lucky to have an extraordinary and diverse group this year, and we are delighted to welcome them to the ABF community.”
Meet the 2023-24 Visiting Scholars Cohort:
- Leslie Abramson teaches law and cinema at the Loyola University Chicago School of Law and the Loyola University Chicago School of Communication. Abramson currently researches representations of the law in silent American cinema and how these original images of the legal system judged the law and the legal system’s processes and practitioners.
- Michelle Brown is a Professor and Associate Head of Sociology at the University of Tennessee, where she also cofounded the Appalachian Justice Research Center. During her time at the ABF, Brown will work on her book project, Streaming Justice: Movements, Media, and the Problem of Crime. In the book, she argues that the problem of crime and the crisis of the criminal legal system are inseparable from a media universe with intensified and conflicting claims for narrative control.
- Daniel L. Chen is the Director of Research at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and a Professor at the Toulouse School of Economics. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse and the founder of oTree Open Source Research Foundation and the Data Science Justice Collaboratory. Chen will work on his project “Laissez-Fair Racism: Evidence from U.S. Judges,” with coauthor Eric Reinhart (Northwestern University), during his time at the ABF. This project will examine hierarchy and race in the reproduction of racial disparities and the judicial super-ego.
- Kate Masur is the Board of Visitors Professor of History at Northwestern University. During her time as a Visiting Scholar, Masur will complete an article on the politics of race, law, and law-breaking in antebellum Illinois, advance work on several other articles, and conduct preliminary research for a new book-length project.
- Willa Sachs is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at Yale University and a Junior Fellow at the Yale Center for Cultural Sociology. Sachs formerly served as the Editorial Coordinator of Law and Social Inquiry at the ABF. During her time as a Visiting Scholar, Sachs will work on three chapters of her dissertation. The first examines the relationship between political trials and the production of liberal legal consciousness through an analysis of four high-profile criminal trials involving the Black Panther Party (BPP). The second concerns the role of “people’s tribunals” in the protest repertoire of the BPP. The third considers the function of American constitutional thought in BPP discourse and, in particular, its role in the BPP’s demand for all-Black juries.
About the American Bar Foundation
The American Bar Foundation (ABF) is the world’s leading research institute for the empirical and interdisciplinary study of law. The ABF seeks to expand knowledge and advance justice through innovative, interdisciplinary, and rigorous empirical research on law, legal processes, and legal institutions. To further this mission the ABF will produce timely, cutting-edge research of the highest quality to inform and guide the legal profession, the academy, and society in the United States and internationally. The ABF’s primary funding is provided by the American Bar Endowment and the Fellows of The American Bar Foundation.