University of Texas wordmark
Artwork by Mery Godigna Collet

Image courtesy of Mery Godigna Collet


Solomon Benjamin

Solomon Benjamin is a professor at the Manipal School of Architecture and Planning and an adjunct professor at the National Institute of Advanced Studies in India. His work focuses on land policy, poverty, urban governance, and employment issues. Benjamin’s concept of ‘Occupancy Urbanism’ is the focus of his most recent research. He has led international projects on chronic poverty and land concentrating on East Bangalore, India. Additionally, he studies Chinese and Indian urbanism and researches on Bangalore’s wetlands and local economy and governance. He has been a consultant to the World Bank, the Swiss Development Cooperation, and the United Nations. His work has been published in several articles and books, including “Occupancy Urbanism: Radicalizing Politics and Economy beyond Policy and Programs.” Benjamin received a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

Catherine Boone

Catherine Boone is a professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin, where she teaches classes on contemporary African politics and comparative political economy. She specializes in comparative politics, with an emphasis on theories of political economy and economic development, and has conducted research on industrial, commercial, and land tenure policies in West Africa. Her current work focuses on rural property rights and territorial politics in Africa.  Her writings include Merchant Capital and the Roots of State Power in Senegal, 1930 – 1985 and Political Topographies of the African State: Rural Authority and Institutional Choice. She was President’s Research Fellow at the University of Nairobi, Kenya, and President of the West Africa Research Association. Boone received a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a B.A. from the University of California, San Diego.

Daniel Brinks

Daniel Brinks is an associate professor of government and co-director of the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice at the University of Texas at Austin. His research focuses on the role of the law and courts in supporting or extending human rights and many of the basic rights associated with democracy, with a primary regional interest in Latin America. He is currently at work on a project that examines constitutional change in Latin America since about 1975, focusing especially on judicial institutions and constitutional review. He has published articles in journals such as Comparative Politics, Studies in Comparative International Development, and the Texas International Law Journal. His books Courting Social Justice: The Judicial Enforcement of Social and Economic Rights in the Developing World (co-edited with Varun Gauri) and The Judicial Response to Police Violence in Latin America: Inequality and the Rule of Law were both published by Cambridge University Press. Brinks received a Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame and a J.D. from the University of Michigan.

Jorge Contesse

Jorge Contesse is a professor and Director of the Center for Human Rights at the Universidad Diego Portales in Chile and will be a Visiting Resource Professor at the University of Texas in spring 2012. He works on human rights and indigenous issues, primarily focusing on the Mapuche community in Chile. Contesse has also been a researcher and consultant to various international organizations, such as the International Council on Human Rights Policy and Human Rights Watch. His most recent works include “Universally Speaking? The Cultural Challenge to Rights and Constitutionalism” and “’It’s Not OK’: New Zealand’s Efforts to Eliminate Violence against Women.” He is a recipient of the Fulbright Scholarship and Presidente de la Republica scholarship from Chile. Contesse received an LL.M. from Yale Law School.

Dennis Davis

Dennis Davis is a judge at the High Court of Cape Town, South Africa, and Judge President of the Competition Appeal Court of Cape Town. He teaches constitutional law and tax law at the University of Cape Town. Davis is also a member of the Commission of Enquiry into Tax Structure of South Africa. His research focuses on constitutional law, socioeconomic rights, and human rights and litigation. He was a legal advisor on electoral law and federalism to the Constitutional Assembly during the formation of South Africa’s new constitution. He has written several books and journal articles, including Rights and the Constitution and Estate Planning in South Africa. He is currently the host of a South African television program on current political and economic issues, entitled “Judge For Yourself.” Judge Davis earned a B.Com LL.B. from the University of Cape Town and an M. Phil. from the University of Cambridge.

Sebastian Elias

Sebastian Elias is a professor of law at Universidad de San Andrés in Argentina. His research focuses primarily on constitutional law and legal philosophy. Elias was the director of Instituto de Estudios de Interes Publico, a non-profit focused on public interest work. He has also worked in private practice and as a consultant to numerous law firms regarding constitutional issues. His current work concerns constitutional protection of property rights and economic emergency. Recent publications include “Constitutional Changes, Transitional Justice, and Legitimacy: The Life and Death of Argentina’s ‘Amnesty’ Laws;” “’Massa’ y la Saga de la ‘Pesificación’: Lo Bueno, lo Malo, y lo Feo,” and “Jurisprudencia Argentina – Suplemento de Jurisprudencia de la Corte Suprema de Justicia de la Nación.” Elias earned a law degree from Universidad de Mendoza in Argentina and is currently a J.S.D. candidate at Yale Law School, where he received his LL.M.

Karen Engle

Karen Engle is the Minerva House Drysdale Regents Chair in Law and the founder and co-director of the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice at the University of Texas at Austin. She teaches and researches in the fields of public international law, international human rights law, and Latin American law. Her recent works include The Elusive Promise of Indigenous Development: Rights, Culture, Strategy (Duke University Press, 2010), “On Fragile Architecture: The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the Context of Human Rights” (European Journal of International Law, 2011), and “The Force of Shame” (in Rethinking Rape Law, with Annelies Lottmann) (Routledge, 2010). Professor Engle received a Bellagio Residency Fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation in 2009 and an assignment as a Fulbright Senior Specialist in Bogotá in 2010. Engle received a J.D. from Harvard Law School and an undergraduate degree from Baylor University.

Jorge Esquirol

Jorge Esquirol is a professor at Florida International University College of Law, where he teaches classes on international law, commercial law, and comparative law. Previously, he was a professor at the Northeastern University School of Law and acted as Director of Academic Affairs at the Harvard Law School Graduate Program. Additionally, he served as a clerk on the United States District court for the Southern District of Florida and was an attorney at Shearman and Sterling. Esquirol’s work primarily focuses on Latin American legal systems. Recent works include “Writing the Law of Latin America,” “Titling and Untitled Housing in Panama City,” and “The Failed Law of Latin America.” Esquirol received a J.D. and S.J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.S.B.A. from Georgetown University.

Mekonnen Firew Ayano

Mekonnen Firew Ayano is an S.J.D. candidate at Harvard Law School. He is writing his dissertation on constitutional property rights and social changes in Sub-Saharan Africa. Previously, he worked as Africa region legal counsel for the World Bank, as a judge on the Supreme Court of Oromia, and as a lecturer at Addis Ababa University. His publications include “The Nile Basin Initiative: an Overview of Challenges and Opportunities.” Firew Ayano received an LL.M. from Harvard Law School, a prior LL.M. from the American University in Cairo, and an LL.B. from Addis Ababa University.

Priya Gupta

Priya Gupta is an assistant professor of law and Assistant Director of the Centre for Women, Law, and Social Change at Jindal Global Law School. Her research focuses on property, law, and development from a critical perspective, and feminist legal theory. Professor Gupta is also active in JGLS’ clinical program which supports citizen participation in rural governance in Haryana. Prior to joining Jindal Global Law School, she practiced law as a structured finance attorney at Linklaters LLP, served as a consultant for Operation Asha (a Delhi-based tuberculosis control NGO), and worked as a management consultant for the Boston Consulting Group. Gupta received a J.D. from New York University School of Law, an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics, and a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

David Kennedy

David Kennedy is Manley O. Hudson Professor of Law and Director of the Institute for Global Law and Policy at Harvard Law School. He teaches international economic policy, legal theory, international law, law and development, and European law. He has worked on many international projects in private practice and with organizations like the United Nations and the European Commission. Kennedy is currently the Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Advisory Council on Global Governance. His research draws on an influence from many different disciplines to explore issues of international law, global governance, and human rights movements. He has authored several articles and books on international law and global governance, including “Some Caution About Property Rights as a Recipe for Economic Development,” Rights of Spring: A Memoir of Innocence Abroad, and The Canon of American Legal Thought. Kennedy received a Ph.D. from Tufts University and a J.D. from Harvard University.

Faustin Maganga

Faustin Maganga is an associate professor at the University of Dar es Salaam’s Institute of Resource Assessment. He has been involved in a number of research projects related to resource management including a four year project on Political Ecology of Wildlife and Forest Governance in Tanzania (with colleagues from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and Sokoine University). He is presenting a paper based on a joint project on Transformations in Property Rights and Poverty in Rural Tanzania: An Institutionalist Perspective. The project is being undertaken with colleagues from the University of Michigan. Maganga earned a Ph.D. from Roskilde University, an M.Sc. from the University of Zimbabwe, and an M.A. and B.A. from the University of Dar es Salaam.

Ambreena Manji

Ambreena Manji is currently serving as the director of The British Institute in Eastern Africa in Nairobi and is a reader at the Keele University School of Law in England. She teaches classes on gender, sexuality, human rights, globalization, and justice. Her primary research focuses on women’s property rights and land law reform in Africa. She has acted as a consultant on these issues to organizations such as the UN Development Programme, UN Food and Agricultural Organisation, and Oxfam. Her publications include The Politics of Land Reform in Africa: From Communal Tenure to Free Markets and “Cause and Consequence in Law and Development.” Manji earned a Ph.D. from the University of Birmingham, an LL.M. from the University of Warwick, and a B.A. from the University of York

Samuel Moyn

Samuel Moyn is a professor of history at Columbia University and a visiting professor of law at Yale Law School. He researches on issues of modern European intellectual history, with a concentration on Germany and France, mathematical and critical theory, Jewish studies, political and legal thought, and human rights history. He is the Editor of Humanity and co-director of the New Haven area Consortium for Intellectual and Cultural History. He is the author of several award-winning books, including Origins of the Other: Emmanuel Levinas between Revelation and Ethics, A Holocaust Controversy: The Treblinka Affair in Postwar France, and The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History. Moyn received a J.D. from Harvard Law School, a Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of California – Berkeley, and a B.A. from Washington University.

Lungisile Ntsebeza

Lungisile Ntsebeza is a professor of sociology at the University of Cape Town and Chief Research Specialist in the Democracy & Governance research program of the Human Sciences Research Council. He served previously as Director of the Programme for Land and African Studies at the University of the Western Cape and as Researcher and Programmes Manager at the Institute for Multi-Party Democracy. He was also a professor at the former University of Natal. His research focuses on local governments and multi-party democracy in South Africa, domestic violence, and the development of rural areas, looking at the role of traditional leaders in South African democracy. Ntsebeza has authored several books and papers including Democracy Compromised: Chiefs and the Politics of Land in South Africa. Ntsebeza received a Ph.D. from Rhodes University, Grahamstown, and an M.A. from the former University of Natal, Durban.

Carol Rose

Carol Rose is the Gordon Bradford Tweedy Professor Emerita at Yale Law School, and the Lohse Professor of Water and Natural Resources at the University of Arizona Rogers College of Law. Her specialties are property, environmental law, natural resources law, and land use regulation. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her several books and articles include Perspectives on Property Law and Property, Persuasion: Essays on the History, Theory and Rhetoric of Ownership, and “From Big Roads, Big Rights: Varieties of Public Infrastructure and Their Impact on Environmental Resources.” Rose received a Ph.D. from Cornell, a J.D. and M.A. from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. from Antioch College.

Nadav Shoked

Nadav Shoked is a visiting assistant professor with the Emerging Scholars Program at the University of Texas School of Law, where he teaches courses in American legal history, property, and housing law and policy. His research focuses on conceptions of property in 20th century American law and politics. His publications include “The Reinvention of Ownership: The Embrace of Residential Zoning and the Modern Populist Reading of Property” and “The Community Aspect of Private Ownership.” Shoked received an S.J.D. and LL.M. from Harvard Law School and an LL.B. from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Melinda Taylor

Melinda Taylor is a senior lecturer and the Executive Director of the Center for Global Energy, International Arbitration, and Environmental Law at the University of Texas School of Law. She is currently a clinical professor in the Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law and is counsel to Smith, Robertson, Elliott, Glen, Klein & Bell. Taylor was deputy general counsel of the National Audubon Society, an associate at Bracewell & Patterson, and served as Director of the Ecosystem Restoration Program of Environmental Defense. Her most recent publications include “Moving Away from Command and Control: The Evolution of Incentives to Conserve Endangered Species on Private Land” and “Progress in Texas with Endangered Species Protection: Using Carrots Rather than Sticks to Encourage Habitat Protection on Private Land.” Taylor received a J.D. and B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin.

Gerald Torres

Gerald Torres is a professor and Bryant Smith Chair in Law at the University of Texas School of Law. He teaches classes on environmental law, Indian law, property, and water law. He was previously president of the Association of American Law Schools and was deputy assistant attorney general for the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the United States Department of Justice. Also, Torres served as counsel to U.S. attorney general Janet Reno and on the board of the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Environmental Justice Advisory Council. His most recent publications include The Miner’s Canary: Enlisting Race, Resisting Power, Transforming Democracy and “Who is an Indian? The Story of the United States v. Sandoval.” Torres received a J.D. from Yale Law School, an LL.M. from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, and an A.B. from Stanford University.