Karen Engle

  • Minerva House Drysdale Regents Chair in Law
  • Founder and Co-Director, Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice


  • JD Harvard
  • BA Baylor

KAREN ENGLE is Minerva House Drysdale Regents Chair in Law and Founder and Co-director of the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice. She is also an affiliated faculty member of Latin American Studies and of Women's and Gender Studies. She teaches courses and specialized seminars in public international law, international human rights law, and legal theory.

Professor Engle received her J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School and a B.A. with honors from Baylor University. Following law school, she clerked for Judge Jerre S. Williams on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, and then served as a post-doctoral Ford Fellow in Public International Law at Harvard Law School. She was Professor of Law at the University of Utah prior to joining the University of Texas in 2002. Engle received a Bellagio Residency Fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation in 2009 and an assignment as a Fulbright Senior Specialist in Bogota in 2010. She has been named a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study (in Princeton, New Jersey) for the 2016-17 academic year.

Professor Engle writes on the interaction between social movements and law, particularly in the fields of international human rights law, international criminal law, and Latin American law. She is author of numerous scholarly articles and The Elusive Promise of Indigenous Development: Rights, Culture, Strategy (Duke University Press, 2010), which received the Best Book Award from the American Political Science Association Section on Human Rights. She is co-editor of Anti-Impunity and the Human Rights Agenda (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2016) and After Identity: A Reader in Law and Culture (Routledge, 1995).

Recent Publications

  • Anti-Impunity and the Turn to Criminal Law in Human Rights, 100 Cornell Law Review 1069 (2015).
  • The Grip of Sexual Violence: Reading United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Human Security, in Rethinking Peacekeeping, Gender Equality and Collective Security, 23 (Gina Heathcote & Dianne Otto, Palgrave, 2014). View article
  • Self-Critique, (Anti) Politics and Criminalization: Reflections on the History and Trajectory of the Human Rights Movement, in New Approaches to International Law: The European and the American Experiences, 41 (José María Beneyto & David Kennedy , editors, Asser Press, 2012). View Article

Full list of publications…