In the Discipline: Law and Courts

The Law and Courts section suffers from a lack of diversity and inclusion. This lack of diversity arises significantly in two main areas: 1) the lack of diversity of its membership and 2) lack of inclusion of scholarship, particularly scholarship that does not focus on U.S. judicial behavior.

Specifically, Reid and Curry (2019) find that women reflect only 35% of the Law and Courts membership, and nearly 90% of membership identifies as non-Hispanic white. Only 11% of Law and Courts membership are women of color, and 90% of men in the Law and Court section identify as non-Hispanic white. Similarly, the history of the Law and Courts section has revealed a predisposition to focus mainly on US courts, thereby relegating other types of courts, law, and regions to comparative political science and international relations. The effect of this is that scholars who would otherwise fit well within the section decide to pursue careers in comparative politics and international relations as they do not see their research interests reflected in the section. Second, it means that scholarship is compartmentalized in such a way that law and courts scholarship is unable to inform each other. The lack of dialogue in research means that theoretical innovation is stunted , scholarly collaboration remains hindered, research output maintains limited relevance beyond arbitrary-defined subfields. Furthermore, this compartmentalization reinforces epistemological and methodological divides as well as academic tendencies to other and exclude contributions from Global South (in terms of both scholars and scholarship).

This lack of representation–which extends to other identities and dimensions of diversity–and siloing of US-centric versus not are both normatively problematic and negatively impact the ability of the section to produce innovative, creative, interdisciplinary, and meaningful scholarship that has relevance to people and communities across and beyond the United States. While systemic reforms are necessary, I strive to offer some resources for interested faculty, scholars, and students.

Women of Color Law & Courts Email List

The Women of Color Law & Courts email list is an informal group of women of color postdoctoral scholars and faculty (at all ranks) who research and study law and courts. The goal of the list is for WOC Law & Courts scholars to connect, share research, and share resources that promote the development and retention of WOC faculty.  If you would like to join the Women of Color Law & Courts email list or have any questions please contact email list organizer Dr. Gbemende Johnson at gxjohnso@hamilton.edu

International and Comparative Law & Courts Email List

The International and Comparative Law & Courts group is a collaborative network where scholars studying law and courts around the world can interact. This network offers a platform to coordinate junior and senior scholars from around the world to engage in collaboration, mentorship, networking, and research feedback. It welcomes scholars who study international law and courts, transitional justice, transnational courts, and criminal justice systems, among others. As such, we define the study of law and legal systems broadly so as to offer an inclusive space for all scholars. We also hope that this space will help graduate students and prospective graduate students to identify and pursue their research and career interests. If you, or someone you know, may be interested in joining this group (or would like more information), please contact Dr. Rebecca Reid at rareid@utep.edu.