Alison Renteln

Professor of Political Science, Anthropology, Public Policy and Law

Alison Dundes Renteln is Professor of Political Science, Anthropology, Law, and Public Policy at USC. She studies international law, human rights, comparative legal systems, Constitutional law, and legal and political theory.  She worked with colleagues to establish Minors (Law and Society; Human Rights) and a Center for Law, History, and Culture.  Alison received the campus-wide teaching award, Mellon mentoring awards, and a J.D. from USC. 

Her publications include International Human Rights, The Cultural Defense, Cultural Law, and six coedited volumes.  Alison has been a fellow at the Center for the Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (2013), Human Rights Consortium at the Institute for Advanced Study, University of London (2014). She held a Visiting Chair in Law at the University of British Columbia (2014), and was the Vice Chancellor’s ‘Australia and the World’ Visiting Fellow at Australian National University (2019). 

 An expert on cultural rights, including the use of the “cultural defense” in the legal system, Alison has lectured to judicial organizations, the ABA, court interpreters, and law enforcement groups on this subject. She served on several civil rights commissions, collaborated with the UN on disability rights, and taught comparative legal ethics at ABA-sponsored conferences in Asia. 

 LSA has been Alison’s interdisciplinary home since she received her Ph.D. in Jurisprudence and Social Policy from Berkeley. Within LSA she has chaired committees for the International Prize (2012-13, 2016-17), Best Dissertation (2013-14), Law and Society Review Book Review Editor search (2014-15), and Best Article (2019-20).  She is on advisory boards of Law and Social Inquiry and the American Journal of Comparative Law.  Chair of the Committee on Professional Ethics for APSA, she actively participates in American Society of International Law committees and the ILA “Global Cultural Heritage Governance” committee.  She assesses grants for Research Chairs submitted to the Canadian SSHC and is on the consultative committee of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology. 

She wishes to make LSA even more diverse and inclusive.  Eager to expand mentoring and interested in establishing programs with judges, Alison would be delighted to serve as a Trustee. 


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