Research & Scholarship

The Wisconsin Approach

    Faculty Activities and Scholarship

  • Mitra Sharafi was one of seven storytellers speaking on the theme of law and promises at the Live Law show held in Seattle over the Law and Society Association conference weekend. Sharafi told a story about a research trip she made to Myanmar in 2007.

  • Lisa Alexander presented her article, "Occupying the Constitutional Right to Housing," (forthcoming in the Nebraska Law Review) at Harvard Law School’s Institute for Global Law and Policy's June 2015 Conference. Alexander presented on a panel titled, "Occupations as a Means of Enforcing, Asserting and Creating Law," which included scholars from Harvard Law School, MIT, and Fordham Law School, as well as the former U.N. Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing.

  • Cecelia Klingele's article, "Rethinking the Use of Community Supervision," was featured in the May 2015 issue of The Champion, the magazine of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Klingele's article appears as part of the magazine's "Getting Scholarship into Court Project," which identifies scholarship that will be especially useful to courts and practitioners.

Wisconsin faculty members share a commitment to excellence in research, embracing a wide variety of substantive concerns and methodological approaches. The faculty has long been known for its interest in interdisciplinary work and for its commitment to a law-in-action approach to scholarship.

For Wisconsin scholars, no matter how interesting or elegant the underlying theory, Wisconsin's law-in-action approach challenges them to answer the question: "Why should this matter to people in the real world?" In contrast to legal scholars whose work is theory-based, Wisconsin scholars tend to begin with an observed, real-world problem or phenomenon and then seek to explain it and to put it into a larger theoretical context.

Much of the research undertaken at Wisconsin is devoted to explaining how law and legal institutions work and often to understanding why law and legal institutions might not be working as intended. The Wisconsin faculty contextualizes law, studying it as one of many social processes that may shape behavior. Many faculty members are active in the Law & Society Association, an international organization of scholars who study the interrelation of society and the legal process; indeed, the current Wisconsin faculty includes three LSA past presidents.

The work of the Wisconsin faculty is not geographically bounded. Though a majority study U.S. law, a growing number explore law in less familiar settings and are focusing their research on the workings of law in countries throughout the world.

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