Research & Scholarship

The Wisconsin Approach

    Faculty Activities and Scholarship

  • Alta Charo's article, "On the Road (to a Cure?): Stem Cell Tourism and Lessons for Gene Editing," was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in February.

  • In February, Susannah Tahk presented "The Tax War on Poverty," as part of the Institute for Research on Poverty's Meet the New Affiliate seminar series.

  • Alta Charo was a member of the committee that authored, "Mitochondrial Replacement Techniques: Ethical, Social and Policy Considerations," a report for the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine. In the report, the committee offers guarded approval of a groundbreaking reproductive technology that makes it possible to combine genetic material from three people. The goal is to avoid passing on certain severe diseases to children, but the technology is controversial because it opens the door to future uses that include making genetic changes that will be inherited for generations to come. Video of the briefing, which was held February 3, is available online.

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.

Log in to edit