2017-2018 ILS Law and Society Graduate Fellows

Isabel AnadonIsabel Anadon
Isabel Anadon is currently a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her current research focuses on international migration focusing on state policy formation and the role of state and non-state actors in shaping law and policy. She currently is developing a theoretical framework to understand the role migrant sending countries play in shaping international migration through passage of national immigration laws.

Before coming to Madison to pursue a PhD, she assisted local Chicago communities and NGOs in influencing policy and legal processes within Illinois state government. This included efforts such as the development and eventual passage of Illinois law providing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants. Isabel’s previous work spanned immigration policy issues including integration, education, federal immigration policy and access to health care. Isabel has a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Chicago and a dual B.A. in Anthropology and Psychology from the University of Notre Dame.

Cynthia FaridCynthia Farid
Cynthia Farid is a doctoral candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School. Her research interests include a range of topics including legal history, legal theory, human rights, constitutional law and law and development. Prior to her current role in UW-Madison, Cynthia has professional experience working in legal practice as well as international development work comprising a range of human rights and rule of law programming with NGOs, INGOs, think tanks, and legal rights organizations. Having completed her bar in the UK and Bangladesh, she graduated with an LL.M from Cornell University.

Her doctoral project examines South Asian legal systems and contemporary discourses around legal and judicial reform. In particular, her project will look at the extent of Indian participation in the legal discourse around administrative and procedural reform during the late colonial period and trace continuities of these developments in contemporary South Asian states. The export of legal institutions became extensive political projects during the colonial period inspiring large-scale reform—a practice that continues in new forms in the contemporary era of globalization. These do not reflect past violence, injustices or the unequal structures upon which these legal regimes were built. This project will attempt to uncover some of these lost narratives through investigation of historical data and unearth how legal agents have contributed to discursive formations of legal institutions. These may be captured in the legislative and administrative debates between legal actors about reforming key institutions, including civil courts and related procedural laws. Judicial recruitment policies may also reveal how existing laws were applied and implemented in colonial India. The project aims to locate the roots of contemporary reform discourses within this history and trace continuities of these institutions across the colonial, postcolonial and to some extent the post-development era. In so doing, this project hopes to engage in archival, comparative and socio-legal methodologies and in line with the Law and Society Association’s recent turn to internationalization, contribute to the study of law and society in South Asia from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Daanika GordonDaanika Gordon
Daanika Gordon is a doctoral candidate in the department of sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Her research interests broadly span the sociology of law, race and ethnicity, and urban sociology. More specifically, she studies how legal institutions produce symbolic boundaries that in turn constitute the basis of inequalities in the state’s service provision and social control. In her dissertation, she explores the processes by which different places in the city come to experience divergent styles of policing. The project examines the case of an urban Midwestern police department’s redistricting process and uses a multi-method approach including in-depth interviews, ethnographic observation, and descriptive statistical analysis. It first identifies the actors and interests that construct citywide policing priorities. It then examines the consequences of these priorities on the social organization of policing at the district-level and the on-the-ground activities of police officers. In addition to exploring sources of potential divergence in policing practices, this project further theorizes the social construction of urban spaces. By centering a reform that partitioned the city along meaningful axes and allocated resources on the basis of these divisions, it identifies the processes that actively produce divergent symbolic and material qualities of place.

Daanika’s other research focuses on both criminal and civil legal settings. In a previous study, she used ethnographic and interview data to explore the role that family analogy plays in the governance strategies of a drug treatment court. In addition, as a project assistant for Professor Tonya Brito and Professor David Pate, she contributes to a study that utilizes qualitative methods to examine how different models of legal assistance affect child support enforcement proceedings for low-income litigants. Daanika received her B.A. in sociology and development studies from the University of California, Berkeley.

Walker KahnWalker Kahn
Walker Kahn is a graduate student in Community & Environmental Sociology at University of Wisconsin-Madison and a JD student at the University of Wisconsin Law School. He is a graduate fellow at the Institute for Research on Poverty as well as the Institute for Legal Studies. His current research focuses on financialization, civil rights, the structure of consumer credit markets, and commodity chain connections linking lenders and borrowers. Previously he has worked on corporate governance, shareholder value, and corporate social responsibility.

Ben PowerBen Power
Ben Power is a doctoral candidate in the Political Science Department at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. His research explores the nature of privacy in the digital era, with a particular focus on how rapid technological change challenges existing structures of internet governance. The case of digital privacy shows how the rules, institutions, and practices of governance on the internet are conditioned not just by the preferences of states and large corporations, but also by change in the underlying technological foundation of the internet. The relative ease with which a small number of ideologically driven individuals – often motivated by libertarian principles – can introduce highly disruptive technological change means that the internet is an inherently unstable governance environment.

Ben’s doctoral research problematizes a range of regimes relating to consumer surveillance on the internet. These include growing anti-surveillance sentiment following the Snowden revelations of 2013, the rise of anonymous browsing software such as The Onion Router (TOR), and burgeoning applications of blockchain technologies – particularly cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and darknet markets like Silk Road. Each of these cases illustrates how a small group of ideologically motivated activists can significantly disrupt the technological foundation of the internet, opening space for new challenges to existing governance regimes. Such ideologically-driven innovation can be seen as a form of rule-making in its own right, deeply interconnected with the formal governance processes of the global cyber regime complex.

Prior to commencing study at UW Ben worked on a range of development programs with the Delegation of the European Union to Timor-Leste, as a research assistant on corporate human rights issues at the Sydney University Law School, and on e-Health and electronic procurement policies for state and federal governments in Australia. He completed the Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) at the Australian National University in 2010, earning the University Medal for Political Science, and the Master of International Law at Sydney University in 2012.

Camilla ReuterswaerdCamilla Reuterswaerd
Camilla Reuterswaerd is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her work focuses on gender policy in Latin America but she also holds broader interests in issues related to violence against women, religion and politics and social movements. Her dissertation project analyzes the determinants behind subnational variation in abortion and same-sex rights policy and the mechnaisms taht drive horizontal policy diffusion in federal states with an empircal focus on Mexico. Camilla has a Bachelor degree in Development Studies from the Department of Government at Uppsala University and a Master's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her work has appeared in Development and Change.

Michael RollMichael Roll
Michael Roll is a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His research focuses on organizational and political change and social movements in the Global South as well as the transnational dimensions of these processes. His dissertation “Rebel Bureaucracies: Corruption Networks, Organizational Change, and Effective Government Agencies in Nigeria” is based on years of living, working, and conducting fieldwork in West Africa. It explores why some government agencies are much less corrupt and deliver public services more effectively than others in the same context. The analytical focus is on how personal backgrounds, cultural meanings, collective dynamics, and transnational networks contributed to the transformation of these ‘positive outliers.’ In another project, Michael investigates how vigilante movements emerge and change over time. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the Mellon Foundation, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

With a B.Phil. in social anthropology from Stellenbosch University (South Africa) and an M.A. in sociology from Bielefeld University (Germany), Michael previously worked with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) in international development cooperation. More information about his work is available at www.michaelroll.net.

Lauren SuerthLauren Suerth
My research is grounded in the urban planning and policy professions and my methods employ pragmatic philosophy and symbolic interactionism. I investigate developments within the community food system and how governments codify those innovations into the web of food system policies. I believe that applied and evaluation research must recognize the interactions between people, place, and policy as well as the connections among federal, state, and local laws. Within this context, land use policies are an internal and emergent feature of communities, and I am particularly interested in how community food systems interact with the web of federal, state, and local policies.

My pre-dissertation pilot study evaluated the legal consciousness of community farmers to understand how, where, and with what effect they mobilize food system policy. The findings describe the chain of relationships between the policy user (i.e., farmer) and the policy-maker (i.e., government entity). This research contributes to the study of law and society because it reinforces the premise that legal meanings emerge from the interplay of actors, objects and law. Law is a process and the relative stability of social and institutional environments impact legal consciousness and vice versa. My dissertation will build upon this study to develop a better understanding of land access issues among community farmers.

I am using the the Institute for Legal Studies fellowship to advance my research for academic- and practice-oriented audiences and to further embody pragmatism and social-legal theory. It is also an opportunity to establish roots with the law and society intellectual community and to steep myself in a tradition that provides many opportunities.  

Di WangDi Wang
I am currently a doctoral student in the Sociology Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before entering the PhD program, I received my M.A. degree in Gender and Women’s Studies at UW-Madison and my B.A. degree in International Relations at Xiamen University. My research interests are in the areas of legal consciousness, social movement, gender and sexuality with an empirical focus on China. My dissertation is a study of grey-area activism. It focuses on how marginalized communities (queer women) can mobilize around law-related issues (LGBTQ and NGO activities) under an authoritarian regime (China). I define “grey-area” as a negotiating site among contesting interpretations of what is legal. To shed new light on scholarship of legal consciousness, mobilization and coalition-building, I move away from simply observing (dis)obedience and resistance to “law on the books” towards understanding relational processes by which communities contextualize “law in action.” How does variation in political context within one nation-state impact these processes and shape local activism in the grey-area? My dissertation is a multi-sited ethnography in three Chinese metropolises with different patterns of political “greyness” in regards to three key factors for queer women’s activism, namely state control, NGO network strength, and gender norms. I compare how queer feminist activists construct legality to justify their collective action, consolidate communities, and build coalitions across regions.

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