Research & Scholarship

The Wisconsin Approach

    Faculty Activities and Scholarship

  • Mitra Sharafi gave a paper at the "Locating Forensic Science and Medicine" conference in London. Her paper, "Blood Testing and Fear of the False in Colonial India," examines the history of precipitin blood testing, a form of blood-testing used in the 20th century to determine the species of origin of a blood stain and identify fabricated evidence that involved animal blood. The conference was co-sponsored by the Universities of Manchester and Notre Dame.

  • Alta Charo's article, "Yellow lights for emerging technologies," outlines more flexible and responsive forms of regulation for emerging science and technologies, where traditional risk/benefit evaluation is difficult or impossible. The article appears in the July 24 issue of Science.

  • Thomas Mitchell's article, "Reforming Property Law to Address Devastating Land Loss," is reviewed in the July/August edition of Probate and Property, a publication of the American Bar Association. Mitchell's article on tenancy-in-common ownership rules, and the need to reform them, appeared in the Alabama Law Review.

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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