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Alison Dundes Renteln

Professor of Political Science, Anthropology, Public Policy and Law

Contact Information
Phone: (213) 740-3248
Office: VKC 231A



J.D. , University of Southern California, 1991
Ph.D. Jurisprudence and Social Policy, University of California, Berkeley, 1987
M.A. , University of California, Berkeley, 1985
B.A. History and Literature of Modern Europe, Harvard, 1981

Academic Appointment, Affiliation, and Employment History

Visiting and Temporary Appointments

Fellow, Human Rights Consortium, School of Advanced Study, University of London, 04/21/2014-07/21/2014  
Walter S. Owen and Douglas McK. Brown Visiting Chair in Law , University of British Columbia Law Faculty, 02/03/2014-02/14/2014  
Fellow, Stanford Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS), Fall 2013   

Other Employment

Joint Appointment, Gould School of Law, 01/01/2012-  
Fellow, USC Center for Public Diplomacy, 2012-  
Joint Appointment, Sol Price School of Public Policy, 08/01/2011-  
Affiliated Faculty Member in American Studies and Ethnicity, USC, 08/30/2009-  
Distinguished Faculty Fellow, Center for Excellence in Teaching, 08/15/2005-  

Description of Research

Summary Statement of Research Interests

Professor Renteln studies international law, human rights, comparative legal systems, Constitutional law and legal and political theory. An expert on cultural rights, including the use of the "cultural defense" in the legal system. Professor Renteln has lectured to judicial organizations and law enforcement groups on this subject. She served on the State Bar Commission on Access to Justice and the California Judicial Council Access and Fairness Advisory Committee. She also served as a member of the California Attorney General's Commission on Hate Crimes.

Research Specialties

International Law, Human Rights, Comparative Law, Constitutional Law, Political and Legal Theory

Affiliations with Research Centers, Labs, and Other Institutions

Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics,
USC Center for Law, History, and Culture,
USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture
USC Delinquency Control Institute,



Teays, W., Gordon, J., Renteln, A. D. (2014). Global Bioethics and Human Rights. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.
Renteln, A. D., Nafziger, J., Paterson, R. (2010). Cultural Law: International, Comparative, and Indigenous. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Foblets, M. C., Renteln, A. D. (2009). Multicultural Jurisprudence: Comparative Perspectives on the Cultural Defense. (Marie-Claire Foblets and Alison Dundes Renteln, Ed.). Oxford, U.K.: Hart Publishing.

Book Chapter

Martinez, M. A., Renteln, A. D. (2014). Human Rights and Art. The SAGE Handbook of Human Rights pp. 20. London: Sage Publications.


Renteln, A. D. The Cultural Defense (Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2005), Oxford University Press, 2004.

Honors and Awards

Lesher Family Scholarship in honor of Professor Renteln, 6/30/2006-  
Fellow, Human Rights Consortium, University of London School for Advanced Study, Spring 2014   
Residency at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Fall 2013   
Mellon Award for Excellence in Mentoring for undergraduates, 2010-2011   
USC Phi Kappa Phi Faculty Recognition Award, Phi Kappa Phi Faculty Recognition Award for Creativity in Research, 2005-2006   
USC Associates Award For Excellence In Teaching, 2005  
Mellon Award for Excellence in Mentoring, 2005  
Remarkable Woman Award, 2004-2005   
Mortar Board Teaching Award, 1994-1995   

Service to the University

Administrative Appointments

Chair, 08/16/2011-08/15/2012  
Vice Chair and Director, Unruh Institute of Politics, 08/16/2005-08/15/2007  
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