Writing

This website archives my academic writing in the fields of law & society and the history of sociology, as well as book reviews, my public writing as a consultant and other occasional pieces.

The focus of my work in law & society is how law works as a knowledge system, especially judge-made law in the powerful U.S. federal courts. My dissertation was a study of refugee status determination case law in the U.S. I posed two basic questions: Why are formally identical questions of law answered differently in different social contexts? Why do some legal interpretive questions remain unsettled, while others become settled or pass uncontested through appellate court cases? In asylum law in the U.S., suggestive interpretive disputes emerge at every level at which dispute is possible: within panels, within courts over time, across the Courts of Appeals with equal jurisprudential authority (“Circuit Court splits”) and in cases overturned in the judicial hierarchy.

In the domain of history of sociology, I have written on the development of theory and method in the early and mid-twentieth century.