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Richard Ashby Wilson

Professor of Anthropology and Law, Gladstein Distinguished Chair of Human Rights, University of Connecticut

Richard Ashby Wilson is the Gladstein Distinguished Chair of Human Rights and Professor of Law and Anthropology at UConn Law School, and founding director of the Human Rights Institute at UConn.

Wilson studies international human rights, and in particular post-conflict justice institutions such as truth and reconciliation commissions and international criminal tribunals. His research on truth commissions focused on how successor governments seek to write history and to forestall retributive justice. His most recent book, Writing History in International Criminal Trials, selected by Choice in 2012 as an “Outstanding Academic Title” in the law category, analyzed the ways in which international prosecutors and defense attorneys marshal historical evidence to advance their case. His current project, Propaganda On Trial: the law and social science of international speech crimes, combines law and empirical approaches, including psychology and qualitative interviews, to understand recent efforts by international courts to prosecute political leaders for inciting genocide and instigating war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Having received his BSc. and Ph.D. from the London School of Economics and Political Science, Professor Wilson held fulltime faculty positions at the Universities of Essex and Sussex, as well as visiting professorships at the Free University-Amsterdam, University of Oslo, the New School for Social Research, and the University of Witwatersand, South Africa. He has held prestigious fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. He currently teaches international criminal law and an interdisciplinary graduate level course on the anthropology, history, law and philosophy of human rights. He has consulted for various policy agencies including UNICEF in Sierra Leone and he served as Chair of the Connecticut State Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights from 2009-2013, during which time the Committee focused attention on high school dropout rates and racial profiling in police traffic stops.

His latest book is Propaganda On Trial: The Law and Social Science of International Speech Crimes (Cambridge UP).


  • –present
    Professor of Anthropology and Law, University of Connecticut