Faculty Spotlight

Professor Halewood Explores Human Rights, Law and Justice, and ‘Politics of Difference’

Peter Halewood

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What happens when our differences become politicized and are expressed in violent and aggressive acts? How are injustices lessened or perhaps reinforced before reaching a tipping point for legal intervention? And what roles do our social institutions play in the process?

Those are among the questions at the heart of "The Politics of Difference and the Threshold of Law," a multidisciplinary conference in law and the humanities co-organized by Albany Law School Professor Peter Halewood, whose own research interests include activism and social justice in higher education.  

"We will explore the ways in which differences — racial, gender, sexuality, disability, linguistic, religious etc. are targeted for discrimination or violence, and how universities, churches, and workplaces confront these issues before our legal system catches up," Professor Halewood said. "And we will look at how law is at best a partial and erratic source of remedy for such discrimination or violence, and may in some cases reinforce the politicization of difference, and how this dynamic is represented and/or reinforced in literature, film, the arts, or popular culture."

The conference, co-presented with the Liberal Studies Program at the University at Albany, will be held March 31 and April 1, 2017 at Albany Law School. Professor Donna Young of Albany Law and Professor Charles Shepherdson of UAlbany are among the co-organizers. Contributors include Albany Law School Professors Sarah Rogerson, Keith Hirokawa, Anthony Paul Farley, and Vincent Bonventre.

That's not the only project on Professor Halewood's plate. He also:

  • is co-authoring a law review article with Professor Donna Young, "Power, Precarity and Purpose in Higher Education," which is forthcoming in John Marshall Law Review. It connects troubles facing higher education — corporatization, waning enrollments, bias against expertise and perceived elitism, hostile reaction to student protests and dissent on campuses, and others — to threats to academic freedom, urging that law schools in particular seize the moment to reinject legal education with a renewed focus on social justice;

  • published "Campus Activism and Competing Racial Narratives" in Academe (AAUP, 2016) and "Legal Studies: Teaching Law in the Age of Globalization" in Global Synergies (UAlbany Center for International Education and Global Strategy, 2016);

  • has delivered health and human rights trainings — along with Albany Law Professors Sarah Rogerson and Robert Heverly — to audiences in the Middle East as part of a USAID-funded project with the UAlbany Global Institute for Health and Human Rights (GIHHR);

  • is a guest lecturer in UAlbany's Health and Human Rights course and is an affiliated faculty member at the GIHHR. He sits on the Advisory Board for the GIHHR, helping to set priorities for research and collaboration for the Institute;

  • is faculty liaison for the New York State Bar Association-Albany Law School summer internships abroad program, which has secured internships in Buenos Aires, Asuncion, Mexico City, Panama City, San Jose, and Vienna for 2017. The program exposes students to global legal issues and helps them gain valuable experiences that they can leverage in their careers;

  • is consulting with the UAlbany Center for International Development on a potential USAID-funded rule of law project in South Asia;

  • serves as campus advisor for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, and faculty advisor to the International Law Society and National Lawyers Guild at Albany Law School;

  • was elected Secretary of the AALS Section on International Human Rights at the January 2017 AALS Annual Meeting in San Francisco, where he helped organize two panels, "Human Rights Outside the West" and "Domestic Humanitarian Law";

  • and is researching and teaching International Business Transactions, along with International Trade Law and International Intellectual Property Law.

Professor Halewood has taught at Albany Law School since 1994. He previously worked in the health law department of the Ontario Attorney General's office and as a law clerk to the Justices of the Court of Appeal for Ontario in Toronto, Canada. After law school, he was awarded an Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt human rights fellowship and worked both in the litigation department of the firm and later at the Law and Society Trust in Colombo, Sri Lanka on constitutional reform projects. During his post-graduate study at Columbia Law School, he was the Julius Silver Fellow in Law, Science, & Technology, researching biotechnology and property in the human body, and was also an Associate Editor of the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law.

Professor Halewood was a visiting professor at Osgoode Hall Law School and at the University of Paris X, and a visiting scholar at University of Rome III Faculty of Law. He has consulted with the International Development Law Organization in Rome, Italy on distance learning in international trade law with audiences in Kenya, Uganda, and Mozambique, and on a USAID grant implementing legal training on economic, social and cultural rights abroad.

His research, which he has presented at conferences around the United States and abroad, addresses voting rights, race and law, property law and commodification, food insecurity, international trade and commercial law, and human rights law.

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