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Karen L. Engle

  • Minerva House Drysdale Regents Chair in Law
  • Founder and Co-Director, Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice


  • JD Harvard
  • BA Baylor

KAREN ENGLE is Minerva House Drysdale Regents Chair in Law and Founder and Co-director of the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice. She is also an affiliated faculty member of Latin American Studies and of Women's and Gender Studies. She teaches courses and specialized seminars in public international law, international human rights law and employment discrimination.

Professor Engle received her J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School and her undergraduate degree from Baylor University. Following law school, she clerked for Judge Jerre S. Williams on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, and then served as a post-doctoral Ford Fellow in Public International Law at Harvard Law School. She was Professor of Law at the University of Utah prior to joining the University of Texas.

Professor Engle writes and lectures extensively on international human rights law. She is author of The Elusive Promise of Indigenous Development: Rights, Culture, Strategy (Duke University Press, 2010), which received the Best Book Award from the American Political Science Association Section on Human Rights. Other recent publications include "On Fragile Architecture: The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the Context of Human Rights" (European Journal of International Law, 2011), "The Force of Shame" (in Rethinking Rape Law)(Routledge, 2010)(with Annelies Lottmann), "Indigenous Rights Claims in International Law: Self-Determination, Culture and Development" (in Handbook of International Law)(Routledge, 2009), "Judging Sex in War" (Michigan Law Review, 2008), "Calling in the Troops: The Uneasy Relationship Among Human Rights, Women's Rights and Humanitarian Intervention" (Harvard Human Rights Journal, 2007), and "Feminism and Its (Dis)contents: Criminalizing War-Time Rape in Bosnia and Herzegovina" (American Journal of International Law, 2005). Professor Engle received a Bellagio Residency Fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation in 2009 and an assignment as a Fulbright Senior Specialist in Bogota in 2010.

Recent Publications

  • Self-Critique, (Anti) Politics and Criminalization: Reflections on the History and Trajectory of the Human Rights Movement, in New Approaches to International Law: The European and the American Experiences, 41 (José María Beneyto & David Kennedy , editors, Asser Press, 2012). View Article
  • Celebrity Diplomacy and Global Citizenship, 3 Celebrity Studies 116 (2012). View Article
  • La Esquiva Promesa de Desarrollo Para las Comunidades Afrodescendientes: El Futuro de la Ley 70, in Revista de Derecho Público, No. 26, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia, 2011. View Article

Full list of publications…

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Photo credit: Bret Gerbe

Contact Information

Karen L. Engle

Work (512) 232-7066

Fax (512) 471-6988

Office: JON 6.240
The University of Texas at Austin
727 E Dean Keeton Street
Austin, TX 78705

Faculty Assistant

William B. Chandler
(512) 232-4857

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