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Professor Meera Deo to Be Visiting Scholar at Berkeley Law Center

July 26, 2013

Meera Deo Berkeley

This fall TJSL Professor Meera Deo will be a Visiting Scholar at Berkeley Law’s Center for the Study of Law & Society (CSLS).

“The position is an opportunity for me to collaborate and exchange with other scholars working on interdisciplinary and empirical research that focuses on law and society,” says Professor Deo.  “It is also an opportunity for that school to learn more about our wonderful faculty (with me as ambassador) and for me to share with the TJSL community what I learn through the process.”

As a Visiting Scholar, Professor Deo will be continuing development of her most recent empirical project, the Diversity in Legal Academia (DLA) research study. DLA uses an intersectionality framework to identify unique challenges and opportunities facing the female law faculty of color, as individuals with identity characteristics that tend to be devalued in traditional law school settings. The project utilizes survey and interview data from law faculty members, focusing on women of color while including for comparison white women, white men, and men of color. The study hypothesizes that 1) women of color will have greater responsibilities for child/elder care competing with work; 2) structural discrimination will impede their opportunities for professional advancement; and 3) they will nevertheless enjoy unique benefits based on race and gender.

DLA is especially important today, as women of color remain severely underrepresented in the legal academy. Nationwide, there are only 772 female law professors of color, out of 10,995 total. Faculty diversity may play an especially critical role in educating students and preparing them for practice. By better understanding faculty diversity, Professor Deo hopes to improve outcomes not only for female faculty of color, for also for students, institutions, and society at large.

According to Berkeley Law’s website: “The Visiting Scholars Program is one of CSLS’s most important and fruitful activities, enriching current scholarship and stimulating new research ideas in a “unique interdisciplinary and international research environment,” in the words of one recent visitor. In recent years, CSLS has welcomed some 25 visiting scholars annually from the U.S. and many other countries, in a range of disciplines, including law, political science, sociology, criminology, history, public administration and communications.” 

Professor Deo will continue teaching all year at TJSL in addition to her new duties at Berkeley.