Alison Dundes Renteln is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Southern California where she teaches Law and Public Policy. A graduate of Harvard-Radcliffe, she has a Ph.D. in Jurisprudence and Social Policy from Boalt Hall and a J.D. from the USC Law Center. During 1981-82 she studied International Law at the London School of Economics.
At USC she is affiliated with the Center on Religion and Civic Culture, the Center on Law, History, and Culture, and the Center on Excellence in Teaching. She is a Faculty Fellow at Parkside and has been involved in Residential Life programs since she joined the USC Faculty in 1987.
Her publications include two books, International Human Rights: Universalism Versus Relativism (1990) and a two volume work co-edited with Alan Dundes, Folk Law Essays in the Theory and Practice of Lex Non Scripta (1994, cloth; paper 1995) and numerous articles. Her most recent book, The Cultural Defense, will be published this year by Oxford University Press.
During 1995-1996 Professor Renteln was the Acting Director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC. Professor Renteln has taught seminars on the right to cultural identification and expression for judges, lawyers, court interpreters, and police officers. She served on the Access to Justice Commission of the State Bar Association, the Access and Fairness Committee of the California Judicial Council and the Attorney General’s Hate Crimes Commission.
For two years she was a core member of the Working Group on Ethnic Customs, Assimilation, and American Law of the Social Science Research Council and worked with the United Nations Division of Social Policy and Development on the implementation of policies guaranteeing the rights of persons with disabilities.
Professor Renteln is a member of the American Political Science Association, the American Society of Comparative Law, the American Society of International Law, the Commission on Folk Law and Legal Pluralism, the International Law Association (American branch; she is on the Executive Council), and the Law and Society Association.
Professor Renteln is married to Paul Alexander Renteln, a theoretical physicist. They have two sons, David (12) and Michael (10).