Richard A. Wilson

Gladstein Chair and Professor of Anthropology and Law

Richard Ashby Wilson is the Gladstein Distinguished Chair of Human Rights and Professor of Law and Anthropology at UConn School of Law, and founding director of the Human Rights Institute at UConn. Wilson is a scholar of human rights and transitional justice who currently teaches courses on law and society, post-conflict justice, and an interdisciplinary graduate level course on the anthropology, history, law and philosophy of human rights.

He is the author or editor of 11 books on international human rights, humanitarianism, truth and reconciliation commissions and international criminal tribunals. He wrote the definitive ethnographic study of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, The Politics of Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa (Cambridge University Press, 2001). His book Writing History in International Criminal Trials was selected by Choice in 2012 as an “Outstanding Academic Title” in the law category. His latest book, Incitement On Trial: Prosecuting International Speech Crimes (Cambridge University Press, 2017), explains why international criminal tribunals struggle to convict individuals for inciting speech and proposes a new model of prevention and punishment.

Having received his BSc. and Ph.D. from the London School of Economics and Political Science, Professor Wilson held full-time 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 Witwatersrand, South Africa. He has held prestigious fellowships from the Russell Sage Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities and Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. 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 to 2013, during which time the committee focused attention on high school dropout rates and racial profiling in police traffic stops.

Wilson is presently writing about on First Amendment issues in the United States, developing a law and social science research project on incitement, hate speech and hate crimes.

Richard Ashby Wilson (2017) Incitement On Trial: Prosecuting International Speech Crimes, (Cambridge University Press).

Richard Ashby Wilson (2016) “Propaganda and History in International Criminal Trials.” Journal of International Criminal Justice. 14(3):519-541.

Richard Ashby Wilson (2016) “Expert Evidence on Trial: Social Researchers in the International Criminal Courtroom.” American Ethnologist. Issue 43(4):730-744.

Richard Ashby Wilson (2015) “Inciting Genocide With Words.” Michigan Journal of International Law. Volume 36, Issue 2. Spring. pp.278-320.

Richard Wilson, Writing History in International Criminal Trials (Cambridge University Press, 2011)
Recent Faculty Notes
Richard Wilson to Speak at London School of Economics
Mar 6, 2019 -

Professor Richard A. Wilson will speak on the topic Human Rights Knowledges: A Pluralist and Legal Realist View at the London School of Economics on March 21, 2019. Wilson will discuss how innovations in law and technology fit into the broader realist framework.

Richard Wilson to Speak at Bryant University
Oct 30, 2018 -

Professor Richard Ashby Wilson will speak on November 1, 2018, on the topic "How to Deal With Hate: Balancing Security and Freedom of Speech" as part of the Global Studies Human Rights Speaker Series at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island. His presentation will begin at 3:30 p.m. in the university's Machtley Interfaith Center.

Richard Wilson Contributes Hate Speech Guidelines
Jul 17, 2018 -

Professor Richard Wilson co-authored new guidelines for the city of Hartford to apply in criminal speech cases. The recommendations are based on international law, and they seek to establish international standards on the municipal level. The guidelines outline best practices for investigating and prosecuting speech crimes. Additionally, the rules address how to monitor and investigate speech crimes on social media and in other new forms of media. 

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