- Human Rights
- International Criminal Tribunals
- Post Conflict Justice
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) “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.
Professor Richard Wilson attended a symposium entitled "Hate Propaganda at International Criminal Tribunals" at Northumbria University in Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom, on Feb. 10 and 11, 2020. The symposium aimed to address the way in which the legal sphere has lagged behind other disciplines in its analysis of the affect of propaganda, specifically focused on the necessity of an improved approach to dealing with the phenomenon of hate and fear propaganda at international criminal tribunals. Wilson spoke on two panels, the first titled "The Nature, Manifestations and Effects of Hate and Fear Propaganda" and the second called "Hate Propaganda in the Era of Social Media." He also chaired a panel titled "Advocacy of Hatred in International Criminal Law."
Professor Richard A. Wilson will speak at an American Bar Association conference on cyberspace in Washington, D.C., on May 21, 2019. The all-day event, "#Cyberspace IRL: Rule of Law Approaches to Virtual Threats" will be held at the U.S. Institute of Peace. Wilson will speak on a panel of experts discussing "The Tipping Point: When is Cyber Incitement Responsible for Violence? (the cases of Burma/Myanmar and Guatemala)" where he will explain the results of his research done with students from UConn Law's Human Rights and International Law Clinic.