Richard A. Wilson
Gladstein Distinguished Chair of Human Rights
Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor, Law and Anthropology
Richard Ashby Wilson is the Gladstein Distinguished Chair of Human Rights, Board of Trustees Professor of Law and Anthropology, and founding director of the Human Rights Institute. He presently serves as the Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Intellectual Life at the University of Connecticut School of Law.
Wilson is the author or editor of eleven books on anthropology, international human rights, truth and reconciliation commissions, and international criminal tribunals. His articles have been published in peer-reviewed social science journals as well as law reviews, as well as in media outlets such as The Guardian, The Independent, The Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post. He served as the editor of the journal Anthropological Theory and associate editor of the Journal of Human Rights.
His book Writing History in International Criminal Trials, selected by Choice in 2012 as an “Outstanding Academic Title,” analyzed the ways in which international prosecutors and defense attorneys marshal historical evidence to advance their cases. His latest book Incitement on Trial: Prosecuting International Speech Crimes (Cambridge University Press, 2017) integrates the international law and social science of hate speech, advances a new way of thinking about how speech contributes to genocide and crimes against humanity, and reconceptualizes criminal liability for incitement as a form of complicity.
Having received his BSc. Econ. and Ph.D. from the London School of Economics and Political Science, Professor Wilson held 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 the Witwatersrand. He has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Russell Sage Foundation, and the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.
He is committed to engaged scholarship and bringing his research into contemporary legal and policy debates about civil rights, human rights, freedom of expression, and racial and economic injustice. From 2009-2013, he served as Chair of the Connecticut State Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, during which time the Commission focused on racial profiling in traffic stops and the achievement gap in high schools. In 2021, he was appointed by the governor of the state of Connecticut to the Hate Crimes Advisory Council, and he chairs the Hate Crimes Reporting and Data Analysis Subcommittee. He serves on the international advisory board of the Human Rights Quarterly and The Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice, as well as the Scientific Oversight Board of the International Nuremberg Principles Academy, and the Community Advisory Board of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science.
Presently he is working on a research project on incitement and hate speech on social media.