Alison Dundes Renteln

Political scientist with expertise in cultural issues, constitutional rights and American politics

Professor of Political Science, USC Dornsife College

Faculty Fellow, Center for Excellence in Teaching


  • international law and human rights
  • cultural defense (the relevance of cultural background in court cases)
  • cultural diversity, ethnic identity and the law
  • constitutional law
  • U.S. politics
  • political and legal theory
  • legal anthropology
  • the comparative judicial process (folk law and legal pluralism)
  • legal issues relating to ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples
  • human rights in national and international politics
  • same-sex marriage
  • global women’s rights issues, including female genital mutilation and honor killings
  • civil rights, women’s rights, children’s rights, prisoners’ rights, the rights of people with disabilities
  • religious freedom
  • reparations and government apologies
  • the use of torture by governments
  • truth commissions
  • the world court

Additional Information

  • Author, The Cultural Defense (2004) and International Human Rights: Universalism versus Relativism (1990)
  • Co-editor, Folk Law: Essays on the Theory and Practice of Lex Non Scripta (1994)


  • French