top of page

Faculty Spotlight: Professor Brandon Paradise on Law As An Expression of American Civilization, Justice, And The Public Good


“​​My classes prompt students to wrestle with fundamental questions of justice and collective well-being and to explore the explicit and implicit knowledge claims that American law makes concerning human flourishing and the values we should collectively pursue.”

Professor Brandon Paradise has published leading articles on the intersection of race, law and religion and is a widely sought-after speaker on both issues of religious liberty and racial equality. He studied law at Yale Law School, church history at Union Theological Seminary and economics and philosophy at the University of Southern California. He is a McDonald Distinguished Fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University and a Nootbaar Institute Fellow at Pepperdine Caruso Law School. He is also a board member of the Institute for Studies of Eastern Christianity at Union Theological Seminary.


How does your research, scholarship or professional experience inspire your teaching? 

My research and scholarship primarily focus on the intersection of race, law and religion. A keen sense of the law as a primary means of organizing collective life and the indispensable importance of knowledge, including knowledge regarding what values and goals promote or hinder human flourishing, motivates my work on the complex interplay between race, law and religion. I teach a variety of courses, including classes covering areas of broad public concern, such as the First Amendment's speech and religion clauses, as well as race and the law. My classes prompt students to wrestle with fundamental questions of justice and collective well-being and to explore the explicit and implicit knowledge claims that American law makes concerning human flourishing and the values we should collectively pursue (for instance, freedom and equality). In this sense, my teaching, like my research, centers critical engagement with law as an expression of the answers American civilization has given to fundamental questions around justice and the public good.


What is one innovative or unique teaching practice you’d like to share? 

In smaller courses, I often break classes into small groups to discuss questions I craft based on the assigned reading. By facilitating student-led discussions on complex and polarizing topics, including affirmative action, reparations, free exercise exemptions to anti-discrimination law, and the use of school vouchers at religious schools, I aim to promote a learning environment characterized by a robust and candid exchange in which all participants are respected and their views rigorously considered. Reflecting my sense that law constitutes an artistic practice through which we can refashion collective life in new directions, I see law as a deeply human enterprise and an important means of understanding American society and imagining how our life together might be different. For this and other reasons, in facilitating student discussions I aim to lift up the value of each student’s experiences and perception of the law’s impact on their lives and their families and communities.


How does this work advance the university's mission as a publicly engaged anchor institution?  

Much of my teaching focuses on exploring legal questions that are widely relevant to the public good, such as the nature and scope of religious freedom and the proper boundary between the church and the state as well as the nature of due process and the meaning of equal protection of the law in a society that has always been and remains racially stratified. Through rigorous analysis and engaging classroom discussion, my courses aim to prepare students to address topics central to the mission of a publicly-engaged anchor institution. As a scholar, I am committed to advancing knowledge of the intersection of race, law and religion and to translating my research into the public sphere to promote justice and the public good. For example, I recently co-organized a conference at Emory Law School entitled “Law, Christianity, and Racial Justice: Shaping the Future.” Special guests included Martin Luther King, Jr.’s daughter, Rev. Dr. Bernice King and Dr. Cornel West. Conference papers will be published in a collaborative symposium edition of the Journal of Law and Religion and Political Theology. Additionally, I am co-hosting a podcast series (now in editing) on the intersection of Race, Law, and Christianity. This coming summer I will be a presenter in Columbia Law School’s Law, Rights, and Religion Project’s new online curriculum on “Black Religious Liberty.”


Also from or about Professor Brandon Paradise:

142 views

Comentarios


bottom of page