Rachel Stern

  • Professor of Law and Political Science
  • rstern@law.berkeley.edu
  • Tel: 510-642-2008 | Fax: 510-642-2951
  • 202 JSP, 2240 Piedmont Ave., Berkeley, CA 94720 MC:2150
  • Faculty Support Contact: Erika Espinoza

Rachel Stern is an assistant professor of law and political science. Her research explores the relationship between law, power, social change and globalization, particularly in Mainland China and Hong Kong. Her recent work focuses on the role courts play in authoritarian states as well as the political dynamics surrounding environmental regulation and activism in China.

Her first book, Environmental Litigation in China: A Study in Political Ambivalence, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2013. In a country known for tight political control and ineffectual courts, the book unravels how everyday justice works: how judges make decisions, why lawyers take cases and how international influence matters. It is an account of how the leadership’s mixed signals and political ambivalence play out on the ground–propelling some to action, even as others back away from risk. The book received an Honorable Mention for the 2014 Herbert Jacob book award from the Law & Society Association.

Other recent articles on law and social activism have appeared in Comparative Political Studies, Law & Policy and China Quarterly. Before joining Berkeley Law and the Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program, Professor Stern was a Junior Fellow at the Harvard University Society of Fellows.



B.A., Wellesley College
Ph.D., UC Berkeley