Ayelet Shachar in office with book titled "The Shifting Boarder" on table in foreground

Research Expertise and Interest

law and religion, citizenship and immigration law and policy, comparative and international law, legal theory, anti-discrimination law

Research Description

Ayelet Shachar is the Irving G. and Eleanor D. Tragen Chair in Comparative Law, University of California, Berkeley. Previously, she held the R.F. Harney Chair in Ethnic, Immigration and Pluralism Studies at the University of Toronto. From 2015-2020, she was a Scientific Member of the Max Planck Society—one of the foremost research organizations in the world—and Director at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity.

Professor Shachar has published extensively on the topics of citizenship theory, immigration law, highly skilled migration and global inequality, multiculturalism and women’s rights, law and religion in comparative perspective, and the fraught relations between human rights law and territorial conceptions of sovereignty. Her teaching and research interests include law and religion, citizenship and immigration law and policy, comparative and international law, legal theory, and anti-discrimination law.

She is the author of over 100 articles and book chapters, as well as several major books, including Multicultural Jurisdictions: Cultural Differences and Women’s Rights (Cambridge University Press, 2001 & 2009), for which she won the American Political Science Association 2002 Foundations of Political Theory Section Best First Book Award. This work has inspired a new generation of thinking about how to best mitigate the tensions between gender equality and religious diversity. It has also proved influential in actual public policy and legislative debates. It has been cited by, among others, England’s Archbishop of Canterbury (who described her work as “highly original and significant”) and the Supreme Court of Canada. Over the last twenty years, Multicultural Jurisdictions has become a key reference point for feminist approaches to the study of law and religion.

Her next book, The Birthright Lottery: Citizenship and Global Inequality (Harvard University Press, 2009) also created a groundswell of interest among policymakers and academics alike. It was named 2010 International Ethics Notable Book in recognition of its “superior scholarship and contribution to the field of international ethics.”


  • J.S.D. (Doctor of the Science of Law), Yale Law School (1997)
  • LL.M. (Master of Laws), Yale Law School (1995)
  • LL.B. (Bachelor of Laws), Tel Aviv University (1993)
  • B.A. (Political Science), Tel Aviv University (1993)
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