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Eleanor Marie Brown

Eleanor Brown | Penn State Law

Professor of Law and International Affairs
Senior Scientist, Rock Ethics Institute

SSRN Profile


J.D., Yale University
M.Phil., Oxford University
B.S., Brown University

Eleanor Brown is a professor of law at Penn State Law. She also is a professor of international affairs in the School of International Affairs (SIA), and a senior scientist in the Rock Ethics Institute.

A leading scholar of property, migration, globalization, development, and the law, Brown has been published in the California Law Review, the University of Chicago Law Review, the Michigan Law Review, the New York University Law Review, and the Yale Law Journal, among many others. She has also published with The New RepublicThe New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times and has been a commentator on NPR. Among Brown’s academic accolades, her paper, “The Blacks Who ‘Got’ Their 40 Acres,” was one of two papers selected in the property category for the Yale/Harvard/Stanford Junior Faculty Forum. 

Brown’s forthcoming book, to be published by Oxford University Press, roots black West-Indian migrant success in the United States in the early development of property rights among slave communities and the extension of these rights to slave women in the British-colonized Caribbean.

Prior to joining Penn State, Brown was a professor of law at the George Washington University Law School, where she also directed the Institute for Immigration Studies. She has previously been a Schwartz Fellow at the New America Foundation, a GWIPP Fellow at the George Washington Institute of Public Policy, and a Reginald Lewis Fellow at Harvard Law School. She is a member of the board of directors of the Association for Law, Property and Society, the Conference Planning Committee for the Immigration Law Professors Association, and the Fellowship Committee for the Association of University Women.  She has also served on the Scholarly Prize Committee for the Law and Society Association.

Brown has recently been appointed by Andrew Holness, the prime minister of Jamaica, to the CARICOM Commission. She has served on the boards of several publicly traded Caribbean companies and was the youngest director of two subsidiaries of the Bank of Nova Scotia (Jamaica), one of the largest subsidiaries of the largest Canadian bank (by market capitalization). Brown chaired the Conduct Review Committee of the Board for Scotia Jamaica Investment Management. She was a member of the Sugar Enterprise Team, the entity appointed by the Jamaican Cabinet to oversee private sector participation in the Jamaican sugar sector.

Brown was previously the youngest director of JPSCo, the electric utility owned by Korea East West Power, Marubeni Corp. of Japan, and the government of Jamaica. She chaired the Pension Fund Subcommittee of the board. She was also a member of the board appointed by the chancellor charged with septennial review of the operations of the University of Technology in Jamaica. Brown was also an external board member of Caribiz, an association of Caribbean alumnae and students of Harvard Business School and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, formed to promote capital market development in the Caribbean. Brown is also active in the Anglican (Episcopalian) faith community.

Brown holds a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology from Brown University and a master’s degree in politics from Oxford University, where she was Rhodes Scholar. She earned her J.D. in 1999 from the Yale Law School and served as a clerk for the Honorable Patricia Wald of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and the Honorable Keith Ellison of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

The Nature Of the Farm (Co-Authored with Ian Ayres, Draft in Progress))

The Blacks who got their 40 Acres: A Theory of Asset Acquisition (manuscript to be submitted 2022)

Fertility, Immigration, and Public Support for Parenting, 90 Fordham L. Rev. 2485 (2022) (with Naomi Cahn & June Carbone)

Why Black Homeowners are More Likely to be Caribbean-American than African American in New York: A Theory of how Early West Indian Migrants Broke Racial Cartels in Housing, 61 Am. J. Legal Hist. 3 (2021)

Race, Property and Citizenship, Nw. U.L. Rev. Online 120 (2021) (with June Carbone)

On the Evolution of Property Ownership Among Former Slaves Turned Freedmen (Submitted: Journal of Law, Property and Society)

On Black South Africans, Black Americans and Black West Indians: Some Thoughts on Atuahene’s We Want What’s Ours (Michigan Law Review, 2016)

Guest Work as Sex Work: Some Preliminary Thoughts on Margaret Radin and Black Women Selling Sex Across Borders in Black Women and International Law: Deliberate Interactions, Movements, and Actions (Cambridge University Press, 2015).

An Alternative View of Immigrant Exceptionalism, Particularly as It Relates to Blacks: A Response to Chua and Rubenfeld, Review of Amy Chua & Jed Rubenfeld, The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America; Amy Chua, World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability. (California Law Review, 2015).

‘The Blacks Who 'Got Their Forty Acres': A Theory of Black West Indian Migrant Asset Acquisition (New York University Law Review, 2014).

Outsourcing Criminal Deportees (University of Chicago Law Review, 2013).

A Visa To “Snitch”: An Addendum to Cox and Posner (Notre Dame Law Review, 2012)

Visa as Property, Visa as Collateral (Vanderbilt Law Review, 2011).

Outsourcing Immigration Compliance (Fordham Law Review, 2009).

Black Like Me? 'Gangsta' Culture, Clarence Thomas, and Afrocentric Academies, (New York University Law Review, 2000).

"The Tower of Babel," in Critical White Studies: Looking Behind the Mirror (Richard Delgado and Stefanic, Temple University Press, 1997.)

The Tower of Babel: Bridging the Divide between Critical Race Theory and 'Mainstream' Civil Rights Scholarship (Yale Law Journal,1995).