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Eleanor Brown to join Penn State Law faculty


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Eleanor Brown, a leading scholar of property, migration, globalization, development, and the law, will join the Penn State faculty, effective July 1, as a professor of law at Penn State Law, a professor of international affairs in the School of International Affairs (SIA), and a senior scientist in the Rock Ethics Institute.

Brown is currently a professor of law at the George Washington University Law School.

“We are delighted to welcome Eleanor Brown to the faculties of Penn State Law and the School of International Affairs,” said Interim Dean and Distinguished Scholar in Residence James W. Houck. “Her scholarship and expertise—particularly in the area of migration and immigration law—are a great fit for both schools and bolster our faculties’ considerable strengths in these disciplines.”

“I am thrilled that Eleanor Brown will be joining us at Penn State," said Dean Designate Hari Osofsky, who will become dean of Penn State Law and the School of International Affairs on July 1. "She brings so much to our community as both a scholar and human being. Her cutting-edge scholarship at the intersection of property and migration provides important insights into how property ownership influences patterns of success, and her forthcoming book will make a major contribution to these fields. Her work has many synergies in the law school and SIA, and across the University, and I look forward to what we will build together with her.”

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.

“Eleanor Brown’s groundbreaking research exemplifies the interdisciplinary spirit of the Rock Ethics Institute,” said Ted Toadvine, the Nancy Tuana Director of the Rock Ethics Institute. “We are excited by the fresh perspectives and collaborative opportunities that she brings to our research programs in the ethics of borders, democracy and human rights, and critical philosophy of race. Her contributions will be central to our mission of cultivating ethical literacy and leadership across the Penn State community and beyond.”

“I am so pleased to be joining Penn State,” said Brown. “I very much look forward to working on the issues of immigration, property, and asset acquisition through the lens of globalization and development, and engaging with students on these issues—in the classroom and beyond. The opportunities for interdisciplinary work between the departments that I am joining, and indeed across the wider University are tremendous.”

Brown, a Jamaican national, 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’s scholarship 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 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.

Brown was previously a senior executive at the Caribbean Investment Fund, L.P., the first pan-Caribbean private equity fund in the British Commonwealth Caribbean, and a chair of the Jamaica Trade Board. 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.

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