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Regina Austin

Regina Austin L’73

William A. Schnader Professor of Law, Emerita

Regina Austin’s scholarship focuses on the impact of law on cultural conflicts arising largely from race, gender, and class inequality, as most often revealed by the critical analysis of ethnographies and law-genre documentary films and photography.

In addition to using nonfiction films in teaching traditional torts courses, she directs the pathbreaking Penn Program on Documentaries & the Law, which hosts screenings of law-genre documentaries, maintains a national archive of clemency videos as a resource for capital defense attorneys, produces sentencing mitigation in cooperation with the Defender Association of Philadelphia, and explores issues related to law and social justice as reflected in all manner of audio/visual media in its blog.

Treating digital video technology as a tool for legal argument and persuasion, Austin teaches a visual legal advocacy seminar that allows law students to make social justice advocacy videos that support the work of public interest organizations, social service providers, and grassroots groups, their clients and their causes; the videos are streamed on the Program’s website and on YouTube.

Austin was the co-producer and director of “Second Looks, Second Chances for Pennsylvania Lifers: Commutation by the Numbers,” which grew out of a collaboration between the Docs & the Law Program, Lifers at SCI Graterford Inc. (now Phoenix), and the Pennsylvania Prison Society.