Faculty Directory

Katharine G. Young


Associate Dean of Faculty


Katharine Young serves as the Associate Dean for Faculty and Global Programs and Professor of Law and Dean’s Distinguished Scholar at Boston College Law School. Her research interests lie in comparative constitutional law, international human rights law and law and gender. Her recent scholarship focuses on how “positive” legal obligations, which require state action rather than restraint, challenge traditional constitutionalist models of public law. This includes an extended study of the mechanisms of queues and waiting lists in law, as well as a comparative analysis of social movements and litigation around rights to health care, housing, education, and other economic and social rights. 

Professor Young’s monograph, Constituting Economic and Social Rights (Oxford University Press, 2012), is published in the Oxford Constitutional Theory series, and she has also edited The Future of Economic and Social Rights (Cambridge University Press, 2019), and The Public Law of Gender (Cambridge University Press, 2016) (with Kim Rubenstein).  Other recent publications have appeared in the University of Toronto Law Journal, the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, the Harvard Human Rights Journal, the Harvard Law Review Forum, the International Journal of Constitutional Law, the Australian Year Book of International Law, and the Yale Journal of International Law. She has also published a casebook, with James S. Rogers, The Law of Contracts, Cases and Materials (Foundation Press, 2017). In 2016, her article Rights and Queues: Distributive Contests in the Modern State, was selected for the Harvard/Stanford/Yale Junior Faculty Forum. She is presently co-editing the Oxford Handbook of Economic and Social Rights, an interdisciplinary study involving legal, philosophical, historical, and broader social scientific inquiry across five continents.

Before coming to Boston College, Professor Young was an Associate Professor at the Australian National University, a Visiting Assistant Professor at Boston University and a Byse Teaching Fellow at Harvard Law School. She also served as a Fellow at Harvard University’s Project on Justice, Welfare and Economics, the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and studied at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. Trained first as a lawyer at the University of Melbourne, Australia, she represented the winning team of the Jessup International Law Moot Court in 2001, and worked as a lawyer with Allens in Melbourne, with the United Nations in Bonn, Germany, with the Legal Resources Centre in Accra, Ghana, and later with Paul, Weiss in New York.