3730 Walnut Street
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6340
Research Interests: comparative constitutional law, human rights and globalization, international human rights law, law in the contemporary middle east, women’s international human rights
Ann Elizabeth Mayer is an Associate Professor Emeritus of Legal Studies in the Department of Legal Studies and Business Ethics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She has also taught as a visitor at Yale University Law School (1997); at Georgetown University (1992); and at Princeton University (1983). She has taught law courses on subjects including law and policy in international business, globalization and human rights, comparative law, Islamic law in contemporary Middle Eastern legal systems, and introductions to U.S. law.
She earned a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern History from the University of Michigan in 1978; a Certificate in Islamic and Comparative Law from the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London in 1977; a J.D. from the Law School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1975; an M.A. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures (Arabic and Persian) from the University of Michigan in 1966; and a B.A. in Honors German from the University of Michigan in 1964.
She has written extensively on issues of Islamic law in contemporary legal systems, comparative law, international law, and the problems of integrating international human rights law in domestic legal systems. A major portion of her scholarship concerns human rights issues in contemporary North Africa and the Middle East. She has published widely in law reviews and in scholarly journals and books concerned with comparative and international law and politics in contemporary Middle East and North Africa. Her book Islam and Human Rights. Tradition and Politics (Boulder: Westview, 2007) is now in its fourth edition.
Her interest in international human rights law encompasses the emergence of new ideas of corporate responsibility under international human rights law and the problems that come with transferring what were formerly state obligations to private actors.
A member of the Pennsylvania Bar, she consults widely on cases involving human rights issues and Middle Eastern law.
Ann E. Mayer (Work In Progress), Middle Eastern Women and Human Rights.
Ann E. Mayer (2009), Human Rights as a Dimension of CSR: The Blurred Lines Between Legal and Non-Legal Categories, Journal of Business Ethics, Volume 88, Supplement 4.
Abstract: At the UN, important projects laying down transnational corporations’ (TNCs) human rights responsibilities have been launched without ever clarifying the relevant theoretical foundations. One of the consequences is that the human rights principles in projects like the 2000 UN Global Compact and the 2003 Norms on the Responsibilities of Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Regard to Human Rights can be understood in different ways, which should not cause surprise given that their authors come from diverse backgrounds, including economics and public policy. An examination of these projects and the views of their authors reveals that, although they are superficially linked to international human rights law, they go well beyond it and attempt to deal with corporate social responsibility issues in ways that elude neat classification as fitting neatly in either legal or non-legal categories. Too little attention has been paid to how in the course of developing these projects the legal and ethical dimensions have become entwined and how lines have gotten blurred. Meanwhile, there has been recognition that these UN projects have emerged simply as ad hoc responses to practical concerns about the sustainability of globalization. The lack of any foundational theory or normative framework should be addressed; it is time to bring together specialists from different fields concerned with the human rights responsibilities of corporations to see if it is possible to define a coherent overarching theory for these UN projects.
Ann E. Mayer (2007), The Fatal Flaws in the U.S. Constitutional Project for Iraq, Journal of International Affairs. Religion & Statecraft, (Fall/Winter 2007).
Ann E. Mayer (Work In Progress), Women’s Lives in the Muslim Middle East: The “True Lies” of Cultural Stereotyping.
Ann E. Mayer (Work In Progress), Not Taking Rights Seriously: Hallmarks of the Frivolous Human Rights “Critique”.
Ann E. Mayer (Work In Progress), •Protecting Women’s Rights: The Relative Values of Women’s International Human Rights and Collective Paradigms.
Ann E. Mayer (2006), Clashing Human Rights Priorities: How the United States and Muslim Countries Selectively Use Provisions of International Human Rights Law, Chennai Journal of Intercultural Philosophy.
This course presents law as an evolving social institution, with special emphasis on the legal regulation of business in the context of social values. It considers basic concepts of law and legal process, in the U.S. and other legal systems, and introduces the fundamentals of rigorous legal analysis. An in-depth examination of contract law is included.
This course introduces students to the legal frameworks for regulating international business - national, regional, and international. Topics include mechanisms for dispute resolution, different standards on assigning nationality, jurisdictional and choice of law problems, controversies regarding the treatment of incoming foreign direct investment and expropriation of foreign-owned businesses, patterns in extraterritoriality, problems of clashing legal standards affecting areas like labor and the environment, and projects for creating more uniform rules governing the conduct of international business. Throughout students will be encouraged to evaluate the policy dimensions of laws and to develop their own critical perspectives regarding these.
The 2000 UN Global Compact has confirmed the role of TNCs as central actors in the UN system of international human rights law, but whether their role should be voluntary or legally mandated remains in dispute. This course introduces students to how globalization has led to projects for expanding international human rights law to capture the operations of TNCs and why this development is opposed in many quarters. Competing perspectives on the pros and cons of imposing human rights responsibilities on TNCs and on the respective roles that businesses and governments should play will be examined. The Positions of various governments, businesses, international institutions, academics, and NGOs will be considered, and a number of illustrative case studies will be analyzed.
A study of the nature, functions, and limits of law as an agency of societal policy. Each semester an area of substantive law is studied for the purpose of examining the relationship between legal norms developed and developing in the area and societal problems and needs. Please see department for current offerings.
The 2000 UN GLobal Compact has confirmed the role of TNCs as central actors in the UN system of international human rights law, but whether their role should be voluntary or legally mandated remains in dispute. This course introduces students to how globaliztion has led to projects for expanding international human rights law to capture the operations of TNCs and why this development is opposed in many quarters. Competing perspectives on the pros and cons of imposing human rights responsibilities on TNCs and on the respective roles that businesses and governments should play will be examined. The positions of various governments, businesses, international institutions, academics, and NGOs will be considered, and a number of illustrative case studies will be analyzed.