Former Academicians

Mary Ann Glendon


Mary Ann Glendon

Date of birth 07 October 1938

Place Pittsfield, MA, United States of America (America)

Nomination 19 January 1994 - 03 March 2014 (Appointment as PASS President from 2004 to 28 February 2008 and from 21 January 2009 to 3 March 2014)

Field Law

Title Professor

  • Biography
  • Publications

Most important awards, prizes and academies
US Ambassador to the Holy See, 2008-09; Dr. Honoris Causa: University of Chicago, Université Catholique de Louvain, Catholic University, Brigham Young University, Boston College, College of the Holy Cross, Seton Hall University, Assumption College, Notre Dame, St. John's University, University of Navarra. Prizes: Order of the Coif Triennial Book Award; Scribes Award for Legal Writing, 2003 Bradley Foundation Prize; National Humanities Medal, 2005; Premio Capalbio, 2008; Premio Internazionale Capri San Michele, 2008. Member: International Academy of Comparative Law, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, former President of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences; US National Bioethics Council 2000-04; Vice-Chair U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, 2012-present.

Summary of scientific research
The main theme of my research has been a continuing investigation of how the legal systems of various North Atlantic nations handle a broad range of contemporary problems. Building on the work of my teacher Max Rheinstein who was a student and translator of Max Weber, I employ sociological and legal methods to explore the interaction among law, behavior, and ideas. My earliest works (1970s) traced the relationships between changes in family property law and changes in the family's role as a determinant of economic security and social standing in modern societies. I later extended those inquiries to comparative labour law, constitutional law, and the legal profession. After a period of writing on comparative law and method, I undertook a cross-national study in the 1980s of abortion and divorce in 20 countries, revealing the uniqueness of the United States' legal approach to those phenomena. I then undertook a more general comparative study of the idea of "rights" and the "language" of rights. Currently, the main areas of research concern international human rights, and the relations between law and political philosophy. That work has numerous intersections with Catholic social thought (mediating groups, subsidiarity).

Main publications
Books: The Forum and the Tower: How Scholars and Politicians Have Imagined the World from Plato to Eleanor Roosevelt (2011); Verso un mondo nuovo (2009); Traditions in Turmoil (2006), winner of the 2008 International Prize Capri San Michele; A World Made New: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Random House, 2001); Comparative Legal Traditions, 3rd ed. (with Paolo Carozza) (West Publishing Co., 2007); A Nation Under Lawyers (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 1994); Rights Talk: The Impoverishment of Political Discourse, Free Press, 1991; The Transformation of Family Law: State, Law, and Family in the United States and Western Europe, University of Chicago Press, 1989. (Successor volume to Glendon, State, Law and Family, 1977). Winner of the Order of the Coif Triennial Book Award, 1993; Abortion and Divorce in Western Law, Harvard University Press, 1987. Winner of the 1988 Scribes Book Award of the American Society of Writers on Legal Subjects; The New Family and the New Property, Butterworths, 1981. Articles, Book Chapters, etc.: “Religious Freedom – A Second Class Right?” 61 Emory Law Review 971-90 (2012); "Cicero is a Superstar", First Things, Jan. 2010, at 17; "Plato as Statesman", First Things, Nov. 2007, at 29; "Searching for Bernard Lonergan", America, Oct. 1, 2007, at 17; "Democracia y sociedad civil", no. 47, year XII, Humanitates, Revista de Antropología y Cultura Cristiana 428 (2007); "John Paul II's Challenges to the Social Sciences", 10 Journal of Markets and Morality 263 (2007); "Looking for 'Persons' in the Law", no. 168, First Things 19 (2006); "Principled Immigration", First Things, June-July 2006, at 23; "Family Law and Family Policies in a Time of Turbulence", XXII/2 Anthropotes 297 (2006); "The Naked Public Square Now", no. 147, First Things 12 (2004); "Discovering Our Dependence", no. 146, First Things 11 (2004); "Latinoamerica y los derechos humanos universales", 77 Criterio 239 (2004); "The Rule of Law in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights", 2 Northwestern University Journal of International Human Rights 67 (2004); "The Right to Work", Work and Human Fulfillment, Sapientia Press, 2003, p. 145; "The Forgotten Crucible: The Latin American Influence on the Universal Human Rights Idea", 15 Harvard Human Rights Journal 27 (2003); "The Hour of the Laity", First Things, November 2002; "Foundations of Human Rights: The Unfinished Business", 44 American Journal of Jurisprudence I (1999); "Rousseau and the Revolt Against Reason", First Things, October 1999; "Knowing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights", 73Notre Dame Law Review 1153 (1998); "Rights in Twentieth Century Constitutions", Univ. of Chicago Law Review 31, 1992, p. 1; "Structural Free Exercise", Michigan Law Review 90, 1991, p. 477, (with Raul F. Yanes); "The Sources of Law in a Changing Legal Order", Creighton Law Review 17, 1984, p. 663 (The 1983 TePoel Memorial Lecture); "Individualism and Communitarianism in Contemporary Legal Systems: Tensions and Accommodations", in Brigham Young Law Review 1993, p. 385; "French Labor Law Reform 1982-83: The Struggle for Collective Bargaining", American Journal of Comparative Law 32, 1984, p. 449.

Professional Address

Harvard University Law School
Hauser Hall 504
1575 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138

The Quest for Peace Fifty Years After Pacem in Terris – What Role for Religion? (PDF) 2012

Religious Freedom in the 21st Century. Old Biases, Fresh Challenges, New Frontiers (PDF) 2011

The Role of the Social Sciences and Higher Education in the Current Economic Crisis (PDF) 2010

The Influence of Catholic Social Doctrine on Human Rights (PDF) 2009

Comment: International Justice and International Governance in the Context of the Crisis of Multilateralism (PDF) 2007

Conceptualization of the Person in American Law (PDF) 2005

Presentation of the book on ‘Democracy in Debate: The Contribution of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences’ (PDF) 2005