Friday in Focus: Anne Lofaso

by | Jun 29, 2018

Anne Marie Lofaso, Arthur B. Hodges Professor of Law at West Virginia University College of Law, is a research associate for the Oxford Human Rights Hub Blog.  Although Professor Lofaso has been writing for OxHRBlog since 2015, she became involved with the blog in her current capacity in January 2016, when she was a Senior Academic Visitor on the Faculty of Law and the Keeley Visiting Fellow at Wadham College.  Since becoming a research associate, she has coordinated our blog series on Justice Scalia’s human right legacy, helped with the third edition of our anthology, and presented on human labor rights as part of our seminar series.  She continues to write for the blog and coordinate additional blogs discussing U.S. human rights issues.

After studying at Harvard University (A.B. magna cum laude) and under the late comparative labor law scholar Clyde Summers at the University of Pennsylvania (J.D.), Professor Lofaso received her D.Phil. in Law (Somerville College, Oxford) in 1997, having the distinction of being Professor Sandra Fredman’s first D.Phil. student and studying with Mark Freedland and Paul L. Davies.  Like her mentors, Lofaso’s scholarly interests focus on comparative and international labor rights from a multi-disciplinary perspective that includes a historical, philosophical, and socio-economic critique of the neoclassical perspective of work.  She views the workplace through the lens of the autonomous dignified worker, a concept that she formulated at Oxford under Fredman’s supervision. She yearns to understand the nature of work throughout history by deconstructing then reconstructing that concept.  Her deconstruction project has primarily focused on class and gender but she has recently expanded that project to understanding work along racial and ethnic lines (especially considering the shameful U.S. history of slavery and immigration) and also along human and nonhuman lines.  Her human/nonhuman deconstruction project includes an examination of beasts of burden and robots. Lofaso’s reconstruction project is equally ambitious.  She ultimately wishes to describe the nature of work in a comprehensive and multi-faceted theory of human labor rights with the autonomous, dignified worker as the core idea.

Professor Lofaso is an active public servant as well.  She is a member of the West Virginia State Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights, the Advisor for the WVU Labor and Employment Law Concentration, a research scholar for the New York University School of Law Center for Labor and Employment, a researcher for the Employment Policy Research Network, and a co-founder of the WVU United States Supreme Court Clinic, which takes cases to the U.S. Supreme Court on a pro bono basis.  She is also a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.

Professor Lofaso is a decorated recipient of sundry teaching, scholarship, and public-service awards.  Notably, she is a five-time recipient of her law faculty’s significant scholarship award, the 2014 recipient of the Claude Worthington Benedum Distinguished Scholar Award, the 2010 West Virginia University College of Law Professor of the Year, the 2011 WVU Foundation Teacher of the Year, and a recipient of numerous other awards.

Professor Lofaso is passionate about her family, her students, sports, and global justice.  She is a former college athlete (springboard diving at Harvard, intramural softball and dance at Penn, and rowing at Somerville College, Oxford).

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