ANNOUNCEMENT: Drexel Summer Theory Institute 2012

Drexel Summer Theory Institute

About the Institute

Now in its third year, the Drexel Summer Theory Institute is a workshop for Drexel students with summer public interest law internships in the greater Philadelphia area. The Institute is modeled after a similar program founded in 2008 by two public interest lawyers, Nisha Agarwal and Jocelyn Simonson, for Harvard law students with public interest internships in New York City. Institute Fellows will meet with the co-conveners one evening each week to discuss works of social and critical theory as they relate to the Fellows’ public interest work. Although the conveners will seek to tailor the readings to the interests of the group, some examples of the kinds of thinkers we might engage with include Pierre Bourdieu, F.A. Hayek, bell hooks, K. Anthony Appiah, and Martha Nussbaum.

The Summer Theory Institute will involve a significant but not overwhelming commitment on the part of the Fellows. The Fellows will be required to attend all ten evening sessions, prepare for each meeting ahead of time, write short response papers to the readings, participate in the discussions, and lead one week’s discussion. We may also arrange joint sessions or events towards the end of the summer in New York or Philadelphia with our counterparts from the Harvard Summer Theory Institute.

The mission of the Institute is to encourage thoughtful public interest practice by providing a space in which students can think critically about and reflect more deeply upon their everyday experiences practicing public interest law, using social theory as a lens through which to do so. Working together to think through the role that social theory can play in legal practice and activism allows the Fellows to engage more meaningfully with their institutions’ methods of pursuing justice on a day-to-day basis. By creating the space to discuss larger theoretical concepts outside of the work environment, the Institute enhances the Fellows’ senses of the potential for intellectual rigor and personal fulfillment in public interest work. The Institute also aims to foster a community of leaders who will bring their enthusiasm for pursuing social change through the law back to the Drexel community at the end of the summer.

No academic credit will be granted for participation in the Institute. If any Fellows are interested in reflecting more formally on the relationship between theory and practice in their summer public interest experiences, the Institute will try to connect them to Drexel faculty who might be willing to supervise larger writing projects for academic credit when they return to the law school.

How to Apply

If you are a 1L or 2L interested in becoming a Fellow in the Drexel Summer Theory Institute, please submit a one page statement of interest by Friday, April 6, 2012. Statements of interest should be emailed to dsti2012 [~at~] kalhan (-dot-) com [please use the following subject header: DSTI 2012 APPLICATION]. In your statement of interest, please explain:

1. Your anticipated (or desired) public interest internship plans for the summer;
2. Any prior public interest experience, both legal and non-legal; and
3. Why you are interested in participating in the Summer Theory Institute.

No prior experience with social or critical theory is necessary to participate. Instead, we are looking for a group of Fellows who are excited about public interest work and open to thinking in innovative and sometimes critical ways about that work.

While we understand that not all students may be able to finalize their summer plans until after the application deadline, all Fellows must eventually secure a public interest internship in the greater Philadelphia area. Fellows must be located in the Philadelphia area for the full ten weeks of the program so that they can attend all ten sessions.

About the Co-Conveners

The 2012 Drexel Summer Theory Institute will be convened and facilitated by Arianna Freeman, Ryan Hancock, and Anil Kalhan.

Arianna Freeman is an attorney with the Capital Habeas Unit of the Federal Community Defender Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, where she represents death-sentenced prisoners in post-conviction proceedings in state and federal court. Prior to joining the Capital Habeas Unit, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable James T. Giles (Ret.) and the Honorable C. Darnell Jones, II, both of the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. She is a 2007 graduate of the Yale Law School.

Ryan Allen Hancock is a civil rights attorney with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. Mr. Hancock received his law degree from Rutgers School of Law in 2003 and subsequently clerked in Camden County Superior Court, Criminal Division for two years, after which he joined the PHRC. Mr. Hancock is also the Co-Director of the Philadelphia Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild’s (NLG) Criminal Record Expungement Clinic, Co-Founder of the Rule of Law Institute, and supervising attorney for the University of Pennsylvania Law School’s International Human Rights Advocates (IHRA). Mr. Hancock is also a frequent commentator on discrimination, civil liberties, and the rule of law in Pakistan, and was part of an 8-member NLG delegation which published Defending Dictatorship: U.S. Foreign Policy and Pakistan’s Struggle for Democracy, following their two-week fact-finding mission to Pakistan in January 2008.

Anil Kalhan is an Associate Professor of Law at Drexel University, and has taught immigration law, criminal law, First Amendment, comparative constitutional law, and international human rights law. He is an affiliated faculty member at the South Asia Center at the University of Pennsylvania and serves on the council of advisors for South Asian Americans Leading Together and the Immigration and Nationality Law Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. He previously has worked at Cleary Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, where he served as co-coordinator of the firm’s immigration and international human rights pro bono practice group, and the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project.


Questions may be directed to dsti2012 [~at~] kalhan (-dot-) com. A list of Fellows from 2010 and 2011 may be found here.