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About Martha F. Davis

Professor Davis has written widely on women’s rights, poverty and human rights. In addition to her numerous articles, she recently co-edited Bringing Human Rights Home, a three-volume work chronicling the US human rights movement. In 2008, Bringing Human Rights Home was named one of the “best books in the field of human rights” by the US Human Rights Network; an abridged version was published in 2009 by the University of Pennsylvania Press.
Professor Davis’s book, Brutal Need: Lawyers and the Welfare Rights Movement, received the Reginald Heber Smith Award for distinguished scholarship on the subject of equal access to justice, and was also honored by the American Bar Association in its annual Silver Gavel competition. Recently, she filed an amicus brief arguing for the relevance of international law in a domestic force feeding case.
Prior to joining the law faculty in 2002, Professor Davis was vice president and legal director for the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund. As a women’s rights practitioner, she was counsel in a number of cases before the US Supreme Court, including Nguyen v. INS, a challenge to sex-based citizenship laws that Professor Davis argued before the court. Professor Davis has also served as a fellow at the Bunting Institute, as the first Kate Stoneman Visiting Professor of Law and Democracy at Albany Law School and as a Soros Reproductive Rights Fellow. During 2008-2009, Professor Davis was a visiting fellow at the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School, and a non-resident fellow of the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.


Present Faculty director, Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy, Northeastern University
Present Professor of Law, Northeastern University

Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

Women's rights law, Constitutional law, and Professional responsibility in law

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Honors and Awards

  • Chair, Board of Directors, National Economic and Social Rights Initiative
  • Appointed member, Massachusetts State Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

Contact Information

35 Cargill Hall
Northeastern University
400 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
Tel: (617) 373-8921
Fax: (617) 373-5056

Articles (21)