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Epp receives APSA Lasting Contribution Award

Thursday, September 03, 2015

LAWRENCE — University of Kansas Professor Charles Epp has received the Lasting Contribution Award at the American Political Science Association’s Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

The Lasting Contribution Award is given annually by the Law and Courts Section, one of the largest sections in the scholarly APSA. It honors a publication that stands the test of time and has made a long-lasting impression on research in the field.

Epp received the award Sept. 2 for his first book, "The Rights Revolution: Lawyers, Activists, and Supreme Courts in Comparative Perspective," published by the University of Chicago Press in 1998, which also won the Association’s C. Herman Pritchett Award for best book in 1999.

In "The Rights Revolution" Epp showed that courts around the world are creating broader protections for individual rights. This increasing judicial attention to rights, he demonstrated, resulted from a growing “support structure” of rights-advocacy organizations and grassroots support for rights as much as from leadership by activist judges. The book, now cited more than 1,100 times in scholarly papers and books, is credited with opening a field of scholarship on how courts in many countries are responding to increased concern for civil rights and liberties. A recent paper called its influence on the field “pervasive.”

“I am honored to receive this award,” Epp said. “It’s been especially thrilling to see that scholars in so many other countries have found something useful in my book.”

Epp’s other books have also received acclaim. "Making Rights Real: Activists, Bureaucrats, and the Creation of the Legalistic State" was named an Outstanding Academic Title by the American Library Association, and "Pulled Over: How Police Stops Define Race and Citizenship," co-authored with colleagues Steven Maynard-Moody and Don Haider-Markel, was named an Outstanding Academic Title by the American Library Association and won the Best Book Award of the Section on Public Administration Research of the American Society for Public Administration.

Epp is a professor in the School of Public Affairs and Administration. He earned a doctorate in political science from the Univer­sity of Wisconsin-Madison, and his research focuses on law as an instrument of reform. He is on the executive committee and board of trustees of the Law & Society Association and is an associate editor of the Journal of Law & Courts.