Anya Bernstein’s work explores how the practices of government administration both distinguish it from, and contextualize it in, other social institutions. Looking further, her research considers how these practices reveal local understandings of what constitutes legitimate political action. Using both textual and ethnographic approaches, her research focuses primarily on the work of administrative agencies and courts. Her writing brings the insights of anthropology to the study of law and the institutions that mediate it. This cross-disciplinary perspective allows her to make methodological contributions to legal scholarship, both by critiquing the gaps in existing approaches and by opening avenues for interrogating implicit, almost invisible, legal practices. Her scholarship is enriched by a cross-national angle, with research based both in the United States and in Taiwan, where she conducted dissertation fieldwork. Her work has been published in The University of Chicago Law Review, The Yale Journal on Regulation, Law and Social Inquiry, The Indiana Law Review, and PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review, among others.
Bernstein received her JD from Yale Law School and her PhD in Anthropology from the University of Chicago. Before joining the UB School of Law faculty, she served as a law clerk to Judge Guido Calabresi of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and a Bigelow Fellow and Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School.