Rebecca Redwood French received her B.A. from the University of Michigan and her J.D. from the University of Washington. After practicing law for six years, she went on to receive an LL.M. and Ph.D. in legal anthropology from Yale University. She has been an invited member of the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton, received numerous grants for her work from NSF, SSRC, Werner Gren, Fulbright and a host of other agencies and been asked to speak at many conferences including in Bhutan in the summer of 2018.
Her work is situated at the intersections of law, anthropology, legal theory, religious studies and Buddhist legal systems. Four years of field research in Tibet and India resulted in a study of the Dalai Lama’s pre-1960 legal system, titled The Golden Yoke (Snow Lion: 2002). She also co-edited with Mark Nathan the book Buddhism and Law: An Introduction (Cambridge University Press: 2014), the first comprehensive study of its kind.
In 2015, she founded and is the Editor of the journal, Buddhism, Law & Society, with William S. Hein Publishing, and began a series of conferences on the new sub-discipline at Buffalo every few years. The first conference was in 2006, and the third will be in Buffalo in September 2019 with an international set of scholars attending.
She has also worked extensively with Tibetans and Indonesians on immigration and cultural issues and has delivered public lectures for Amnesty International, the Tibetan Conference, the International Association of Tibetan Studies, Tibet House as well as in many scholarly forums.
From 2008 to 2010, French served as Director of the Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy at the University at Buffalo School of Law, an endowed academic center for interdisciplinary research on law and legal institutions. She joined the School of Law faculty after serving as an associate professor of law at the University of Colorado from 1992 to 2001.