Vivian Curran

Distinguished Professor of Law


Professor Vivian Curran serves as Vice-President of the International Academy of Comparative Law and as Honorary President of the American Society of Comparative Law, of which she is a past President. Professor Curran is a member of the American Law Institute, and also is President of the North-American Section of the Société de Législation Comparée. She is also also Correspondante étrangère de UMR 8103 ISJPS (CNRS/Université Panthéon-Sorbonne) and a member of the University of Paris I (Sorbonne’s) Institute of Legal and Philosophical Sciences’ Center of Comparative Law and Internationalization of Law.

She was decorated in 2007 by the Republic of Austria for her work as the United States appointee to the Austrian General Settlement Fund Committee for Nazi-era property compensation, and in 2013 by the government of France as a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques for her services in promotion of the French language and culture in the United States. She has published widely in the field of comparative and international law.

Professor Curran has given talks at universities in the United States, France, Germany, Italy and Holland. Her articles have appeared in such publications as the Notre Dame Law Review, Hastings Law Journal, le Recueil Dalloz, Boston College Law Review, Alberta Law Review, the American Journal of Comparative Law, La Revue internationale de droit comparé, the American Journal of International Law, Columbia Journal of European Law, Cornell International Law Journal, and as chapters in numerous books, including one co-edited by Justice Stephen Breyer.

Key/Recent Publications


  • POROSTÉS DU DROIT/LAW’S POROSITIEs (edited book, forthcoming 2019, SLC, Paris)
  • Comparative Law: An Introduction, (Carolina Academic Press, 2002).
  • Learning French Through the Law: A French/English Comparative Treatment of Terms in a Legal Context, (Columbia University, Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law & Juris Publishing, Inc., 1996).
  • Core Questions Of Compartive Law, (English translation of Bernhard Großfeld’s Kernfragen der Rechtsvergleichung, Carolina Academic Press, 2005).

Articles, Chapters, Other:

  • Harmonizing Multinational Parent Company Liability for Foreign Subsidiary Human Rights Violations, 17 Chi. J. Intl' L. 403 (2017).
  • Reviving Human Rights Legislation after Kiobel (with David Sloss),  _ Am. J. Int’l L. _ (forthcoming 2013).
  • From Nuremberg to Freetown: Historical Antecedents of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, in  The Sierra Leone Special Court And Its Legacy: The Impact For Africa And International Criminal Law (ed., Charles Jalloh, Cambridge Univ. Press, forthcoming).
  • Mass Torts and Universal Jurisdiction,  34 U. Pa. J. Int'l. L. _ (forthcoming 2013).
  • Extraterritoriality, Universal Jurisdiction and the Challenge of Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., 28 Md. J. Int'l. L.  _ (forthcoming 2013).
  • Hermann Kantorowicz: A Son of the Nineteenth Century Speaks to the Twenty-First,  _ German L.J. _ (forthcoming).
  • La politique, la Cour suprême américaine et les droits de l’homme à l’aune du droit international, in Elections Americaines. Un Bilan 157 (ed., Julian Fernandez, Pédone, 2013).
  • Book review, Gilles Cuniberti, Grands Systemes De Droit Contemporains (2e éd. 2011), 61 Am. J. Comp. L. 721 (2013).
  • La Formation des juristes aux États-Unis, in  Les Professions Juridiques, Journees Cambodge-Vietnam, Tome LXI/2011, Travaux De l'Association Henri Capitant (Bruylant & LB2V).
  • Symposium Remarks on the Alien Tort Statute and the Corporate Defendant, 43 Georgetown Journal of International Law (2012).
  • Balancing Freedom of Expression and Human Rights in FranceJurist (Feb. 2012).
  • History, Memory and Law,  16 Roger Williams L. Rev. 100 (2011).
  • Les Mécanismes de Compétence Universelle au Service de la Protection de l’Environnement, Regards Croisés Sur l’Internationalisation du Droit: France- Etats-Unis 223-230 (Mireille Delmas-Marty & Stephen Breyer, eds., Société de Législation Comparée, 2009).
  • l’Internationalisation, Entre Droit Comparé et Droit Intermational: Regard d’une Comparatiste, Regards Croisés Sur l’Internationalisation du Droit: France-États-Unis 119-131 (Mireille Delmas-Marty & Stephen Breyer, eds., Société de Législation Comparée, 2009).
  • Comparative Law and the Legal Origins Thesis: '[N] On Scholae Sed Vitae Discimus', 57 American Journal of Comparative Law (2009). On SSRN.
  • Voices Saved from Vanishing, 70 University of Pittsburgh Law Review 435 (2009), available on SSRN.
  • Legal Developments in France and the United States in the Era of Globalization, European Union Center of Excellence Newsletter (Feb. 2009).
  • La Sécurité Juridique à l'Ere de la Mondialisation 110 La Revue du Notariat 311 (2008).
  • Globalization, Legal Transnationalization and Crimes Against Humanity: The Lipietz Case, 36 American J. Comparative Law 363 (2008). Available on SSRN.
  • The Pursuit of Law, Harmonizaing Law in an Era of Globalization: Convergence, Divergence and Resistance, (Larry Backer, ed., Carolina Academic Press, 2007).
  • Book Review of Le Droit Sous Vichy (Durand et al., eds., 2006), 7 H-France Review 141 (Nov. 2007).
  • Standing on the Shoulders of Schlesinger: The Trento Common Core of European Private Law Project, Opening Up European Law (Mauro Bussani & Ugo Mattei, eds., 2007). Previously published in 11 Eur. J. Private L. 66 (2003), 2 Global Jurist Frontiers 2, (2002).
  • Translation and Annotation of Lipietz c. Préfet de la Haust-Garonne, Tribunal Administratif de Toulouse, (June 6, 2006).
  • Book Review of Mireille Delmas-Marty, Globalisation Économique et Universalisme des Droits de l'Homme, 4 Revue de Sciences Criminelles et Droit Pénal Comparé (2006).
  • Re-Membering Law in the Internationalizing World, 34 Hofstra L. Rev. 93 (2005). Available on SSRN.
  • Beyond the Digest, translation from the French of Claude Witz [original title in English] (volume of proceedings of University of Pittsburgh conference on the Vienna Convention, February 2003, Ronald Brand et al. eds.).
  • Politicizing the Crime Against Humanity: The French Example, 78 Notre Dame Law Review 677 (2003) (available on SSRN), to be published in condensed version under the title Politicizing the Crime Against Humanity in France’s Courts in Law and Critique (forthcoming).
  • On the Shoulders of Schlesinger: The Trento Common Core of European Private Law Project, Opening Up European Law (Mauro Bussani & Ugo Mattei, eds., 2007). Available on SSRN.
  • Comparative Law and Language, Oxford Handbook of Comparative Law (Mathias Reimann & Reinhard Zimmermann eds., Oxford University Press, 2006). Available on SSRN and bepress.
  • A Comparative Perspective on the CISG, Drafting Contracts Under the CISG (Ronald Brand & Harry Flechtner eds., Oxford University Press, 2007).
  • l’Enseignement du Droit Aux États-Unis: Réflexion sur l’Actualité, University of Pittsburgh School of Law Working Paper Series, Working Paper 34, 
    available on bepress.
  • The Role of Foreign Languages for Transnational Legal Education, 23 Penn State Int'l L. Rev. 779 (2005). Available on SSRN.
  • Law's Past and Europe's Future, 6 German L.J. 483 (2005).
  • Racism's Past and Law's Future, 28 Vermont L. Rev. 683 (2004). Available on SSRN.
  • The Politics of Memory/Erinnerungspolitik and the Use and Propriety of Law in the Process of Memory Construction, 14 L. & Critique 309 (2003). Available on bepress.
  • On the Shoulders of Schlesinger: The Trento Common Core of European Common Law Project, 11 European Journal of Private Law 66 (2003). Available on SSRN.
  • Politicizing the Crime Against Humanity: The French Example, 78 Notre Dame L. Rev. 677 (2003). Available on SSRN.

Selected Presentations:

  • Panel presentation on “The Use, Abuse, and Non-Use of international Law in the United States Legal Order: A Critique”at Paris I-NYU workshop on the legacy of Van Gend en Loos, Collège de France, Paris, June 26, 2013.
  • Presentation at conference on Mutlilingual Legal Education : Theory and Pedagogy, American University College of Law, April 10, 2013.
  • Panel presentation on “Extraterritoriality and Universal Jurisdiction” at conference on Transnational Securities and Regulatory Litigation in the Aftermath of Morrison v. National Australia Bank , University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, Sacramento, March 1, 2013.
  • Panel presentation at Symposium on Extraterritoriality Post-Kiobel: International and Comparative Legal Perspectives, University of Maryland School of Law, November 16, 2012.
  • Conférence pour la Chaire de Juridiction, Université de Laval, Faculty of Law (Canada), November 8, 2012.
  • Panel presentation at Symposium on Mass Tort Litigation in a Shrinking World, University of Pennsylvania School of Law, November 2, 2012.
  • « La Cour suprême des États-Unis et l’internationalisation du droit » Université de Lille, Faculty of Law, October 26, 2012.
  • Keynote Lecture at Conference on the Legacy of Hermann Kantorowicz’s, Der Kampf um die Rechtswissenschaft, Washington and Lee University, September 10, 2012.
  • « Historical Antecedents of the Special Court for Sierra Leone », Conference on the Special Court for Sierra Leone, April 20, 2012, University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
  • « L’affaire “Kiobel” à l’aune de la territorialité », Collège de France, Paris, April 12, 2012.
  • Panel presentation at Symposium on the Alien Tort Statute, Georgetown Law School, March 27, 2012. Remarks recorded at
  • Lecture on a comparative law perspective on corporate liability and economic impact of Alien Tort Statute issues before the U.S. Supreme Court, Stanford University Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, March 6, 2012.
  • Faculty work in progress presentation on the Alien Tort Statute and a comparative law analysis of the Kiobel appeal, University of California at Davis Law School, March 5, 2012.
  • “Corporations and Human Rights Violations,” University of Pittsburgh School of Law, February 28, 2012.
  • Presented work in progress on “Kiobel” appeal at the annual meeting of the American Society of International Law’s section on International Law in Domestic Courts, December 16, 2011.
  • Organizer and moderator of panel at the University of Pittsburgh on the uses of foreign and comparative law in today’s courts. Panelists: French Supreme Court justice Olivier Dutheillet de Lamothe, Conseil d’Etat, and Judge William Fletcher, Ninth Circuit, November 10, 2011.
  • Organizer with members of French, History and Political Science departments of interdisciplinary conference at the University of Pittsburgh on “The Idea of France/L’Idée de la France” November, 10-12, 2011, University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
  • Moderator, “Law and Frenchness” panel, ““The Idea of France/L’Idée de la France” conference, University of Pittsburgh, November 12, 2011.
  • “Comparative Law in Cultural and Interdisciplinary Context.” Presentation at annual meeting of American Society of Comparative Law, University of the Pacific, McGeorge Law School, October 22, 2011.
  • « Intercultural Legal Competence ,» workshop participant, Lake Tahoe, California, August 8, 2011.
  • L’Affaire Dreyfus et le procès de Rennes” (“The Dreyfus Affair and the Trial at Rennes”), at conference on Persecution through Prosecution: Alfred Dreyfus, Leo Frank and the Infernal Machine, session on Military Justice, Co-panelists: General André Bach, French army; Professor David Cole, Georgetown University Law School; Michael Marrus, University of Toronto Department of History. Paris, French Senate, July 7, 2011.
  • « ‘L’Affaire du foulard’ : Contextualizing the French Ban on Headscarves and Other Religious Symbols within French Legal Culture,” Villanova Law School, April 21, 2011.
  • Laboulaye, la démocratie américaine et le droit comparé,” Paris in America Colloquium, Collège de France, Paris, March 7, 2011. (Later broadcast on French radio on « France Culture » and posted on Collège de France web site).
  • L’affaire Kiobel et la responsabilité civile des sociétés sous l’Alien Tort Statute, Collège de France, Paris, March 8, 2011.
  • Panel presentation on the Dreyfus Affair, Cardozo Law School, October 26, 2010.
  • La formation des juristes aux États-Unis,” University of Aix-en-Provence Faculty of Law, International Association of Legal Methodology, France, June 17, 2010.




Other Activities

  • Executive Committee, American Society of Comparative Law.
  • Members Consultative Group, Restatement (Fourth) on Foreign Relations and Restatement (Third) United States Principles of International Arbitration.
  • Advisory Board Member, Univ. of Maine Law School French Law Program.

Programs & Courses