Professor of Law, and former Canada Research Chair in Citizenship and Multiculturalism

Jackman Law Building
Room J338
78 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5

Tel.: 416-978-1620

Ayelet Shachar is Professor of Law, Political Science, and Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, and former Canada Research Chair in Citizenship and Multiculturalism. She has published and lectured widely on citizenship theory, immigration law, multiculturalism, cultural diversity and women's rights, law and religion in comparative perspective, highly skilled migration and global inequality.

Shachar is the author of Multicultural Jurisdictions: Cultural Differences and Women's Rights (Cambridge University Press, 2001 & 2009), for which she won the American Political Science Association 2002 Foundations of Political Theory Section Best First Book Award. This work has inspired a new generation of thinking about how to best mitigate the tensions between gender equality and religious diversity. It has also proved influential in the real world, intervening in actual public policy and legislative debates. It has been cited by, among others, England's Archbishop of Canterbury (who described Shachar's work as "highly original and significant"), Ontario's Ministry of the Attorney General, and the Supreme Court of Canada

Shachar's work combines "big ideas" from law and political theory with innovative problem-solving and institutional design. The Birthright Lottery: Citizenship and Global Inequality (Harvard University Press, 2009) was named 2010 International Ethics Notable Book in recognition of its "superior scholarship and contribution to the field of international ethics." It has created a groundswell of interest among policymakers and academics alike. Located at the intersection of law, economics, and political philosophy, The Birthright Lottery crafts new legal concepts and innovative institutional designs to promote global justice, with the aim of ameliorating the most glaring opportunity inequalities that attach to this system of allocation in today's world. This work has been the topic of special-issue symposiums, international workshops and roundtables, and the subject of essays that have appeared in professional and interdisciplinary publications, including the American Journal of Comparative Law, Ethics & International Affairs, Harvard Law ReviewIssues in Legal Scholarship, La Revue NouvellePolitical Theory, Rorotoko, Nexus, Edge, Tikkun, and the Literary Review of Canada.  

Shachar is the lead editor of the field-defining Oxford Handbook of Citizenship (Oxford University Press, 2017 & 2020). This work has already emerged as a major reference work in the field for those engaged with citizenship from a philosophical, political, legal and cultural perspective. It has been described by Joseph Weiler as: “The definitive source on a critical concept in political and social life. Innovative in its conception and authoritative in its excitation.” Pratap Mehta observes that “[n]o other single volume achieves the theoretical acuity, historical depth, legal grounding, and sociological analysis of citizenship that this book manages to achieve. It is clear, wide ranging, and admirably un-parochial in the range of its references.”

Shachar newest book project, The Shifting Border: Legal Cartographies of Migration and Mobility (Critical Powers Series, Manchester University Press, 2020), critically examines the role of territory and new measures of managed migration control in selectively restricting - or, conversely, accelerating - mobility and access to the world’s prosperous countries, as governments seek to regain control over a crucial realm of their allegedly waning sovereign authority. Here, as in her previous writings, Shachar not only reveals the deep currents that are reshaping the terrain of law and mobility, but also seeks to develop innovative legal responses to break the current deadlock as she seeks to refute the claim that applicable solutions are beyond reach or impossible to imagine. This work appears under the auspices of the Critical Powers Series, which is “dedicated to constructing dialogues around innovative and original work in social and political theory”.

Shachar has received excellence and research awards in four different countries: Canada, Germany, Israel, and the United States. She was nominated Member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, Fulbright Fellow, Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Princeton's Law and Public Affairs Program (LAPA), Emile Noël Senior Fellow at NYU School of Law, and the W. M. Keck Fellow in Legal Ethics and Professional Culture at Yale Law School. In recognition of her excellence in research and teaching as a faculty member at Toronto, she has received the University's Provostial Merit Increase Award for five consecutive years. She has published extensively in leading law reviews, social science, and political philosophy journals, including the Yale Law Journal, Theoretical Inquiries in Law, Journal of Political Philosophy, Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law ReviewNYU Law Review, University of Chicago Law ReviewYale Journal of Law & the Humanities, Philosophy and Social Criticism, Political Theory, and Perspectives on Politics

Shachar earned her LL.B in law and B.A. in political science, summa cum laude, from Tel Aviv University; LL.M. and J.S.D, both from Yale Law School. Before arriving at Yale, she was law clerk to Chief Justice Aharon Barak of the Supreme Court of Israel. In addition to delivering keynotes and lectures to academic and general audiences on five different continents, Shachar serves on the editorial boards of five peer-reviewed journals in her field. She has provided pro-bono expert consultation to judges, governmental commissions, the European Parliament and the World Bank, as well as non-governmental organizations specializing in citizenship, immigration and religious toleration. Shachar has held appointments as the Leah Kaplan Visiting Professor in Human Rights at Stanford Law School, and the Jeremiah Smith Jr. Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. 

She is an Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. In 2015, she became Director of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity. In 2019, she was awarded the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, Germany's most prestigious research award, for her groundbreaking work on citizenship and the legal frameworks of accommodation in multicultural societies.

B.A. (Political Science) - Tel Aviv University (1993)
LL.B. - Tel Aviv University (1993)
LL.M. - Yale Law School (1995)
J.S.D. - Yale Law School (1997)
Academic appointments
* Director, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity
* Canada Research Chair in Citizenship and Multiculturalism (2007-2015)
* University of Toronto, Professor of Law, Political Science & Global Affairs (2007-present)
* Harvard Law School, Jeremiah Smith Jr. Visiting Professor of Law (2007-2008)
* Stanford Law School, Leah Kaplan Visiting Professor in Human Rights (2006-2007)
* University of Toronto, Connaught Research Fellow in the Social Sciences (2005)
* Princeton University, Program in Law and Public Affairs (LAPA), Distinguished Visiting Scholar (2003)
* NYU School of Law, Emile Noël Senior Fellow (2003)
* Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, Member (2000-2001)
* Yale Law School, W.M. Keck Foundation Fellow in Legal Ethics (1997-1998)
* Yale Law School, Tutor-in-Law (1996-1998)
Awards and distinctions
* Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (FRSC)
* Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, Germany's most prestigious research award, 2019
* American Political Science Association (APSA), Migration and Citizenship Best Chapter Award (2013) for "Citizenship" in the Oxford Handbook of Comparative Constitutional Law
* International Studies Association (ISA), International Ethics Book Award (2010) Notable Book Distinction; The Birthright Lottery: Citizenship and Global Inequality (Harvard University Press, 2009)
* American Political Science Association (APSA), Foundations of Political Theory Section (2002) Winner of the Best First Book Award for Multicultural Jurisdictions: Cultural Differences and Women’s Rights (Cambridge University Press, 2001)
* Canadian Association of Law Teachers (CALT) Scholarly Paper Award (2001) Honorable Mention; “The Puzzle of Interlocking Power Hierarchies: Sharing the Pieces of Jurisdictional Authority,” Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review (2001)
* J.S.D. Tory Writing Award (2007) for "Reshaping the Multicultural Model: Group Accommodation and Individual Rights," Windsor Review of Legal and Social Issues
* Una Weiler Excellence Award (1994) for “The Sexuality of Law: The Legal Discourse of Rape,” Tel Aviv University Law Review [Hebrew]
Other service
* World Bank, Expert Consultative Group (ECG), Pro-Bono Advisor (2011-present)
* Citizenship Studies (editorial board member, 2010-2013)
* Diversities (MPI/UNESCO editorial board member, 2010-present)
* Ethnicities (editoria board member, 2008-present)
* Journal of Politics (editorial board mebmer, 2015-present)
* Law & Ethics of Human Rights (editorial board member, 2009-present)
* University of Toronto Law Journal (editorial board member, 2009-2016)
* Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) National Selection Committee Member (2008-2009)
Selected publications

The Shifting Border: Legal Cartographies of Migration and Mobility  
(Critical Powers Series, Manchester University Press, 2020)

The Oxford Handbook of Citizenship (Oxford University Press, 2017)

The Birthright Lottery: Citizenship and Global Inequality
(Harvard University Press, 2009)

Multicultural Jurisdictions: Cultural Differences and Women’s Rights
(Cambridge University Press, 2001)

The Marketization of Citizenship in an Age of Restrictionism
32 Ethics & International Affairs (2018), 3-13

Golden Visas, Dreams & Ethics in Immigration 
Carnegie Council podcast interview with Ayelet Shachar

On Citizenship, States, and Markets (with Ran Hirschl)
22 Journal of Political Philosophy (2014), 231-257

Entangled: Family, Religion and Human Rights   
Human Rights: The Hard Questions
Edited by Cindy Holder and David Reidy
(Cambridge University Press, 2013), 115-135

Demystifying Culture
10 I-CON International Journal of Constitutional Law (2012), 429-448

Picking Winners: Olympic Citizenship and the Global Race for Talent
120 Yale Law Journal 2088 (2011)      

Earned Citizenship: Property Lessons for Immigration Reform
23 Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities (2011), 110-158

Privatizing Diversity: A Cautionary Tale from Religious Arbitration in Family Law
9 Theoretical Inquiries in Law 573 (2008)