Kathryn Libal, PhD

Associate Professor and Director, UConn Human Rights Institute

Kathryn Libal, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Social Work and Human Rights at the University of Connecticut and Director of the Human Rights Institute. She received her doctorate in cultural anthropology at the University of Washington. Since 2007, she has taught at the School of Social Work and Human Rights Institute, specializing in human rights, humanitarianism and migration, and social welfare in the Middle East and United States. Her scholarship has addressed women’s and children’s rights movements in Turkey; international non-governmental organizational advocacy on behalf of Iraqi and Syrian refugees; and the localization of human rights norms and practices in the United States, with a focus on social mobilization for the right to adequate food and housing. She is currently conducting a collaborative qualitative study on the politics and practices of voluntarism and refugee resettlement in the United States and Canada. In that research she is examining how voluntarism in an era of xenophobia and backlash creates new forms of civic connection and political participation among volunteers, social service providers, and refugees. Kathryn co-edited Human Rights in the United States: Beyond Exceptionalism (Cambridge University Press, 2011) and wrote Human Rights-Based Approaches to Community Practice in the United States (with Scott Harding, Springer, 2015). She also was lead editor of the contributory volume titled Advancing Human Rights in Social Work Education (Council on Social Work Education Press, 2014). She is currently completing an edited volume with S. Megan Berthold on Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the United States: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (forthcoming, Praeger). She is on the editorial board of the Journal of Human Rights and Social Work and the University of Connecticut’s liaison with the Scholars at Risk Program. She teaches courses on human rights and social work, qualitative research methods, social policy analysis, and approaches to human rights advocacy.


Research Interests

Human Rights and Social Work
International Social Work
Food Justice Mobilization
Women and Children’s Rights Movements
Asylum Seekers, Refugees, and Migrant Workers

Curriculum Vitae

View Kathryn Libal’s CV

Kathryn R. Libal, Ph.D.
Contact Information
Phone(959) 200-3633
Office LocationRoom 313 HSSW