Reilly Anne Dempsey Willis joined University of Suffolk in May 2019 as a Lecturer in Law. She leads on Legal Method and Advocacy, Research Methods in Law, Law Dissertations, and Clinical Legal Practice. Additionally she lectures in the Law of Tort and guest lectures in International Relations (for Politics students) and International Humanitarian Law (for Early Education Studies). Reilly is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and currently serves as a University-wide Representative to the University of Suffolk’s Senate.
Prior to joining Suffolk, she was an Associate Tutor in law and political science at the University of East Anglia, where she was awarded her PhD in 2019/20. Her doctoral research uses innovative empirical methods to evaluate the long term impact of international Twitter campaigns on domestic women’s rights in seven countries around the world. Her work cuts across international human rights law, international relations, and women’s rights. Her most recent publication is ‘Habermasian utopia or Sunstein's echo chamber? The ‘dark side’ of hashtag hijacking and feminist activism’ in Legal Studies. Her full publication record is available on OARS.
While at UEA, Reilly was a research associate on the Economic and Social Research Council funded project ‘REDEGN II: Rethinking Environment and Development in an Era of Global Norms: Exploring international politics of justice on carbon forestry and hydropower project’, where she applied her scholarly work on international norms to explore the impact of hydropower projects on local populations in Sudan, in particular the role of human rights in protecting indigenous populations.
Reilly also holds a Juris Doctor from New York University School of Law where she was an International Law and Human Rights Fellow at the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, and a Masters in Public Health from Columbia University. She has worked extensively as an advocate for women’s rights, both in the charity sector and within the UN system. A highlight of this work was her work on the successful case of Alyne da Silva Pimentel Teixeira v. Brazil (Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women), the first time the UN system officially recognised maternal mortality as a human rights violation. As part of her earlier work in this area, Reilly published two book chapters: ‘Going Negative: How Reproductive Rights Discourse Has Been Altered from a Positive to a Negative Rights Framework in Support of 'Women's Rights' in Women’s Global Health and Human Rights (eds. Murthy and Smith) with Benajmin Mason Meier, and ‘Rights as Recourse: Globalized Motherhood and Human Rights’ in The Globalization of Motherhood: Deconstructions and reconstructions of biology and care (eds. Chavkin and Maher) with Joanne Csete.