Paul Linden-Retek is a Lecturer in the Department of Political Science, Yale University, and a Schell Center Visiting Human Rights Fellow at Yale Law School. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Yale in 2018 with departmental and university distinction and holds previous degrees from Harvard University (A.B. in Social Studies) and Yale Law School (J.D.).
Paul’s research and teaching interests are in modern and contemporary political theory, international human rights law, and critical theory: in particular questions of identity, pluralism, and citizenship; the legitimacy and ethics of borders; American constitutional theory and legal process; comparative political and constitutional thought; the political philosophy of European integration; refugee and asylum law; and law and the humanities.
Responding to the faltering democratic integrity of the European Union, Paul’s dissertation develops a theory of post-national constitutional law, sovereignty, and solidarity that draws on conceptions of identity and time from across Anglo-American legal theory, Continental political and ethical thought, and European jurisprudence. Reducible to neither free economic exchange nor the protection of basic rights nor an enlarged sovereignty, Paul’s hope for reviving post-national political community in the EU asserts instead the central role of narrative interpretation—an innovative view of political and legal judgment that expresses commitment to a past, while holding the self open to reconsideration into the future.
The work was awarded Yale University’s James G. March Prize for an outstanding dissertation in any field of political science and nominated for the American Political Science Association’s William Anderson Award (best dissertation in the general field of federalism) and Edward S. Corwin Award (best dissertation in public law).
At Yale College, Paul has taught on the politics and theory of human rights, the moral foundations of politics, political philosophy, law and globalization, and public international law. In 2014, Paul helped found the Multidisciplinary Academic Program in Human Rights Studies at Yale, where he has advised participating students and each fall has co-taught an advanced human rights seminar. In 2019-20, Paul was a Post-doctoral Emile Noël Global Fellow at the Jean Monnet Center for International and Regional Economic Law & Justice, New York University School of Law.
Paul served previously as a legal adviser in the Human Rights Section, Office of the Government of the Czech Republic; the Legal Unit, International Civilian Office/EU Special Representative, Kosovo; and the EU Department, Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic. At Yale Law School, he was awarded the Jerome Sayles Hess Fund Prize for excellence in the field of international law and served as student director of the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic.
His academic work has been published or is forthcoming in the International Journal of Constitutional Law, Global Constitutionalism, the Croatian Yearbook of European Law and Policy, and the Yale Journal of International Law; and his public writing has appeared in the Boston Review, openDemocracy, and Social Europe.
(Image: Zdeněk Sýkora, “Lines 72”, 1990, oil on canvas, detail.)