The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Amber B Vayo

Professional Title: 

Graduate Student


Thompson 628


Office Hours: 

Fall 2018 Office Hours: Monday and Wednesday noon-1pm, and by appointment


M.S. in Jurisprudence and Social Thought from American University's School of Public Affairs, Washington, DC; M.A in English from Clark University; B.A. in English Literature from Worcester State College


My area of focus is on power and inequality and law's role in constructing both.  What motivates my projects is the "who benefits" question.  I view laws, policies, and norms, as social constructs and processes which can help expose the way people come to understand their relationship with(in) the broader structures of power, in particular the way law and society shape one's relationship and perception of one's experiences. 

Current projects:

  • measuring the association between cesarean section rates and hospital ownership
  • exploring emerging social movements through the lens of the birth rights/obstetric violence movement 
  • researching the Nazi Lebensborn program and the political and legal dimensions of immediate post-war Germany 


Areas of interest:

  • public law
  • law and society
  • social determinants of health
  • political economy
  • political sociology 
  • rhetoric 
  • agenda setting and framing
  • reproductive rights
  • rights claiming
  • teaching and pedagogy
  • constitutional law and comparative constitutional development 
  • pop culture/geek culture (especially science fiction like Doctor Who, Jericho, and Star Trek)
  • law and literature (especially Harry Potter and Shakespeare) 


Courses in Development:

Law-mageddon: An introduction to Law and Society: this course uses post-apocalyptic readings and movies (such as Demolition Man and World War Z) to consider what we think law can and should do.