Ioanna Tourkochoriti is a legal scholar working in the field of human rights, jurisprudence, constitutional law, comparative law, political theory. For eight years she held various research and faculty appointments at Harvard University. She was a Wertheim Fellow with the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School and a Lecturer on Law and Social Studies at the Committee on Degrees in Social Studies at Harvard University. She currently teaches at the School of Law of the University of Galway. During Academic Year 2019-2020 she was a Visiting Fellow at LSE's Law Department.
She received her PhD (in Law) from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales - Paris, France. Her dissertation (743p.) was awarded the Highest Academic Distinction (unanimously, French/English defense). In order to finish writing it she spent two years as a Visiting Researcher at Harvard Law School. She received a Masters in Political Philosophy from EHESS - Paris, and an L.L.M. in Public Law from Université Panthéon-Assas, Paris II, France. She holds an L.L.B. in Law (4 year law degree) from Athens Law School, Greece. She has received a number of Fellowships and grants from the Greek State and the European Union.
Her book “Freedom of Speech: A Philosophical Inquiry Into the Revolutionary Roots of American and French Legal Thought" (Cambridge University Press, 2022), was characterised by reviewers as "leading", "innovative" and "based on extraordinary research". It argues that the difference in the balancing of the two rights reflects a difference in the understanding of the role of the state concerning the definition of the content and the limits of liberty. The book is based in analysis of the understanding of liberty in France and the US since the French and the American Revolutions. It engages with major political theorists and discusses how they were read and understood by political actors on the two sides of the Atlantic.
She has published widely and with leading presses and journals from all around the world on freedom of expression, human dignity, anti-discrimination law, comparative constitutional law. Her publications include analyses of hard cases involving freedom of expression and freedom of religion and enforcing antidiscrimination law. Her paper "The Burka Ban: Comparing Freedom of Religion in France and the USA" has been downloaded more than 10,700 times (at: http://scholarship.law.wm.edu/wmborj/vol20/iss3/4/ and https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2028341). Her paper "What is the best way to realise rights?" published by the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies in 2019 is featured by Oxford University Press among the papers that have made the most impact in the field of law: https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/best-of-law
She has also published on the comparative law methodologies she follows in some of her writings. She is currently working on projects relating to comparative constitutionalism, human dignity and U.S. and E.U. Anti-Discrimination Law. She is also co-editing collections on these issues with scholars from all over the world.
She has lectured at numerous Universities all around the world. At Harvard University she taught courses on human rights and constitutional liberties from a comparative and international perspective, jurisprudence, social and political theory. She received Teaching Excellence awards almost every semester she taught at Harvard by the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning and the Dean of Harvard College. She supervised a number of thesis and served as a member of the Board of Academic Advisors at the Committee on Degrees in Social Studies. She has also taught at the University of South Carolina (Comparative Law) and at the Law Department of Carleton University, Canada (Equality-Discrimination).
She participates in numerous research consortia all around the world. She is currently co-leading 7 research networks, a network on antidiscrimination law and religion, a network on critiquing human rights, a network on comparative legal history, a network on the comparative enforcement of international law, a network on hate speech, an interdisciplinary network on hate speech online and an International Research Collaborative on 'Religion and Women's rights: Global Perspectives' with scholars from all over the world. This IRC's activities are sponsored by the American Association for Law and Society and the NSF in the United States. She has served as the Chair of the Younger Comparativists Committee of the American Society of Comparative Law. She is currently a member of the Board of Editors of the American Journal of Comparative Law, a member of the plurilinguism Committee of the American Society of Comparative Law and the Chair of the Website Committee of the same society.
Apart from being a legal theorist she has also practical experience as a lawyer. She has handled human rights cases at the European Court of Human Rights and she has served as Investigator with the Greek Ombudsman (Human Rights Division). In this position she mediated in cases of complaints of the citizens against the government for violations of their rights and authored numerous reports proposing solutions to the Greek Government towards a more efficient public administration respectful of citizens' rights. She authored several landmark policy papers in the area of human rights law, which are cited in numerous academic works in law, political theory, history of art.