Prof. Dana Zartner

Dana Zartner

Associate Professor, International Studies Department; Adjunct Professor, USF School of Law

Full-Time Faculty
Part-Time Faculty
Kalmanovitz Hall 222B


Dana Zartner is an Associate Professor in the International Studies Department at the University of San Francisco and is an Adjunct Professor at the School of Law. She received her BA in International Relations from Hamline University, her JD, with a concentration in international law from Boston University, and her Ph.D. in Political Science from UC Davis. Professor Zartner specializes in international and comparative law, with a focus on the intersection of environmental justice and human rights. Her book Courts, Codes, and Custom: Legal Tradition and State Policy Toward International Human Rights and Environmental Law was released by Oxford University Press in 2014, and she has published articles on human rights and environmental topics in International Politics Science Review, International Studies Perspectives, Human Rights Review, and the Colorado Journal of International Environmental Law & Policy Yearbook.

Professor Zartner’s current research focuses on the intersection of environmental protections and human rights as a critical point for advocacy and activism. Around the world, activists, lawyers, and judges are using new and creative methods for addressing this environmental issues and, in the process, are working to reframe how we think about the human-nature relationship. Particularly when faced with legislative and executive branches of government reluctant to promote and protect broad-scale environmental policies and address human rights-related impacts, creative legal arguments and forward-thinking courts, drawing on different legal traditions, have become increasingly important as a bulwark against over-development of natural resources, issues of environmental justice, and encroachment on culturally and environmentally significant lands. Professor Zartner is working on a new book that highlights this innovative, multilevel activism around the world. She is also developing research on the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility as a key component of improving environmental protections around the world.

As a Scholar Activist, Professor Zartner has served as an accredited representative at various UN meetings, including the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Geneva and the Committee on the Status of Women in New York. She is also currently volunteering with the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band in Northern California as they work to prevent the granting of new permits for sand and gravel mining on lands of cultural and spiritual importance to them, and with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund to provide comparative legal analysis on rights of nature efforts.

Research Areas

  • Development and protection of nature and the environment through law and policy
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Innovative and multilevel activism
  • The relationship between international law and domestic law
  • The role of culture in the development and understanding of law and politics


  • Board Member, Environmental Studies Faculty Advisory Board
  • Founder and Board Member, Faculty Advisory Board on Internationalization
  • Volunteer, Community Environment Legal Defense Fund
  • Member of the Bar, State of Massachusetts


  • PhD, Political Science, University of California, Davis
  • JD, Concentration in International Law, Boston University
  • BA, International Relations, Hamline University

Selected Publications