Martha Grace Duncan

Professor of Law

Curriculum Vitae

Publications List



Areas of Expertise

Criminal Law, Law and Literature, Juvenile Law, Law and the Unconscious Mind


Martha Grace Duncan brings a rich array of experiences and credentials to her work at Emory Law School. As an undergraduate, she lived for six months in Bogotá, Colombia, where she interviewed and traveled with members of the Alianza Nacional Popular, which was then Colombia’s major opposition party. In graduate school, on a fellowship from the Latin American Institute of Columbia University, she journeyed to remote regions of Brazil to interview leaders of sugar worker unions and peasant movements.

For her doctoral thesis in political science, Martha Grace Duncan conducted in-depth interviews with life-long American activists to explore the genesis and meaning of radicalism in their lives. On the strength of this work, she was admitted as a post-doctoral candidate to the NYU Psychoanalytic Institute at New York University Medical Center.

She earned her law degree at Yale Law School, where she was elected an Article and Book Review Editor of the YALE LAW JOURNAL. Following graduation, she clerked for Judge Robert Bork on the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Professor Duncan’s research interests focus on the symbolism and meanings of prison; the functions of the criminal for the law-abiding citizen; Spanish language and literature; and law and psychoanalysis.

Professor Duncan has published articles and essays in a range of fields and genres, including political science, history, memoir, and law. Her article “So Young and So Untender”: Remorseless Children and the Expectations of the Law was published in the COLUMBIA LAW REVIEW, and her essay Beauty in the Dark of Night: The Pleasures of Form in Criminal Law was selected as a “Notable Essay” in THE BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS 2011. Her book, ROMANTIC OUTLAWS, BELOVED PRISONS: THE UNCONSCIOUS MEANINGS OF CRIME AND PUNISHMENT (New York University Press) was reissued in paperback and received numerous favorable reviews.

Beauty in the Dark of Night; The Pleasures of Form in Criminal Law
Emory Law Journal, Vol. 59, 2010

'So Young and So Untender' Remorseless Children and the Expectations of the Law
Emory Public Law Reserch Paper No. 05-40, Columbia Law Review, Vol. 102, p. 1469, 2002

So Young and So Untender: Remoreseless Children and the Expectations of the Law
102 Colum. L. Rev. 1469 2002

Romantic Outlaws, Beloved Prisons: The Unconscious Meanings of Crime and Punishment
New York University Press, 1996

In Slime and Darkness: The Metaphor of Filth in Criminal Justice
68 Tul. L. Rev. 725 1994

Born for Friendship
43 Emory L. J. 1141 1994

Strange Liking: Our Admiration for Criminals, A
1991 U. Ill. L. Rev. 1 1991

Cradled on the Sea: Positive Images of Prison and Theories Punishment
76 Cal. L. Rev. 1201 1988


Martha Grace Duncan

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