Érika Fontánez-Torres


Érika Fontánez-Torres is a Professor at the University of Puerto Rico Law School, where she teaches Jurisprudence and Legal Theory, Property Law, and Theory of Obligations and Contracts, as well as seminars on Law and Politics, Property and Legal Theory, and The Right to the City, among others. Fontánez-Torres has collaborated as pro bono attorney with the Legal Aid Clinic at the University of Puerto Rico, representing environmental activists and community groups in environmental justice and social rights litigation. Fontánez Torres has a J.D. from the University of Puerto Rico, an LL.M. in Law and Social Theory from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a Ph.D. in Political and Legal Philosophy from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. She has published numerous articles and two books: Ambigüedad y Derecho: ensayos de crítica juridica (2014) and Derecho al Derecho: grietas e insterticios del poder judicial en Puerto Rico (2012, co-author). Her forthcoming book is Derecho, Política y Acción en Hannah Arendt. During her 2018 summer visiting fellowship at PLAS, Fontánez Torres will work on her current research project that examines the development of the concept of property in Puerto Rico, its philosophical foundations, and its materialization in governmental policies and social movements’ responses. The main objective is to provide a historical, political and legal overview of property as a concept that has been the subject of intense debate and has shaped power relations. The investigation seeks to demonstrate how the idea of property as an absolute concept (in contrast with its social and ecological function) has contributed to accelerate the dispossession of the most vulnerable members of society and the disappearance of goods with public and common values.  Fontánez Torres will be at PLAS from July 9 to August 4, 2018.