Dr. Ghislain Otis

Fulbright Visiting Chair in North American Studies (2008-2009)

Ghislain Otis is Professor of Law and holds a research chair on Legal Diversity and Indigenous Peoples at the University of Ottawa in Canada. A Commonwealth Scholar, he received his PhD from the University of Cambridge after submitting an award-winning thesis on comparative constitutional law. Following his postdoctoral work at the University of Montreal, he joined the Law Faculty of Laval University in Quebec City where he developed his expertise in the fields of constitutional law, human rights and indigenous peoples law. Dr. Otis has been a Visiting Professor and Scholar in several foreign universities. In addition to heading or co-directing international research teams, he has represented Canada on various bodies within the Agence internationale de la Francophonie, a major international organization devoted to scientific and academic cooperation between French-speaking universities and research centers. For two years, he headed the Research Network on Human Rights, which designs research programs, awards scholarships and funds collaborative international projects. As the Canadian member of a Working Group on Governance recently set up by the Agence, he is currently developing a new research agenda for the Francophonie whose objective is to investigate the practical importance of legal pluralism and non-western legal cultures in postcolonial democratic governance.

Dr. Otis has edited and authored several books and scholarly articles. He has advised governments, private organisations and indigenous nations on a wide range of constitutional issues pertaining to human rights and indigenous law. As a member of the bar, he has acted as counsel in constitutional litigation and high profile indigenous land claim cases. During his residence at the Center for North American Studies, he will work on his Fulbright research project entitled "Non-Territorial Indigenous Governance and Legal Pluralism in Canada and the United States." In the Spring term, he will teach a seminar on minorities and indigenous peoples in international human rights law.