Sabeel Rahman

Visiting Assistant Professor of Law

Fall 2017


K. Sabeel Rahman is an Assistant Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School, where he teaches courses on Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, and Law and Inequality. He is also a Fellow at New America and the Roosevelt Institute.

An interdisciplinary scholar of law, political theory, history, and economic policy, Rahman studies three related themes: first, the relationships between constitutionalism, social movements, and battles for economic and democratic inclusion; second, how policymaking institutions from regulatory agencies to local government bodies can be structured to be more participatory; and third, how to reinvent economic regulation and policy to address new forms of inequality, economic power, and the eroding social contract in today’s economy.

His first book, Democracy Against Domination (Oxford University Press, 2017) explores these themes through the intellectual history of economic regulation and the battles over financial and regulatory reform after the 2008 financial crisis. The book traces how ideas of democracy and economic power transformed from the Progressive and Populist eras to the Obama era, providing a critique of “managerial liberalism.” It then suggests what a more power-oriented and democratic approach to financial and regulatory reform might look like.

He is currently working on two new book projects. In Of, For, and By the People (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming), he analyzes cutting-edge innovations in participatory governance and argues for a shift in the world of democracy reform to address underlying structural problems of power and accountability. In Infrastructure of Opportunity (forthcoming), Rahman explores how law constructs economic inequality, and how a more inclusive economy requires a restructuring of these underlying laws and regulations—from corporate governance to urban planning to antitrust and financial regulation.

In addition to his academic work, his writings have appeared in venues like The Atlantic, The Boston Review, Dissent, The Nation, and His work has also been featured in coverage in The New York Times, Slate, The Atlantic, and other venues.

From 2013-2016, Rahman served as the Research and Design Director of the Gettysburg Project, a Ford Foundation-funded initiative working with leading community organizers, academics, and funders to develop new strategies for long-term civic engagement and democratic renewal. From 2014-15 he served as a Special Advisor in the de Blasio administration in New York City, leading an inter-agency strategy and design process to help formulate a long-term, inclusive economic development agenda for the city. From 2015-2016, Rahman was appointed to the Rent Guidelines Board, which sets rent stabilization and rent control policy for New York City. He has previously worked as a researcher and advisor in the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, and an advisor to the Governance Lab @ NYU, a hub for research and innovation on civic technology and democratic participation. He currently also serves as a Board Member for The New Press.

Rahman earned his J.D. and Ph.D in Government, both at Harvard University, as well as an M.Sc in Economics for Development and M.St in Sociolegal Studies from the University of Oxford, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. He has previously been the Reginald Lewis Fellow at Harvard Law School (2012-2014); a Graduate Fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics (2010-11), and a fellow at Harvard University Center for American Political Studies (2011-12). He is also a member of the Tobin Project‘s scholar network.

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