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Thronson, David B., J.D.
Alan S. Zekelman Professor of International Human Rights Law and Director of the Talsky Center for Human Rights of Women and Children
  • Alan S. Zekelman Professor of International Human Rights Law and Director of the Talsky Center for Human Rights of Women and Children
  • Faculty
  • 517-432-6916
  • david.thronson@law.msu.edu

vaw_icon_pdf_sm  Curriculum Vitae


David Thronson joined the Michigan State University College of Law faculty in 2010 and currently is the Alan S. Zekelman Professor of International Human Rights Law and Director of the Talsky Center for Human Rights of Women and Children. He previously served as MSU Law’s Associate Dean for Experiential Education and twice as MSU Law’s Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. His research focuses on the intersection of family law and immigration law, in particular on the impact of immigration law on children. His recent work has been published by Oxford University Press, Elgar Publishing, Columbia University Press, New York University Press, and MIT Press. He is co-author of a leading immigration and refugee law case book.

Thronson graduated from the University of Kansas with degrees in mathematics and education, then taught mathematics and science in Nepal as a Peace Corps volunteer. He completed a master’s degree at Teachers College, Columbia University and served as a teacher and administrator in three public high schools in New York City.

In 1994, Thronson earned his JD from Harvard Law School, where he was Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Human Rights Journal. After clerking for the Hon. A. Wallace Tashima of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, he returned to New York City as a Skadden Fellow at The Door’s Legal Services Center where he provided direct legal services to at-risk young people primarily in the areas of immigration, housing, public benefits and family law. He then served as a Gibbons Fellow in Public Interest and Constitutional Law where he litigated cases involving a wide range of issues including the scope of federal habeas jurisdiction to review immigration matters, the application of the Convention Against Torture, the constitutional adequacy of educational opportunities provided to urban children in New Jersey, and discrimination in New Jersey State Police hiring practices.

From 1999 to 2002, Thronson taught in the Lawyering Program of New York University School of Law as he taught courses in immigration law, public international law, and international human rights at Seton Hall University School of Law and Hofstra University School of Law. He subsequently served as Professor and Associate Dean for Clinical Studies at the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Thronson has been a regular visiting professor at the University of Michigan Law School since 2017 and visited at the University of Iowa College of Law in 2020.

Thronson is an elected member of the American Law Institute and a fellow of the American Bar Foundation. He has been served on numerous boards , commissions, and task forces. Among other current roles, he is a member of the Board of Governors of the Society of American Law Teachers, the Coordinating Committee of the Michigan State University Network for Global Civic Engagement, and the Executive Committee of the Section on Children and the Law of the American Association of Law Schools. In 2021, the American Immigration Lawyers Association selected him to receive its Elmer Fried Excellence in Teaching Award.


Select Publications

  • David B. Thronson, Immigration Enforcement and Its Impact on Immigrant Children and Families, in Immigrant and Refugee Children and Families: Culturally Responsive Practice (Alan J. Dettlaff and Rowena Fong, eds., Columbia University Press) (forthcoming 2016).
  • David B. Thronson, Unhappy Families: The Failings of Immigration Law for Families That Are Not All Alike, in the New Deportations Delirium: Interdisciplinary Responses (Daniel Kanstroom and M. Brinton Lykes, eds., NYU Press forthcoming 2015).
  • David B. Thronson, A Tale of Two Systems: Juvenile Justice Systems and their Impact on Immigrant Youth, in Choosing the Future for American Juvenile Justice (David Tanenhaus and Frank Zimring, eds., NYU Press 2014).
  • David B. Thronson, Thinking Globally, Acting Locally: The Problematically Peripheral Role of Immigration Law in the Globalization of Family Law, 22 Iowa J. Transnat’l L. and Contemporary Problems 655 (2013).
  • David B. Thronson & Veronica T. Thronson, Introduction: Global Families in Local Courts, 47 Fam. L.Q. 137 (2013) (as editors for Symposium on Global Families special issue).
  • David B. Thronson, Immigration Enforcement and Family Courts, in Children in Harm’s Way: Criminal Justice, Immigration Enforcement, and Child Welfare (Susan D. Phillips, Wendy Cervantes, Yali Lincroft, Alan J. Dettlaff & Lara Bruce, eds., 2013).

About RCGV

MSU’s Research Consortium on Gender-Based Violence faculty and staff are dedicated to research and outreach initiatives related to ending and preventing gender-based violence and improving the community response to survivors. RCGV faculty are committed to mentoring the next generation of gender-based violence researchers by providing substantial educational and employment opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students.

Gender-based violence (GBV) is a significant and widespread social problem internationally, devastating adults, children, families and societies across the globe. It includes any form of harm that is both a consequence and cause of gender power inequities. It can be physical, psychological, sexual, economic, or sociocultural, and includes but is not limited to sexual abuse, rape, intimate partner abuse, incest, sexual harassment, stalking, femicide, trafficking, gendered hate crimes and dowry abuse. Gender-based violence intersects with race-based, class-based or religiously oppressive forms of abuse, and cross-cuts many other social problems (e.g., poverty, substance abuse, mental and physical health, crime).

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