Emory Report
January 31, 2005
Volume 60, Number 17


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January 31 , 2005
Frank Alexander to give Distinguished Faculty Lecture

BY Katherine Baust

Professor of Law Frank Alexander will deliver the 10 th annual Distinguished Faculty Lecture on Monday, Feb. 7, at 4 p.m. in the Dobbs Center's Winship Ballroom.

Alexander's lecture, "Life Together: How Housing Laws Define America's Families," will address how housing laws are used to regulate family life. He will examine such laws as restrictive covenants, building occupancy codes and zoning laws, exploring not only how they define the land and physical structures but also the range of permitted property uses and, therefore, often the relationships between persons living together.

"I'm attempting to paint a picture of how housing laws are laden with incredible sociological assumptions that have not been historically or socially examined," Alexander said.

"For example, building codes should be based on empirical public health standards, not social norms. My lecture is intended as an invitation to join in the inquiry to help unpack culture biases."

Alexander is director of the Emory's Project on Affordable Housing and Community Development and co-director of the Law and Religion Program. The author of more than 30 publications in real estate finance, law and theology, and community development, his recent publications include Modern Christian Teachings on Law, Politics, Society and Human Nature , co-edited with John Witte, forthcoming in 2005; Land Bank Authorities: Tools for Community Development , forthcoming in 2005; and the fourth edition of Georgia Real Estate Finance & Foreclosure Law , 2004.

Alexander's work in recent years has focused on community development and affordable housing. From 1993-96, he served as a Carter Center fellow, specializing in neighborhood redevelopment activities and low-income housing, in conjunction with The Atlanta Project. He also co-chaired the Atlanta City Council Task Force on Gentrification and currently serves as a technical adviser to the National Vacant Properties Campaign, a project of Smart Growth America, the International City/County Management Association and the Local Initiatives Support Commission to help revitalize communities.

Distinguished Faculty lecturers are selected by the Faculty Council from a submitted list of nominees. The lecture committee, made up of previous speakers and chaired by Michael Rogers, associate professor of mathematics at Oxford College and chair-elect of Faculty Council, gathers and evaluates nominations from faculty members and makes a recommendation to the council, which then chooses a speaker.

"Being asked to give the Distinguished Faculty Lecture is a tremendous honor and privilege, to share my work with the University at large," Alexander said. "It is also an opportunity to receive guidance from colleagues. My presentation is a report of my early research taken from a multiyear project and is very much a work in progress."

The Distinguished Faculty Lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, call 404-712-8932.