Brian Gran


Mather Memorial Building 224

Other Information

Education: Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy Research, Yale University, 1997-1999
Ph.D. Sociology, Northwestern University, 1997

Personal Statement

My research, teaching, and service concentrate on how we use rights as means by which to improve well-being. My research program investigates what institutions and structures facilitate, and obstruct, agency when it comes to using rights to improve outcomes, reduce disparities, and advance social policies. My work matters to a range of stakeholders, from non-governmental organizations to quasi- and governmental institutions. Much of my work is interdisciplinary, drawing on sociology, law, and public policy research. A key component of my research is collaborating with students. I served as a Jefferson Science Fellow over 2020-2021 with a Bureau of the U.S. Department of State’s Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights. I completed my Jefferson Science Fellowship with the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and returned to CWRU where I will teach Sociology of Human Rights for the Spring Semester of 2022. I will retain my status as an expert consultant to the US Department of State’s Bureau of Counterterrorism.


I am thrilled to enjoy opportunities to teach courses in areas of research methods, law and society, and social policy. I have regularly enjoyed opportunities to teach courses on Research Methods, as well as Comparative-Historical Methods, to undergraduate and graduate students. In the area of Law and Society scholarship, I teach courses on Law and Society, Law and the Public-Private Dichotomy for Social Policy, Children’s Rights, and Human Rights. These courses on law intersect with topics around social policy. I also teach a course on Health Policy, which places the United States in comparative perspective.

Research Projects

Children’s Rights: My research on children’s rights seeks to answer why we need children’s rights when, after all, we have human rights that are universal, as well as identifying factors that influence implementation and decoupling of children’s rights across the world.

Gran, B. In press. Sociology of Children’s Rights. Polity Press.

Robinson, L, and Gran, B. (2018). No Kid is an Island. American Behavioral Scientist 62 (10): 1413-1430.

Gran, B. (2017). An International System of Children’s Rights? Annual Review of Law and Social Science 13: 79-100.

Human Right to Science: Articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the human right to science has potential to benefit people all over the world, particularly people living in countries where women and girls do not have the same opportunities as men and boys to pursue educations and careers.

Boggio, A, and Gran, B. A Proposal for Indicators of the Human Right to Science. Invited chapter for the book, The Human Right to Science, Then and Now.

Gran, B. The Human Right to Science. Research monograph in progress.

Gran, B. Indicators of the Human Right to Science. Research manuscript in progress.

I have provided commentary to UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights regarding its General Comment on the human right to science.

International Survey of Human Rights (ISHR): David Brunsma, Virginia Tech Sociology, Keri Iyall Smith, Suffolk Sociology, and I direct the ISHR, the first truly international survey of human rights. The ISHR asks questions about universal human rights norms and laws applicable across social and cultural contexts to investigate how opinions of, beliefs about, attitudes toward, and experiences with human rights vary and why.

Recovering from Spinal Cord Injury: Kimberly Anderson, CWRU Professor Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Anne Bryden, a Case Western doctoral student, Sue Hinze, CWRU Sociology, and I are undertaking a qualitative study of how people with spinal cord injuries (SCI) and their families experience recovery and rehabilitation.
Gran, B., and Bryden, A. Disability Rights and Social and Economic Participation. Invited chapter for the book, Oxford Handbook on the Sociology of Disability.

Hospitals and Community Benefits: With Cory Cronin, a CWRU PhD and now an Ohio University faculty member, and Berkeley Franz, Ohio University, this project investigates the degree to which hospitals perform community benefits, what kinds of benefits, and what societal- and community-level factors mitigate community benefits.
Cronin, C., Franz, B., and Gran, B. Hospital Community Benefit in Rural Appalachia: One More Gap. Accepted for publication with Rural Sociology.

Cronin, C., and Gran, B. The importance of environment: Neighborhood characteristics and parent perceptions of child health. Journal of Child Health Care. Forthcoming.

Cronin, C., and Gran, B. (2017). Community Benefit Practices and their Relationships to Organizational Survival. Journal of Organizational Psychology 17(6): 37-47.

Parental Leave Policy: With Karie Feldman, a CWRU PhD and now a CWRU faculty member, this project asks whether governments can use rights to change how parents raise families. Feldman and I apply a typology we have developed to forty-four countries to show that few public paternity-leave policies are organized to promote equity in families.

Feldman, K., and Gran B. Do paternity leave policies promote health equity? A cross-national examination of paternity leave policies and health outcomes. Accepted for publication with Journal of Family Relations.

Feldman, K. and Gran, B. (2016). What’s in it for dad? Developing a typology for a cross-national comparison of paternity leave policies. Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare 43 (1), 95-119.

Research Support

Gran, B. NSF RAPID: COVID-19 and Derogation of Human Rights. Law and Science Program, National Science Foundation. Summer 2020. Funded.

Anderson, K., A. Bryden (CWRU Sociology PhD student), S. Hinze (CWRU Sociology), & B. Gran. Perspectives on Recovery and Interventions to Restore Function after Spinal Cord Injury. Spinal Cord Injury Research Program, Department of Defense. Spring 2019. Funded.

Cronin, C., B. Franz, & B. Gran. Understanding the Contributions For-Profit Hospitals Make as Community Anchors: Does a Corporate Mission Detract from Social Responsibility? Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Fall 2019. Funded.


  • Chair and Past Chair, American Sociological Association Human Rights Section. 2018-2020.
  • Chair, Children’s Rights Center, Hope for Children, 2018-present.Chair, Collaborative Research Network on Law and the Public-Private Dichotomy, Law and Society Association. 2009-present.
  • Member, American Sociological Association Program Committee. 2019.
  • Member, National Conference of Lawyers and Scientists. 2016-2019.


  • Jefferson Science Fellow, U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020-2021.
  • STAIR Mentor Fellows Program, Case Western Reserve Univ. 2019-2020.
  • Recipient, Case Western Reserve Univ. Diekhoff Graduate Student Teaching Award. 2019.
  • Discussant, Day of Discussion, UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Geneva. October 2018.
  • Fulbright Scholar, Iceland. 2013.

Invited Lectures and Talks

I have been invited to speak with the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Science and the Human Rights Coalition of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and COST Action IS1409, as well as universities including Seoul National University, Sungkyunkwan University, the University of Bath, the University of Michigan, and the University of Cambridge. I am honored to serve as a member of the 2019 Program Committee of the American Sociological Association, as well as Chair (now: Past Chair) of the ASA Human Rights Section. I enjoy serving on review panels for the Fulbright Commission, the Boren Fellowship program, and the National Science Foundation.

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