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Keith Aoki

Professor of Law


B.F.A. Wayne State 1978

M.A. Fine Arts, Hunter College 1986

J.D. Harvard Law School 1990

LL.M. University of Wisconsin Law School 1993


The King Hall community mourns the passing of Professor Keith Aoki, who died at the age of 55 on April 26, 2011 following a prolonged illness.  A brilliant scholar, devoted teacher, and beloved colleague, Professor Aoki had a lasting, positive impact on faculty and students.  More details here.

Keith Aoki sat on the editorial board for the Harvard Environmental Law Review and served on the editorial staff of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. He then practiced law for two years at Hale and Dorr, a Boston firm specializing in technology law. He was interested in the intersection of critical theory and the law. His article, "(Intellectual) Property and Sovereignty: Notes toward a Cultural Geography of Authorship," appeared in the Stanford Law Review.

Professor Aoki wrote in the area of critical race theory and his article "Centering the Immigrant in the Inter/National Imagination" (co-written with Robert S. Chang) appeared in the California Law Review. He also wrote in the overlapping area of local government law and his article, "Race, Space and Place: The Relation Between Architectural Modernism, Modernism, Urban Planning and Post Gentrification" appeared in the Fordham Urban Law Journal.

Subject Areas

Local Government Law, Globalization, Critical Theory

Selected Career Highlights

  • 1979-80: recipient, National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship
  • Spring 1998: awarded tenure, University of Oregon Law School
  • 1998-99: visiting professor, Boston College Law School (Property, Trademarks and Unfair Competition Law, Copyright Law)
  • Spring 1999: adjunct professor, Columbia University Law School (Asian American Jurisprudence)
  • Spring 2002: promoted to full professor, University of Oregon Law School
  • 2002-03: visiting professor, Lewis & Clark Law School (Cyberlaw, Copyright Law)
  • 2002-03: Chair, AALS Planning Committee for the Property Section Mid-Year Meeting
  • 2003-06: Member, AALS Professional Development Committee
  • Spring 2004: named Philip H. Knight University Professor, University of Oregon Law School
  • 2004-05: member, AALS Planning Committee for the Intellectual Property Section Mid-Year Meeting
  • July 2007: joined the UC-Davis King Hall School of Law faculty
  • 2007-08: Chair, AALS Section on State and Local Government Law

Selected Publications

Seed Wars, Cases and Materials on Intellectual Property and Plant Genetic Resources, January 2008, Carolina Academic Press

Bound By Law? Tales From the Public Domain, (Duke Center for the Study of the Public Domain, 2006)(with James Boyle and Jennifer Jenkins), available for free pdf download at

Casual Legal Studies, Keith Aoki & Luke W. Cole, (1989) (Introduction by Duncan Kennedy;1990 Supplement).

Six Degrees of Me, Jurist (Nov. 1999).

Theft! A History of Music from Plato to Hip Hop, (forthcoming 2011)(with James Boyle and Jennifer Jenkins)

Pastures of Peonage?: Agricultural Concentration and Labor Migration: The Case of North America in the Early 21st Century, __ Northeastern Law Review (forthcoming 2011)(with John Shuford)

Food Forethought: Intergenerational Equity and Global Food Supply -- Past, Present and Future, __ Wisconsin Law Review (forthcoming 2011)

Welcome to Amerizona -- Immigrants Out!: Assessing "Dystopian Dreams" and "Usuable Futures" of Immigration Reform, and Considering Whether "Immigrations Regionalism" Is an Idea Whose Time Has Come, 30 Fordham Urban Law Journal (forthcoming 2011)(with John Shuford)

The Yellow Pacific: Transnational Identities, Diasporic Racialization and the "Asian Century", 44 UC Davis Law Review (forthcoming 2011)

Pictures Within Pictures, 26 Ohio Northern University Law Review 1 (forthcoming 2010)

"Free Seeds, Not Free Beer": Participatory Plant Breeding, Open Source Seeds, and Acknowledging User Innovation in Agriculture, 77 Fordham Law Review 2275 (2009)

Seeds of Dispute: Intellectual Property Rights and Agricultural Biodiversity, 3 Golden Gate University Environmental Law Journal 79 (2009)

"Latinos and the Law: Cases and Materials": The Need for Focus in Critical Analysis, 12 Harvard Latino Law Review 73 (2009)(with Kevin R. Johnson)

Half-Full, Half-Empty? Asian American Electoral "Presence" in 2008, 86 Denver University Law Review 565 (2009)(with Robert S. Chang)

An Assessment of LatCrit Theory Ten Years After, 83 Indiana Law Journal 1151 (2008)(with Kevin R. Johnson)

(In)visible Cities: Three Local Government Models and Immigration Regulation, 10 Oregon Review of International Law 453 (2008)(with John Shuford, Kristy Young and Thomas Hwei)

Distributive and Syncretic Motives in Intellectual Property Law with Special Reference to Coercion, Agency, and Development), 40 UC-Davis Law Review 717 (2007)

Balancing Act: Reflections on Justice O'Connor's Intellectual Property Jurisprudence, 44 Houston Law Review 965 (2007)

Reclaiming 'Common Heritage' in the Plant Genetic Resources Regime Complex, 2007 Michigan State University Law Review 35 (with Kennedy Luvai)

Trading Spaces: Measure 37, MacPherson v. Department of Administrative Services and Transferable Development Rights as a Path Out of Deadlock, 20 Journal of Environmental Law and Litigation 273 (2005)(with Kim Briscoe and Ben Hovland)

All the King's Horses and All the King's Men: Hurdles to Putting the Fragmented Metropolis Back Together Again? Statewide Land Use Planning, Portland Metro and Measure 37, 21 University of Virginia Journal of Law and Politics 397 (2005).

Race and the California Recall: A Top Ten List of Ironies, 16 Berkeley La Raza 11 (2005)(with Steve Bender and Sylvia R. Lazos Vargas)

Malthus, Mendel and Monsanto: Intellectual Property and The Law and Politics of Global Food Supply, Journal of Environmental Law & Litigation (2004)


Weeds, Seeds & Deeds: Recent Skirmishes in the Seed Wars, 11 Cardozo Journal of International and Comparative Law 247 (2003)

Does Nothing Ever Change; Is Everything New?: Comments on the "To Do Feminist Legal Theory" Symposium, 9 Cardozo Women's Law Journal 415 (2003)

P.I.E.R.R.E. and the Agents of R.E.A.S.O.N., 57 University of Miami Law Review 743 (2003)

Seekin' the Cause: Social Justice and LatCrit Community, 81 Oregon Law Review 595 (2002)(with Steve Bender)

Voting Matters: APIAs, Latina/os and Post-2000 Redistricting in California, 81 Oregon Law Review 849 (2002)(with Kathay Feng and Brian Ikegami)

One Hundred Light Years of Solitude: The Alternate Futures of LatCrit Theory, 54 Rutgers Law Review 1031 (2002)

A Tale of Three Cities: Thoughts on Asian American Electoral and Political Power After 2000, 8 UCLA Asian Pacific American Law Journal 1 (2002)

Is Chan Still Missing? An Essay About the Film Snow Falling on Cedars and Representations of Asian Americans in U.S. Films, 7 Asian Pac. Am. L.J. 30 (2001)

Space Invaders: Critical Geography, the "Third World" in International Law and Critical Race Theory, 45 Vill. L. Rev. 913 (2000).

Privacy in the Digital Age: Encryption -- A Crypto Trilogy, (Bernstein, Karn and Junger)(Sept. 1999; update August 2000) at

Anti-Subordination And The Legal Struggle Over Control Of The "Means Of Communication": Technology, Language And Communicative Power: Introduction: Language Is a Virus, 53 U. Miami L. Rev. 961 (1999).

Language is a Virus, 53 University of Miami Law Review 96 (1999)

Introduction: Critical Race Praxis And Legal Scholarship, 5 Mich. J. Race & L. 35 (1999) (from Nanook Of The Nomos: A Symposium On Critical Race Praxis) (with Margaret Chon).

Considering Multiple and Overlapping Sovereignties: Liberalism, Libertarianism, National Sovereignty, "Global" Intellectual Property, and the Internet, 5 Ind. J. Global Leg. Stud. 443 (1998).

The Stakes of Intellectual Property Law, in The Politics of Law: A Progressive Critique 259 (David Kairys ed., 3d ed. 1998).

Neocolonialism, Anticommons Property, and Biopiracy in the (Not-So-Brave) New World Order of International Intellectual Property Protection, 6 Ind. J. Global Leg. Stud. 11 (1998) (from Symposium: Sovereignty and the Globalization of Intellectual Property).

No Right to Own?: The Early Twentieth-Century "Alien Land Laws" as a Prelude to Internment, 40 B.C. L. Rev. 37 (1998) (from Symposium on Korematsu).

Centering the Immigrant in the Inter/National Imagination, 85 Calif. L. Rev. 1395 (1997) (from Symposium: Policy, Politics & Praxis; co-sponsored by La Raza L.J.) (with Robert S. Chang).

Foreword: Citizenship and its Discontents, 76 Or. L. Rev. 207 (1997) (from Symposium: Citizenship and its Discontents: Centering the Immigrant in the Inter/National Imagination) (with Ibrahim J. Gassama & Robert S. Chang).

Direct Democracy, Racial Group Agency and Residential Segregation: Some Thoughts on Radical Democracy, 33 California Western Law Review (1997)

Critical Legal Studies, Asian Americans in U.S. Law & Culture, Neil Gotanda, and Me, 4 Asian L.J. 19 (1997) (from Symposium: in Honor of Neil Gotanda).

Direct Democracy, Racial Group Agency, Local Government Law, and Residential Racial Segregation: Some Reflections on Radical and Plural Democracy, 33 Cal. W. L. Rev. 185 (1997) (from Symposium: Towards a Radical and Plural Democracy).

How the World Dreams Itself to be American: Reflections on the Relationship Between the Expanding Scope of Trademark Protection and Free Speech Norms, 17 Loy. L.A. Ent. L.J. 523 (1997) (from Symposium: Using Law and Identity to Script Cultural Production)

Races, Nationalities, Ethnicities: Mapping Latcrit (Dis)Continuities: Representing Representation, 2 Harv. Latino L. Rev. 247 (1997) (panel).

"Foreign-ness" & Asian American Identities: Yellowface, World War II Propaganda, and Bifurcated Racial Stereotypes, 4 UCLA Asian PAC Am. L.J. 1 (1996).

Foreword: Innovation and the Information Environment: Interrogating the Entrepreneur, 75 Or. L. Rev. 1 (1996) (from Symposium: Innovation And The Information Environment).

Notes Toward a Cultural Geography of Authorship, 48 Stan. L. Rev. 1293 (1996) (from Symposium: Surveying Law and Borders: (Intellectual) Property and Sovereignty).

The Scholarship of Reconstruction and the Politics of Backlash, 81 Iowa L. Rev. 1467 (1996) (colloquy).

Authors, Inventors, and Trademark Owners: Private Intellectual Property & the Public Domain, 18 Colum-VLA J.L. & Arts 1 (Part I) & 191(Part II) (1993-94).

Dead Lines, Break Downs & Troubling the Legal Subject or "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Meta", 73 Or. L. Rev. 551 (1994) (with Garrett Epps).

Adrift In The Intertext: Authorship And Audience "Recoding" Rights - Comment On Robert H. Rotstein, "Beyond Metaphor: Copyright Infringement And The Fiction Of The Work", 68 Chi.-Kent. L. Rev. 805 (1993).

Race, Space, and Place: The Relation Between Architectural Modernism, Post-Modernism, Urban Planning, and Gentrification, 20 Fordham Urb. L.J. 699 (1993).