Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Skip Navigation LinksHome > Workshops and Forums > Legal History Workshop

Legal History Workshop

The Legal History Workshop, presented by Professors William Novak and Martha Jones, is an introduction to the field of legal history, its methods, and major questions. Our objective is to situate legal developments in their social, political, intellectual, and cultural contexts, exploring a wide range of substantive and methodological questions arising in the course of legal historical research and writing. Class sessions are conducted in a workshop style: papers are pre-circulated, guests make brief introductory remarks, and the remainder of the class session is spent in question-and-answer style. Each session features a work-in-progress (and occasionally a field-defining published work) by leading scholars from around the world. Students are not required to have a background in law or history just a strong interest in learning about legal history. Students will be full participants in the sessions and prepare short, written critiques of the presented papers. All sessions meet on Tuesdays from 4:10-6:10 p.m. in South Hall, Room 0220, unless otherwise noted. Individual presentation papers are circulated one week in advance and may be obtained by contacting Dara Faris at

Past Legal History Workshops


September 9, 2015
Special session co-sponsored by the Law & Economics Workshop
NOTE: This session will be held in Hutchins Hall Room 132
Claire Lemercier, CNRS and Sciences Po (Paris)
"How do Businessmen Like Their Courts? Evidence from Mid-19th Century France, England, and New York City"

September 22, 2015
Eric Foner, Columbia University (with guest commentator Tiya Miles, University of Michigan)
"Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad"

September 29, 2015
Sara Mayeux, University of Pennsylvania Law School
"The 'Progressive' Public Defender (and Its Alternatives) in Los Angeles, 1914-1949"

October 6, 2015
Rebecca J. Scott, University of Michigan
"'Acts of Ownership and Authority': The Enslavement of Eulalie Oliveau"

October 13, 2015
Tom Romero, Strum College of Law, University of Denver
"Water, Water Everywhere...and No Where: Bridging the Confluence of Water and Immigration Law"

October 27, 2015
Charlotte Walker-Said, John Jay College, CUNY
"Faith, Power, and Family: Law and Christianity in Interwar Cameroon"

November 3, 2015
Kunal Parker, University of Miami School of Law
"Making Foreigners: Immigration and Citizenship Law in America",/p>

November 17, 2015
Amanda Alexander, University of Michigan
"'The Authorities Cannot Meet Demand': Prison Labor, Pass Laws, and Agricultural Development in Apartheid South Africa"

November 24, 2015
H. Timothy Lovelace, Indiana University Mauer School of Law
"The World is on Our Side: The U.S. Origins of the United Nation's Race Convention"

December 3, 2015
NOTE: This session will be held in Hutchins Hall Room 236
Tomiko Brown-Nagin, Harvard Law School
"The Honorable Constance Baker Motley: A Biography"