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Legal History Workshop

The Legal History Workshop, presented by Professors William Novak and Kate Andrias, 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 Mondays from 4:10-6:10 p.m. in Hutchins Hall, Room 138, 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 18, 2017
Rabia Belt, Stanford University Law School
"Race, Disability, and the Vote"

September 25, 2017
Nelson Lichtenstein, University of California- Santa Barbara 
"A Fabulous Failure: Clinton's 1990s and the Origins of Our Times"

October 2, 2017
Laura Weinrib, University of Chicago Law School
"The Myth of the Modern 1st Amendment"

October 9, 2017
Samual Moyn, Yale University
"Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World"

October 17, 2017 (Tuesday)
Mehrsa Baradaran, University of Georgia
"Black Capitalism and the Racial Wealth Gap"

October 23, 2017
Sarah Igo, Vanderbilt University
"Privacy Interruptus: Putting Griswold in its Proper Place"

October 30, 2017
Cary Franklin, University of Texas Law School
"Class-Blind Constitutionalism and the Protection of Fundamental Rights"

November 13, 2017
Bob Bauer, New York University
"Demagogue-cracy: The License and Ethical Limits of the Politician's Speech"

November 20, 2017
Reuel Schiller, University of California-Hastings College of Law
"Regulation and the Collapse of the New Deal Order or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Market"

November 27, 2017
Jeremy Kessler, Columbia Law School
"The Legal Foundations of Draft Abolition"

December 4, 2017
Heather Ann Thompson, University of Michigan
"The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and its Legal Legacy"