Legal History Workshop & Events

The Legal History Workshop brings together students and faculty to  discuss works-in-progress by scholars from within and outside Columbia University. For more information on the workshop, please contact Prof. Christina Ponsa-Kraus or Prof. Amy Chazkel.

See below for the schedule of workshops and other legal history-related events. All times are Eastern (New York) Time.

Links to online events will be circulated by email. To get on the Legal History Workshop email list, please email Prof. Ponsa-Kraus or Prof. Chazkel.

FALL 2021

October 28 at 6:00pm • Workshop with Sam Fury Childs Daly (Duke, African and African American Studies). "Of Oracles and Autocrats: Customary Law and Militarism in Nigeria." Comment by Katherine Franke (Columbia, Law). Via Zoom.

December 2 at 6:15pm • Workshop with Emily Rose (Harvard, History): "'No Jew Shall Have a Freehold': The Enduring Impact of Medieval contra judaeos Legislation." Comment by James Stafford (Columbia, History). Via Google Meet.


(Note on Spring 2022 logistics: Our first workshop of the spring semester will take place via Zoom but the rest of our events are tentatively planned to be in person. Our usual workshop time is 4:20pm, but if we move a workshop online, we *may* change the time to 6:15pm. (This will not be the case for our first workshop, on Feb. 3, which will remain at the usual time of 4:20.) We also have a lunchtime panel planned for March 3 (details below). If we move the lunchtime panel online, the time will remain the same. We will send announcements confirming all details closer to the dates of the events. Finally, we hope to schedule a workshop in April as well. Details will be posted as soon as we have them.)

February 3 at 4:20pm • Workshop with Ariela Gross (USC, Law & History) "The Constitution Is Also a Monument: Slavery, Memory, and American Politics." Comment by Natasha Lightfoot (Columbia, History). Via Zoom.

On March 3, the Columbia Legal History Program will host Rebecca J. Scott, Professor of History and Professor of Law, University of Michigan, for two events: a lunchtime panel and an evening workshop. Details below:

March 3 at 12:10pm - 1:10pm • "A Conversation About the History of Public Rights." Panel with Rebecca J. Scott (U. Michigan, History & Law) and Jamal Greene (Columbia, Law). Location TBD.

March 3 at 4:20pm • Workshop with Rebecca J. Scott  (U. Michigan, History & Law): "Fabricating Title: Peremptory Enslavement in the Aftermath of Emancipation." Comment by Maeve Glass (Columbia, Law). Location TBD.


Fall 2020

October 8 at 6:30-7:30pm EST • "Becoming Free, Becoming Black: A Talk by Ariela Gross with Kellen Heniford," sponsored by the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University.

October 28 at 6:30pm EST • Brittany Farr (Penn, Law): "Breach by Violence: Sharecropping Contracts in the Post-Slavery South."

November 18 at 6:30pm EST • Nurfadzilah Yahaya (National University of Singapore, History): "Shifting Sands: British Imperial Politics of Land Reclamation in the Mid-Twentieth Century." Comment by Nick Smith (Barnard, Urban Studies/Architecture).

December 9 at 6:30pm EST • Stephanie Jones-Rogers (Berkeley, History): "'She had... a Womb Subjected to Bondage': The Afro-Atlantic Origins of British Colonial Descent Law." Comment by Stephanie McCurry (Columbia, History).

Spring 2021

January 27 at 6:30pm EST • Anna di Robilant (Boston, Law): Selections from The Making of Modern Property: Reinventing Roman Law in Nineteenth Century Europe and Its Periphery (Cambridge University Press, 2021).

February 24 at 6:30pm EST • Thomas McSweeney (William & Mary, Law): "Writing the Common Law in Latin." Comment by Adam Kosto (Columbia, History).


Fall 2019

October 30: Sam Erman (USC, Law), selections from Almost Citizens: Puerto Rico, the U.S. Constitution and Empire. Commentator Mae Ngai (Columbia, History).

Spring 2020

January 29: Jane Manners (Columbia, Law) and Lev Menand (Columbia, Law), “Removal Permissions: Inefficiency, Neglect of Duty, Malfeasance, and the Limits of Agency Independence.”

February 26: Smita Ghosh (Georgetown, Law), “Locking up and Locking Out.” Commentator Christina D. Ponsa-Kraus (Columbia, Law).


Fall 2018

November 14: Andrew Kent (Fordham, Law) and Jed Shugerman (Fordham, Law), “‘Faithful Execution’ and Article II.” Commentator Gillian Metzger (Columbia, Law).

Spring 2019

February 13: Rande Kostal (Western, Law), selections from Laying Down the Law: American Legal Revolutions in Occupied Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.

March 27: Jennifer Morgan (NYU, History), selections from Reckoning with Slavery: Gender, Kinship, and Capitalism in the Early Black Atlantic. Commentator Maeve Glass (Columbia, Law).

April 24: Vera Candiani (Princeton, History), prospectus for Peasants and Commons in the Americas: A History of Erasure
Commentator Claire Debuquois (Columbia, Law).

Fall 2017

October 4: Maeve Glass (Columbia, Law), “A Constitution of Commerce.”  Commentator Ted Fertik (Yale, History).

November 1:  Stephen Robertson (Director of the Roy Rosenzweig for History and New Media, George Mason University, “Law & (Dis)order in Harlem: A Spatial Legal History of the 1935 Riot.”

November 15: Judith Surkis (Rutgers, History), selections from Sex, Law, and Sovereignty in French Algeria, 1830-1930. Commentator Emmanuelle Saada.


Fall 2016

September 14: Amy Dru Stanley (Chicago, History), “The Sovereign Market and Sex Difference: Human Rights in America.”

October 20: Stephanie McCurry (Columbia, History), “Enemy Women and the Laws of War in the American Civil War.”

Spring 2017

March 1: Kunal Parker (Miami, Law), “The Transformation of the Common Law: Modernism, History, and Legal Thought in Early to Mid-Twentieth Century America.”

March 22: Daniel Asen (Rutgers, History), “Professional Politics of a Crime Scene: Law, Science, and Expert Evidence in 1920s China.”

April 19: Ada Kuskowski (Penn, History), “The Time of Custom: On Temporality and Customary Law in the Middle Ages.”


Fall 2015

November 16: Sam Erman (US, Law), selections from Puerto Rico and the Constitution: Struggles Around Status and Governance in the New Empire, 1891–1925.

December 2: Aziz Rana (Cornell, Law), selections from The Rise of the Constitution. Commentator: Jeremy Kessler

Spring 2016

March 24: William Forbath (U.T. Austin, Law), “The Jewish Constitutional Moment.”