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 or to be put on the mailing list, please contact Prof. Sarah Seo or Prof. Amy Chazkel. See below for the schedule of workshops and other legal history-related events on campus. All times are Eastern (New York) Time.

All workshops will be held on Wednesdays, 4:20-6pm, at Fayerweather 411.

FALL 2023

September 27th: Kate Redburn: The Equal Right to Discriminate: Religious Liberty, Free Speech, and the Long Road to 303 Creative v. Elenis

Commentator: Kim Phillips-Fein

October 25th: Melissa Teixeira: Inflation and Economic Citizenship in Brazil: An Economic History of Democratic Transition in the 1970s and 1980s

Commentator: Lev Menand

November 29th: Youssef ben Ismail: On Autonomy: Provincial Representation and Imperial Governance in the late Ottoman Empire

Commentator: Gregory Mann 


February 28th: Kevin Arlyck: The Nation at Sea: Federal Courts and American Sovereignty in the Age of Revolution

Commentator: Kellen Funk

March 6th: Gautham Rao: The Slave Manifest: A Legal History

Commentator: Sarah Seo

April 3rd: Tamika K. Nunley: "Its Mother Had a Hard Lot": Black Women, Reproduction, and Early Medical Jurisprudence

Commentator: Clare Huntington

workshop location will be circulated closer to event date

FALL 2022

September 21st from 4:20pm - 6:00pm Workshop with Gary Gerstle (University of Cambridge, History). "The Rise of the Neoliberal Order"  Co-sponsored with the Law & Econ Workshop and the Center of Political Economy.  Location: Case Lounge (Room 701), Jerome Greene Hall, 435 W. 116th Street NY NY.

September 28th from 4:20pm - 6:00pm Workshop with Craig Green (Temple, Law & History). "A Constitutional History of Territory, Statehood, and Nation-Building." Comment by Gillian Metzger (Columbia, Law). Location:  JGH 807, Jerome Greene Hall, 435 W. 116th Street NY NY.

October 19th from 4:20pm - 6:00pm Workshop with Jose E. Argueta Funes (Columbia, Law & History). " The "Civilization" Canon: Common Law, Legislation, and the Case of Hawaiian Adoption" Comment by Shyam Balganesh (Columbia, Law). Location: JGH 807 Jerome Greene Hall, 435 W. 116th Street NY NY.

November 15th from 4:20pm - 6:00pm Workshop with Helen Kinsella. (Minnesota, Political Science and Law). "Taking 'no comfort in the historical context:' US-Native wars and U.S. War on Terror". Commenter Maeve Glass (Columbia, Law)  Location: JGH 728 Jerome Greene Hall, 435 W. 116th Street NY NY. 


Feburary 8th from 4:20pm - 6:00pm  Workshop with Jungwon Kim (Columbia, Legal History). "Who Triggered My Death: Suicide and Punishment in Early Modern Korea" Comment by Pablo Piccato (Columbia, History).  Location: Case Lounge (Room 701), Jerome Greene Hall, 435 W. 116th Street NY NY.

March 22nd from 4:20pm -6:00pm  Workshop with Kunal Parker (U Miami, History). "The Turn to Process: Legal, Political, and Economic Thought in America, 1870-1970" Commentor Alma Steingart (Columbia, History).  Location: JGH 807 Jerome Greene Hall, 435 W. 116th Street NY NY.

April 12th from 4:20pm - 6:00pm  Workshop with Maria Adele Carrai (NYU, History). "The Human Frontier: The Chinese Overseas and the Making of Modern China" Commentator: Madeleine Zelin (Columbia, History). Location: JGH 807 Jerome Greene Hall, 435 W. 116th Street NY NY.


April 14th  We are pleased to invite you to attend Caribbean Crucible: Atlantic Migrations and the Making of the Modern World conference held at Columbia University Law School, Jerome Greene Hall Room 106 on April 14, 2023 from 10:00 am to 6:30pm EST

This conference asks how our understanding of history changes when we alter our frame of reference to see the Caribbean as the crucible of the modern West, as the progenitor of migrants who radically reshaped the political economies, laws, and cultures of the Atlantic world?

Join us as we explore these questions through the research of graduate student panelists and roundtable discussions. Panels and roundtables include: "African-Caribbean Migration and British Legal History," "Cultures in Transit, Africans in Diaspora," "Stories of Migration: Oral History Methods," and "Digitizing Diaspora, Mapping Migration." 

You can register for Caribbean Crucible using this link or the QR code on the attached flyer. All registered guests will receive a boxed lunch and are invited to join the speakers and presenters for a reception from 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm. All attendees must pre-register by April 12, 2023.

If you have any questions, please contact conference organizers Rochelle Malcolm ([email protected]), Samuel Niu ([email protected]), and Madison Ogletree ([email protected])

Caribbean Crucible: Atlantic Migrations and the Making of the Modern World

Links to online events will be circulated by email.

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.


February 3 at 4:20pm - 5:45pm • 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.

March 3 at 5:00pm - 6:30pm • Workshop with Rebecca J. Scott  (U. Michigan, History & Law): "María Coleta and the Capuchin Friar: Slavery, Salvation, and the Adjudication of Status" (co-authored by Rebecca J. Scott and Carlos Venegas Fornias). Comment by Maeve Glass (Columbia, Law). Via Zoom.

April 14 at 2:00 - 4:00pm • A seminar on "Law and the Imagination in Medieval Wales" with Robin Stacey (U. Washington, History) at the Heyman Center, Commons Room. Please email [email protected] for materials. Sponsored by Medieval and Renaissance Studies, the Department of History, and the Department of English and Comparative Literature.

May 4 at 2:30 - 4:00pm • "Public Rights: The History of An Idea." Panel with Rebecca J. Scott (U. Michigan, History & Law) and Jamal Greene (Columbia, Law). Location: Case Lounge (Room 701), Jerome Greene Hall, 435 W. 116th Street NY NY.

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.”