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To join our email list and receive information about upcoming Law and History events, please contact Jelani Hayes.

Monday, February 11, 2019
Law and History Program Faculty Lunch Featuring Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law Christine Desan

Friday, December 14 and Saturday, December 15, 2018
Conference on Money as a Democratic Medium

Sponsored by the Harvard Program on the Study of Capitalism, Institute for Global Law and Policy, The Murphy Institute – Tulane University, the Harvard Law Forum, and Harvard Law School

“Those who create and issue money and credit direct the policies of government and hold in the hollow of their hands the destiny of the people.” The words, attributed to a 20th century British banker, capture an emerging consensus. Money, governance, and public welfare are intimately connected in the modern world. More particularly, the way political communities make money and allocate credit is an essential element of governance. It critically shapes economic processes – channeling liquidity, fueling productivity, and influencing distribution.  At the same time, those decisions about money and credit define key political structures, locating in particular hands the authority to mobilize resources, determining access to funds, and delegating power and privileges to private actors and organizations.

Recognizing money and credit as public projects exposes issues of democratic purpose and possibility. In a novel focus, this conference makes those issues central. It includes sessions that take an historical approach, along with others that consider current public policy, contemporary reform proposals, and theories about money and democracy.

Monday, November 26, 2018
Law and History Program Faculty Lunch Featuring Assistant Professor of Law Elizabeth Kamali

Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Book Talk: Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America

Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor and Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University, Martha S. Jones, discussed her new book, Birthright Citizens. This event was co-hosted with the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice.

Birthright Citizens tells how African American activists radically transformed the terms of citizenship for all Americans. Before the Civil War, colonization schemes and black laws threatened to deport former slaves born in the United States. Birthright Citizens recovers the story of how African American activists remade national belonging through battles in legislatures, conventions, and courthouses. They faced formidable opposition, most notoriously from the US Supreme Court decision in Dred Scott. Still, Martha Jones explains, no single case defined their status. Former slaves studied law, secured allies, and conducted themselves like citizens, establishing their status through local, everyday claims. All along they argued that birth guaranteed their rights. With fresh archival sources and an ambitious reframing of constitutional law-making before the Civil War, Jones shows how the Fourteenth Amendment constitutionalized the birthright principle, fulfilling the long-held aspirations of African Americans.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 
Law and History Program Fall Reception: “Why You Should Study Legal History”

Law and History Co-Directors Kenneth Mack and Intisar Rabb led a panel discussion on the value of a legal history education. Panelists included Harvard Law faculty and visiting professors Nikolas Bowie, Daniel Coquillette, Charles Donahue, Elizabeth Kamali, Adriaan Lanni, Anna Lvovsky, Bruce Mann, and Laura Weinrib.