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

2020-2021 Events:

Monday, April 12, 2021, 5:00pm to 6:30pm (EST) – Mahindra Humanities Center Medieval Studies Seminar

Cracking the Code: author Jesús Velasco discusses his new book Dead Voice: Law, Philosophy, and Fiction in the Iberian Middle Ages (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020) with Elizabeth Papp Kamali, Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. Co-sponsored by the Harvard Law School Program of Study in Law and History and the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. This event, part of the series Re-Writing the Middle Ages, will take place on the Zoom platform; to register, please click here.

Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020 – Virtual Book Talk: Jonathan Rapping discusses his new book Gideon’s Promise: A Public Defender Movement to Transform Criminal Justice 

The Program in Law & History sponsored a virtual book talk with Jonathan Rapping, a nationally renowned criminal justice innovator who is the founder and president of the organization Gideon’s Promise, on his new book, Gideon’s Promise: A Public Defender Movement to Transform Criminal Justice. The organization and the book recount and build upon a history of the aftermath of the 1963 case Gideon v. Wainwright, in which the Supreme Court ruled that the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution guarantee a right to counsel for anyone accused of a crime.

Previous Years’ Events:

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

Friday, Dec. 14 and Saturday, Dec. 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, Nov. 26, 2018 – Law and History Program Faculty Lunch Featuring Assistant Professor of Law Elizabeth Kamali

Wednesday, Nov. 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, Sept. 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.