Duncan Kennedy is the Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence at Harvard Law School. He was a founding member of the Critical Legal Studies movement. Kennedy received an A.B. in Economics from Harvard College in 1964 and in 1970 earned an LL.B. from Yale Law School. After completing a clerkship with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, Kennedy joined the Harvard Law School faculty in 1971 as an Assistant Professor, becoming a full Professor in 1976. He has taught contracts, torts, property, trusts, the history of legal thought, low income housing law and policy, Israel/Palestine legal issues, the globalization of law and legal thought, and the politics of private law.
His publications have contributed to legal and social theory, the history of legal thought, legal semiotics, law and economics, contract law, and legal education. His five books are: Legal Reasoning: Collected Essays (Davies Group Publishers 2008); The Rise and Fall of Classical Legal Thought (Beard Books, 1998 ); A Critique of Adjudication [fin de siècle] (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1997); Sexy Dressing, etc. (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1993); Legal Education and the Reproduction of Hierarchy (AFAR, Cambridge, 1983). He has written dozens of articles including: “Freedom and Constraint in Adjudication: A Critical Phenomenology,” 36 Journal of Legal Education 518 (1986); “Form and Substance in Private Law Adjudication,” 89 Harvard Law Review 1685 (1976); “A Semiotics of Critique,” 22 Cardozo Law Review 1147 (2001); “Three Globalizations of Law and Legal Thought: 1850-2000” in The New Law and Economic Development 19 (Cambridge University Press, 2006); “The Stakes of Law, or Hale and Foucault!,” 15 Legal Studies Forum 327 (1991); and “The Structure of Blackstone’s Commentaries,” 28 Buffalo Law Review 205 (1979). He has contributed to public debates in journalistic writings, inter alia, on the war on Iraq and Israel/Palestine. He has received an Honorary Doctorate of Private Law, University of Amsterdam, 2005; Honorary Doctorate of Law, Universidad de Los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia, 2010; Honorary Doctorate of Law, Université de Québec à Montréal, 2011; and an Honorary Doctorate of Law, Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris, 2012.
- Duncan Kennedy, The Bitter Ironies of Williams v. Walker-Thomas Furniture Co. in the First Year Law School Curriculum, 71 Buff. L. Rev. 225 (2023).
- Duncan Kennedy, In Defense of Rent Control and Rent Caps (Feb. 26, 2023).
- Duncan Kennedy, Utopian Rationalism in American Legal Thought: A Critique of the Hart & Sacks Legal Process Materials (Oct. 6, 2022).
- Duncan Kennedy, My Path to Law and Modernization at Yale, 1968-70: A Memoir of Radicalization, 7 Revista Estudos Institucionais [Journal of Institutional Studies] 753 (2021) (Braz.).
- Duncan Kennedy, Ensino Jurídico e Reprodução da Hierarquia, 12 Revista Direito e Práxis 2 (2021).