Announcements • Et. Seq: The Harvard Law School Library Blog

Book Talk: Fault Lines in the Constitution: The Framers, Their Fights, and the Flaws That Affect Us Today, Wed., Oct. 25, at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of Fault Lines in the Constitution: The Framers, Their Fights, and the Flaws That Affect Us Today (Peachtree Press, 2017) by author Cynthia Levinson and Visiting Professor Sanford Levinson.  Professor Levinson is also the W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair in Law at the University of Texas Law School.

Copies of Fault Lines in the Constitution will be available for sale and Cynthia Levinson and Professor Levinson will be available for signing books at the end of the talk.

Fault Lines in the Constitution Poster

Wednesday, October 25, 2017 at noon, with lunch
Harvard Law School Room WCC 2036 Milstein East C (Map & Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA

About Fault Lines in the Constitution: The Framers, Their Fights, and the Flaws That Affect Us Today

“The United States Constitution has been amended 27 times since its 1788 ratification, but the Levinsons make the reasonable and compelling case that further revision will make it even more efficient and just.

Cynthia Levinson, the author of We’ve Got a Job (2012), teams up with her husband, Sanford Levinson, a constitutional law scholar and professor, to explain how many of the political issues we struggle with today are rooted in flaws in the U.S. Constitution. Among the issues explored, in lively, accessible prose, are bicameralism, the Electoral College, emergency powers, gerrymandering, the presidential veto, and voter-identification requirements. In the chapters examining these issues, real-life examples illustrate each constitutional flaw (the 2000 election illustrates the problems in the Electoral College, for instance). Putting it in historical and contemporary context, the authors explain the problem, make comparisons to constitutions of other nations, and suggest viable solutions. The Levinsons grade the Constitution’s success in meeting its primary goals as outlined in the Preamble, giving it a C-plus overall. The text concludes with the authors debating the pros and cons of a second Constitutional Convention.

A fascinating, thoughtful, and provocative look at what in the Constitution keeps the United States from being “a more perfect union.”” — Kirkus Reviews

Panelists

R. Shep Melnick, Thomas P. O’Neill, Jr. Professor of American Politics, Boston College

Daniel Carpenter, Allie S. Freed Professor of Government and Director of Social Sciences at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

Dan Covino, Lawrence S. Pidgeon Director, Education Professions Community, Grinnell College

Amy Shine Jones, History Department Faculty, Haverhill High School

More About Fault Lines in the Constitution: The Framers, Their Fights, and the Flaws That Affect Us Today

“Opinionated, may be controversial, but should spark a national dialogue about our Constitution and the nation’s future.” — Dan Rather

“When one of the nation’s foremost constitutional scholars teams up with one of the nation’s favorite young adult authors, the result is a highly educational, readable and entertaining look at the United States Constitution, warts and all. Cynthia and Sanford Levinson’s “Fault Lines in the Constitution,” could not be more timely and thought provoking.” —  Ted McConnell, Executive Director, Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools, Assistant to Chairman, Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution 1986-1990

“Insightful… Much food for thought on the application and relevance of many of the Constitution’s stipulations. Essential for class discussions, debate teams, and reports.” — School Library Journal

“Lately there’s been dismay that civics, government, and history have taken a backseat in classrooms. This smartly conceived book goes a long way toward reintroducing students to those subjects….the Levinsons link both history and current events as they offer an illustrative group of examples that show where the Constitution got it right–and wrong…. Although the font, charts, and well-written text make this appealing, it’s not always an easy read. It is, however, an important one.” — Booklist

“Interest-piquing anecdotes open each chapter, the effects of the Constitution’s provisions are dramatically summarized in poster-like illustrations, and the ensuing discussions…are both cogent and highly readable…thought-provoking and exceptionally topical” — Publishers Weekly

This talk is co-sponsored with the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

SPECIAL EVENT! Book Talk: Cass Sunstein on Nudging Government, Mon., Oct. 16, at noon

Nudge book coverThe Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk titled Nudging Government by Professor Cass R. Sunsteinthe Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard University.  This talk also celebrates Professor Sunstein’s book Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (Yale Univ. Press 2008) with special tribute to his co-author Richard H. Thaler, for his award by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the 2017 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

Richard H. Thaler is the Charles R. Walgreen Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.  Thaler’s award was in part due to his pioneering work on “nudges,” including his co-authorship of Nudge.

Copies of Nudge will be available for sale and Professor Sunstein will be available for signing books at the end of the talk.

 

Monday, October 16, 2017 at noon, with lunch
Harvard Law School Room WCC 2019 Milstein West A (Map & Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA

About Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness

“Every day, we make decisions on topics ranging from personal investments to schools for our children to the meals we eat to the causes we champion. Unfortunately, we often choose poorly. The reason, the authors explain in this important exploration of choice architecture, is that, being human, we all are susceptible to various biases that can lead us to blunder. Our mistakes make us poorer and less healthy; we often make bad decisions involving education, personal finance, health care, mortgages and credit cards, the family, and even the planet itself.

Thaler and Sunstein invite us to enter an alternative world, one that takes our humanness as a given. They show that by knowing how people think, we can design choice environments that make it easier for people to choose what is best for themselves, their families, and their society. Using colorful examples from the most important aspects of life, Thaler and Sunstein demonstrate how thoughtful “choice architecture” can be established to nudge us in beneficial directions without restricting freedom of choice. Nudge offers a unique new take―from neither the left nor the right―on many hot-button issues, for individuals and governments alike. This is one of the most engaging and provocative books to come along in many years.” — Yale University Press

More About Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness

“I love this book. It is one of the few books I’ve read recently that fundamentally changes the way I think about the world. Just as surprising, it is fun to read, drawing on examples as far afield as urinals, 401(k) plans, organ donations, and marriage. Academics aren’t supposed to be able to write this well.”— Steven Levitt, Alvin Baum Professor of Economics, University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and co-author of Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

“In this utterly brilliant book, Thaler and Sunstein teach us how to steer people toward better health, sounder investments, and cleaner environments without depriving them of their inalienable right to make a mess of things if they want to. The inventor of behavioral economics and one of the nation’s best legal minds have produced the manifesto for a revolution in practice and policy. Nudge won’t nudge you—it will knock you off your feet.”— Daniel Gilbert, professor of psychology, Harvard University, Author of Stumbling on Happiness

“This is an engaging, informative, and thoroughly delightful book. Thaler and Sunstein provide important lessons for structuring social policies so that people still have complete choice over their own actions, but are gently nudged to do what is in their own best interests. Well done.”— Don Norman, Northwestern University, Author of The Design of Everyday Things and The Design of Future Things

“This book is terrific. It will change the way you think, not only about the world around you and some of its bigger problems, but also about yourself.”— Michael Lewis, author of The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game and Liar’s Poker

“[A] new book applying the lessons of social psychology and behavioral economics to everything from health care to climate maintenance. The authors of Nudge . . . agree with economists who’d like to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by imposing carbon taxes or a cap-and-trade system, but they think people need extra guidance.”— John Tierney, New York Times

“Two University of Chicago professors sketch a new approach to public policy that takes into account the odd realities of human behavior, like the deep and unthinking tendency to conform. Even in areas—like energy consumption—where conformity is irrelevant. Thaler has documented the ways people act illogically.”— Barbara Kiviat, Time

“Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein’s Nudge is a wonderful book: more fun than any important book has a right to be—and yet it is truly both.”— Roger Lowenstein, author of When Genius Failed

“A manifesto for using the recent behavioral research to help people, as well as government agencies, companies and charities, make better decisions.”— David Leonhardt, The New York Times Magazine

“How often do you read a book that is both important and amusing, both practical and deep? This gem of a book presents the best idea that has come out of behavioral economics. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to see both our minds and our society working better. It will improve your decisions and it will make the world a better place.”— Daniel Kahneman, Princeton University, Nobel Laureate in Economics

Join us for Notes and Comment fall edition!

Student working in the Reading RoomOn Tuesday, November 7, from 3-5pm, the normally quiet* tables of the HLS Library Reading Room will become collaboration zones for student-faculty interaction on scholarly topics during Notes and Comment: An Event for Students and Faculty to Connect on Scholarship. Faculty will be available to meet with students seeking guidance on their research and writing for publication — including student Notes in HLS journals, writing competitions, and other extra-curricular publishing opportunities.

The event will be set up so that students can meet individually or in small groups with faculty members and librarians. “It’s sort of a collective office hours, where a referral from one faculty member to another can be as simple as walking two tables down in the Reading Room,” said Jonathan Zittrain, Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources in his invitation to faculty.

We have already received commitments to attend from Professors Crespo, Frug, Goldberg, Kamali, Klarman, Lvovsky, Michelman, Wilkins, and others.

A networking reception with food and drink will also be available throughout the event in the Caspersen Room and Library staff will be on hand to showcase resources for scholarly publishing available to faculty and students.

Participants should RSVP so that the event coordinators can work to plan appropriate student-faculty partnerships in advance.

 

*Note that students looking for quiet study space during the event will be directed to the Reference Room.

NEW! HLS Library Bicentennial Exhibit Now On View

Collections | Connections  

Stories from the Harvard Law School Library

HLS Bicentennial Exhibit PosterThe Harvard Law School Library’s new exhibit celebrates HLS’s Bicentennial through the stories of some of the Library’s 2 million items and the people behind them. On view are historic photographs, striking rare books and early manuscripts, books published all over the world, fun glimpses of HLS Library history, and even an Awesome Box!

Collections | Connections documents the evolution of the Harvard Law School and its Library in response to the School’s evolving role in relation to society, legal education, and technology. Yet it is the people who make a place. Groups and individuals highlighted throughout this exhibit have cultivated the life and ethos of the Harvard Law School. Learn how the Library preserves this continuing story of the HLS community: faculty, students, alumni, and staff who are moved to question, prepared to reason, and called to act.

The exhibit is arranged around six themes: Keepers of Memory, Global Citizens, Promoting Justice, Supreme Court Clerks and their Justices, Library as Lab, and Preserving Legal Heritage. Curated by many members of the HLS Library, it is on view daily 9 to 5 in the Caspersen Room, fourth floor of Langdell Hall, through June 2018.

Book Talk: Disability, Human Rights, and Information Technology, Wed., Oct. 18, at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of Disability, Human Rights, and Information Technology (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017) edited by Jonathan Lazar and Michael Ashley Stein.  Copies of Disability, Human Rights, and Information Technology will be available for sale and Professors Lazar and Stein will be available for signing books at the end of the talk.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017 at noon, with lunch
Harvard Law School Room WCC 2019 Milstein West A (Map & Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA

Disability, Human Rights, and Information Technology poster

About Disability, Human Rights, and Information Technology

Disability, Human Rights, and Information Technology addresses the global issue of equal access to information and communications technology (ICT) by persons with disabilities. The right to access the same digital content at the same time and at the same cost as people without disabilities is implicit in several human rights instruments and is featured prominently in Articles 9 and 21 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The right to access ICT, moreover, invokes complementary civil and human rights issues: freedom of expression; freedom to information; political participation; civic engagement; inclusive education; the right to access the highest level of scientific and technological information; and participation in social and cultural opportunities.

Despite the ready availability and minimal cost of technology to enable people with disabilities to access ICT on an equal footing as consumers without disabilities, prevailing practice around the globe continues to result in their exclusion. Questions and complexities may also arise where technologies advance ahead of existing laws and policies, where legal norms are established but not yet implemented, or where legal rights are defined but clear technical implementations are not yet established.

At the intersection of human-computer interaction, disability rights, civil rights, human rights, international development, and public policy, the volume’s contributors examine crucial yet underexplored areas, including technology access for people with cognitive impairments, public financing of information technology, accessibility and e-learning, and human rights and social inclusion.” — University of Pennsylvania Press

Panelists

Jonathan LazarJonathan Lazar is a Professor of Computer and Information Sciences at Towson University, where he has been on the faculty since 1999, and has served as director of the Undergraduate Program in Information Systems since 2003. Dr. Lazar also founded the Universal Usability Laboratory at Towson University and served as director from 2003-2014. Within the area of human-computer interaction, Dr. Lazar is involved in teaching and research on Web accessibility for people with disabilities, user-centered design methods, assistive technology, and public policy. He has authored or edited 10 books, including Ensuring Digital Accessibility Through Process and Policy (2015, co-authored with Dan Goldstein and Anne Taylor, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers), Research Methods in Human-Computer Interaction (2010, co-authored with Heidi Feng and Harry Hochheser, John Wiley and Sons), Universal Usability: Designing Computer Interfaces for Diverse User Populations (2007, John Wiley and Sons), and Web Usability: A User-Centered Design Approach (2006, Addison-Wesley). His newest two books will both be published in mid-2017. The Second Edition of Research Methods in Human-Computer Interaction, co-authored with Heidi Feng and Harry Hochheiser, will be published by Morgan Kaufmann Publishers in May 2017.

Dr. Lazar has been honored with the 2017 University System of Maryland Board of Regents Award for Excellence in Research, the 2016 SIGCHI Social Impact Award, the 2015 AccessComputing Capacity Building Award (sponsored by the University of Washington and NSF), for advocacy on behalf of people with disabilities in computing fields, the 2011 University System of Maryland Regents Award for Public Service, and the 2010 Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award from the National Federation of the Blind. During the 2012-2013 academic year, Dr. Lazar was selected as the Shutzer Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, to investigate the relationship between human-computer interaction for people with disabilities, and US Disability Rights Law. Dr. Lazar remains affilated with the Harvard Law School Project on Disability, and is a member of the Senior Common Room at Leverett House at Harvard University.

Michael Ashley SteinMichael Ashley Stein holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a Ph.D. from Cambridge University. Co-founder and Executive Director of the Harvard Law School Project on Disability, as well as Extraordinary Professor, University of Pretoria Faculty of Law, Centre for Human Rights, and formerly Professor at William & Mary Law School, he has also taught at NYU and Stanford Law School. An internationally acclaimed expert on disability law and policy, Stein participated in the drafting of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, works with disabled persons organizations around the world, actively consults with international governments on their disability laws and policies, and advises a number of United Nations bodies.

More About Disability, Human Rights, and Information Technology

“This is an exciting and much-needed project. The right to accessibility has received relatively little academic attention and this book performs a field-defining role.” —- Anna Lawson, University of Leeds

“As information technology continues to transform human endeavor, it poses new challenges to law and regulation in many sectors. Disability is such a sector. There is no other book that provides so many insights into the rapidly evolving international scene.” —- Clayton H. Lewis, University of Colorado, Boulder

 

852 Rare: An Introduction to our English Manor Roll Collection

This is the first in a series of five blogs about Historical & Special Collections’ English Manor Rolls (1305-1770). HSC was honored to have Eleanor Goerss, Pforzheimer Fellow ’17, with us this summer to perform research on and enhance description of this internationally-important collection, including authoring these posts. Future topics include how to read the manor rolls and what you’ll find, sometimes unexpectedly, in them.

This summer, Harvard Law School Library’s Historical & Special Collections completed a multi-year project to conserve, digitize, and enhance metadata to our collection of manor rolls! Check out the newly updated finding aid, which includes links to digital content for the entire collection, plus corrected and enhanced information for each entry on each roll.

For those of you who aren’t longtime scholars of early English law, you’d be surprised at how much interest you might unknowingly have in the contents of a manor roll. So what follows is for you: the uninitiated but curious. We’ll explain what the finding aid is telling you, how to figure out what the text is about, and and muse on some fun visual treasures you might come across when using the collection.

The finding aid provides the name of the manor, county, type of roll, and date. Most are court rolls, but there are also documents related to manorial accounts, as well as charters, wills, and even a map.

 

Here’s a roll from a court session in 1517 at Haspley with Newbourne Manor in Suffolk. It is in box 8, folder 65 of HLSL’s collection. We chose to leave a margin around each shot so that the images show the irregularities of the rolls, staying as true as possible to the original material.

Here’s a roll from a court session in 1517 at Haspley with Newbourne Manor in Suffolk. It is in box 8, folder 65 of HLSL’s collection. We chose to leave a margin around each shot so that the images show the irregularities of the rolls, staying as true as possible to the original material. Head here for a zoom-able version!

 

The rolls give testimony for the realm of the medieval and early modern English manor court, a local court held by the Lord of a manor for his tenants. An English manor, a swath of territory held by a landlord, accommodated both free tenants who paid rent as well as unfree tenants (villeins) who occupied their land in return for their services to the lord. In medieval and early modern England, unfree tenants did not possess the right to file suit in royal courts, so the lord held his own court, usually in the hall of the manor house. The proceedings of each session were recorded on rolls. Despite the fact that these rolls provide only a terse listing of these court proceedings, a richer and richer picture of peasant life accumulates after reading through a few court sessions. The courtroom served as a space where the lord could control land transactions, but also where he might fine his tenants for damages to land and buildings, or for other infractions such as marrying without a license and milling grain at the wrong mill.

HSC’s collection contains records from a great deal of manors, each of which has its own way of holding court. Next time we’ll give tips on deciphering the rolls, but if you’re yearning to dig deeper now, here are some select resources on our court rolls and manor courts in general:

Professor Liz Kamali’s undergraduate thesis on Harvard’s rolls: Papp, Elizabeth Ann. “Moulton Manor and Its Court, 1306-1418: Crisis and Reaction in a Fourteenth-Century Manor.” 1997.

An introduction to the manor, its court, and historical methodologies: Razi, Zvi, and Richard Michael Smith. Medieval Society and the Manor Court. New York: Clarendon Press, 1996.

852 RARE: Open for Research: The Papers of Stanley S. Surrey

…I doubt that any person alive today has had as close and as varied a relationship with the Internal Revenue Code as I have had. – Surrey, Unpublished Memoir

Historical & Special Collections is pleased to announce the Stanley S. Surrey Papers are now open to researchers. The material dates from 1913 to 1981, and documents Surrey’s exceptional contributions to tax law both as a public servant and as a professor of law. Considered “a dean of the academic tax bar,”[1] Surrey contributed to the field of tax law in many ways. He served as the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Tax Policy during the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, was an active member of many professional organizations including the American Law Institute, and was a Professor of Law at Harvard for thirty years.

Walter Surrey writing to his son, Stanley, on his appointment as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury. Surrey Papers, box 319, folder 5. Historical & Special Collections, Harvard Law School Library.

Early in his career, Surrey worked as an attorney for the National Recovery Administration (1933-35) and the National Labor Relations Board (1935-37). He then moved on to the U.S. Treasury Department where he worked on the Wartime Revenue Act. After a brief time in the U.S. Naval Reserve (1944-46), Surrey began to teach law at Berkley. It was during his time at Berkley that Surrey became the Chief Reported for the Income Tax Project conducted by the American Law Institute, a project that would last more than a decade. The Income Tax Project resulted in a number of publications addressing issues in the American tax code and have had a lasting influence on tax legislation.

There is a large number of correspondence, drafts, and handwritten notes documenting the American Law Institute Income Tax Project, the Income, Estate and Gift Tax Project and the second Income Tax Project, which Surrey advised on in the 1970s, in the collection. This material demonstrates how tax policy is developed and eventually becomes part of the tax code.

Surrey became a member of Harvard’s Faculty in 1950. As a faculty member he founded Harvard’s Program for International Taxation and served as director of the program from 1953 until 1961 when he was appointed as Assistant Secretary. He later came back to Harvard in 1969. A major portion of the Stanley Surrey Papers is devoted to his time as Assistant Secretary to the Treasury. Surrey kept correspondence, type-written notes, reports and memoranda from his time in the Treasury. He also kept meticulous notes of his daily routine at the Treasury in a professional journal. As Assistant Secretary he also coined the term Tax Expenditure, and was influential in defining the term later in a book co-authored with William C. Warren.

Draft page from “Pathways” on the definition of tax expenditures. Surrey Papers, box 416, folder 8. Historical & Special Collections, Harvard Law School Library.

All of Surrey’s various professional associations from his earliest career as an attorney to his time as the President of the National Tax Association (1979-80), and areas of interest are represented in Surrey’s personal reference files preserved in this collection. Surrey’s extensive personal reference files on issues of national and international taxation contain essays, documents, memoranda, newspaper clippings, notes, printed material, reports, testimony, and material sent to him from colleagues for Surrey’s reference in his function as professor, author, and consultant. This file is evidence of Surrey’s lifelong dedication to improving tax policy in every avenue of his career.

The Stanley S. Surrey Papers open to all researchers. Anyone interested in using the collection should contact Historical & Special Collections to schedule an appointment.

Posted on behalf of Rachel Parker by Edwin Moloy.

 

[1] “Stanley S. Surrey, 74; Taxation Law Expert”. New York Times. August 28, 1984.

Book Talk: Stand Your Ground: A History of America’s Love Affair with Lethal Self-Defense, Wed., Oct. 4, at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of Stand Your Ground: A History of America’s Love Affair with Lethal Self-Defense  (Beacon Press, 2017) by Caroline Light, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Lecturer on Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, Harvard University. Copies of Stand Your Ground will be available for sale and Professor Light will be available for signing books at the end of the talk.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017 at noon, with lunch
Harvard Law School Room WCC 2036 Milstein East A (Map & Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA

Stand Your Ground Poster

About Stand Your Ground: A History of America’s Love Affair with Lethal Self-Defense

“After a young, white gunman killed twenty-six people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012, conservative legislators lamented that the tragedy could have been avoided if the schoolteachers had been armed and the classrooms equipped with guns. Similar claims were repeated in the aftermath of other recent shootings—after nine were killed in a church in Charleston, South Carolina, and in the aftermath of the massacre in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Despite inevitable questions about gun control, there is a sharp increase in firearm sales in the wake of every mass shooting.

Yet, this kind of DIY-security activism predates the contemporary gun rights movement—and even the stand-your-ground self-defense laws adopted in thirty-three states, or the thirteen million civilians currently licensed to carry concealed firearms. As scholar Caroline Light proves, support for “good guys with guns” relies on the entrenched belief that certain “bad guys with guns” threaten us all.

Stand Your Ground explores the development of the American right to self-defense and reveals how the original “duty to retreat” from threat was transformed into a selective right to kill. In her rigorous genealogy, Light traces white America’s attachment to racialized, lethal self-defense by unearthing its complex legal and social histories—from the original “castle laws” of the 1600s, which gave white men the right to protect their homes, to the brutal lynching of “criminal” Black bodies during the Jim Crow era and the radicalization of the NRA as it transitioned from a sporting organization to one of our country’s most powerful lobbying forces.

In this convincing treatise on the United States’ unprecedented ascension as the world’s foremost stand-your-ground nation, Light exposes a history hidden in plain sight, showing how violent self-defense has been legalized for the most privileged and used as a weapon against the most vulnerable.” — Beacon Press

Panelists

Caroline Light

 

 

Caroline Light, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Lecturer on Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, Harvard University

 

Patricia J. Williams

 

Patricia J. Williams, Radcliffe Institute Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation Fellow and James L. Dohr Professor of Law at Columbia Law School

 

 

Jeannie Suk Gersen

 

 

Jeannie Suk Gersen, John H. Watson, Jr. Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

 

Ronald Sullivan, Jr.

 

 

Ronald S. Sullivan, Jr., Clinical Professor of Law and Director, Criminal Justice Institute, Harvard Law School

 

More About Stand Your Ground: A History of America’s Love Affair with Lethal Self-Defense

“The author is a keen legal analyst, deftly examining obscure cases that underlie this historical narrative…A weighty consideration of the cultural politics behind disturbing flash points like the death of Trayvon Martin.”
—- Kirkus Reviews

“Light’s readable account deserves strong notice by those seeking understanding of the roots of today’s polarizing debate over gun laws.”
—- Booklist

“Light makes a compelling case that appeals to ‘self-defense’ throughout American history have never been an equal-opportunity recourse…Light does not shy away from historical facts that popular memory and contemporary debates often erase. She unsparingly describes how many white suffragists supported extrajudicial violence to protect white chastity, and likewise calls attention to the under-acknowledged role of armed self-defense by black Americans during the sixties and seventies.”
—- The New Inquiry

“A timely and far-reaching new book…Light deftly analyzes how this lop-sided treatment has survived, in our legal system and also in the distortions that help define the historical memory of white America…It’s far from obvious that repealing Stand Your Ground laws would break that loop. As Light shows, the right to claim the protective mantle of self-defense has never been equally distributed in America. Stand Your Ground laws may be stark symbols of that reality, but they didn’t create it. Stand Your Ground didn’t kill Martin or keep Zimmerman out of jail. And it didn’t protect Peterson. Truly facing the problems of violence in America will mean following Light’s lead and digging deeper.”
—- Peter C. Baker, Pacific Standard

“A powerful new book…studded with striking statistics and sobering facts.”
—- Nina MacLaughlin, The Boston Globe

“While some may believe that the prevalence of ‘stand-your-ground’ narratives is a new phenomenon, Caroline Light’s Stand Your Ground is timely and sharp, and a potent antidote to historical amnesia. Light reminds us that these defenses are as old as the republic; they have always protected those with privilege and jeopardized those at the margins.”
—- Mark Anthony Neal, author of New Black Man

“In this brilliant and timely history of ‘the well-armed citizen,’ Caroline Light reveals the logic—and lunacy—of the perceived reasonableness of lethal force in America and the collective myth of the ideal, gun-toting savior against the threat of the ‘other.’”
—- Patricia Williams, Professor of Law at Columbia Law School

“Caroline Light traces the history of self-defense in America from the early republic to the present and reveals how gun-use policies have consistently compromised the contours of our democracy. Paying careful attention to the roles of race and gender in structuring gun control politics, Light ultimately provides us with a profound reflection on belonging and exclusion in American society. Essential reading.”
—- Elizabeth Hinton, award-winning author of From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America

“Provocative and original.”
—- Mike “The Gun Guy” Weisser, author of the Guns in America series

Join us to celebrate Banned Books Week!

Banned Books Week is coming and we are excited! As librarians, the freedom to read is in our DNA. Every year scores of books have their places in libraries and schools challenged by would-be censors. We can’t stand that, but we can stand up for the freedom to read and you can join us!

Visit the HLS Library lobby during the week of September 25 for a display about local censors. “Banned in Boston” isn’t just a random expression; the New England Watch & Ward Society records in our own collection (digitized in 2010) contain lists of  books deemed “impure literature” and banned in Boston (and beyond) during the 20th century.

Read-Out with us, Tuesday, September 26 at 12:15, HLS Library steps 
Bring your lunch and join us on the steps of the library as members of the HLS community read excerpts from our favorite banned books. We’ll be reading from classic literature, children’s picture books, and everything in between! If you’re HLS faculty, student, or staff and would like to be a reader, please contact Meg Kribble and we’ll add you to the line-up!

All week on Instagram!
Follow our Instagram for photos of HLS faculty, staff, and students with our favorite banned books. Share your own banned book selfies with #hlslbannedbooks! Email Jane Kelly if you’d like to be featured.

Not sure if your favorite has been banned or challenged? Check out the American Library Association’s Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books for 2015 and ALA’s Banned & Challenged Classics.

Book Talk: The Futility of Law and Development: China and the Dangers of Exporting American Law, Tue., Oct. 3, at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of The Futility of Law and Development: China and the Dangers of Exporting American Law (Oxford Univ. Press, 2015) by Jedidiah J. Kroncke, Professor, FGV Sao Paulo School of Law.  Copies of The Futility of Law and Development will be available for sale and Professor Kroncke will be available for signing books at the end of the talk.  This talk is co-sponsored with East Asian Legal Studies program at Harvard Law School and with the Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession.

Futility of Law and Development poster

Tuesday, October 3, 2017 at noon, with lunch
Harvard Law School Room WCC 2019 Milstein West B (Map & Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA

About The Futility of Law and Development: China and the Dangers of Exporting American Law

“For all the attention paid to the Founder Fathers in contemporary American debates, it has almost been wholly forgotten how deeply they embraced an ambitious and intellectually profound valuation of foreign legal experience. Jedidiah Kroncke uses the Founders’ serious engagement with, and often admiration for, Chinese law in the Revolutionary era to begin his history of how America lost this Founding commitment to legal cosmopolitanism and developed a contemporary legal culture both parochial in its resistance to engaging foreign legal experience and universalist in its messianic desire to export American law abroad. Kroncke reveals how the under-appreciated, but central role of Sino-American relations in this decline over two centuries, significantly reshaped in the early 20th century as American lawyer-missionaries helped inspire the first modern projects of American humanitarian internationalism through legal development. Often forgotten today after the rise of the Chinese Communist Party in 1949, the Sino-American relationship in the early 20th century was a key crucible for articulating this vision as Americans first imagined waves of Americanization abroad in the wake of China’s 1911 Republican revolution.

Drawing in historical threads from religious, legal and foreign policy work, the book demonstrates how American comparative law ultimately became a marginalized practice in this process. The marginalization belies its central place in earlier eras of American political and legal reform. In doing so, the book reveals how the cosmopolitan dynamism so prevalent at the Founding is a lost virtue that today comprises a serious challenge to American legal culture and its capacity for legal innovation in the face of an increasingly competitive and multi-polar 21st century. Once again, America’s relationship with China presents a critical opportunity to recapture this lost virtue and stimulate the searching cosmopolitanism that helped forge the original foundations of American democracy.” — Oxford University Press

Panelists

Jedidiah J. Kroncke

 

 

Jedidiah J. Kroncke, Professor, FGV Sao Paulo School of Law (Brazil)

 

David Armitage

 

 

David Armitage, Harvard University Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History

 

Intisar A. Rabb

 

Intisar A. Rabb, Professor of Law, Director, Islamic Legal Studies Program, Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor, Harvard University Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Professor of History, Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Sciences

 

Xiaoqian Hu

 

 

Xiaoqian Hu, Harvard Law School

 

William P. Alford

 

 

William P. Alford, Vice Dean for the Graduate Program and International Legal Studies, Henry L. Stimson Professor of Law, Director, East Asian Legal Studies Program, and Chair, Harvard Law School Project on Disability

More About The Futility of Law and Development: China and the Dangers of Exporting American Law

“Kroncke recovers a wide-ranging legal cosmopolitanism as the least appreciated, if not outright ignored, of our Founders’ shared commitments. Using transnational sources wholly unappreciated to date, he artfully reveals through the Sino-American relationship how this virtue was lost through interwoven transformations in American legal, religious, and diplomatic history. A work whose lessons need by heeded by all those concerned with preserving American law’s historical vibrancy in the contemporary era, or with how we conceive of America’s role in the international world.” — William E. Nelson, Edward Weinfeld Professor of Law, New York University School of Law

“Beautifully written, The Futility of Law and Development is bracing, erudite, and genuinely original. Even those familiar with development or Sino-American relations will be astonished at how much they learn. Jedidiah Kroncke is not only one of the most important and insightful China scholars of his generation, but also of comparative law and legal globalization. A tour-de-force of international legal history with urgent implications for modern American legal culture.” — Amy Chua, John M. Duff, Jr. Professor of Law, Yale Law School

“Americans keep hoping that projects to export our law will be the key to spurring economic growth and liberal rights in developing countries. The projects keep failing, yet the hope always revives. Kroncke’s brilliant exploration of two centuries of American lawyers’ engagement with China helps to explain why: the missionary-lawyers are the direct secularized heirs of lawyer-missionaries, just as confident in the universal validity of their models and impervious to the true lessons of their experiences. He recovers a time when a more cosmopolitan America was willing to learn from other societies, even while aspiring to be an exemplar of republican democracy.” — Robert Gordon, Professor of Law, Stanford University and Chancellor Kent Professor of Law and Legal History, Yale University

“What an impressive read! Kroncke’s book is comparative law at the best of its potential. History, thick explanation, critique, and new possibilities. The reader will realize how the missionary precursors of the Wilsonian era reshaped the very nature of American comparative law and, ever since, American law’s problematic relationship with the international world. Understanding our disciplinary shortcomings is the best medicine for overcoming them.” — Ugo Mattei, Alfred and Hanna Fromm Professor of International and Comparative law, UC Hastings

“[Futility] is a sophisticated critical dissection of the drawbacks of American legal export…a much a loss for the U.S. as for the world, because it has foreclosed the willingness of politicians and lawyers to see such complexity as an invitation for U.S. internal domestic experimentation and renewal. The book offers a beautiful reconstruction of the American legal imagination and approach to China…a provocative retelling of the history of American legal export, one that no doubt will generate fruitful debate and will have to be reckoned with by legal historians, legal comparativists, and scholars of U.S. foreign policy.” — Aziz Rana, JOTWELL

“Although The Futility of Law and Development is primarily a historical work, its contemporary significance is clear. It is a crucial time to reflect on the rocky record of America’s engagement with China’s legal system. U.S.-China relations stand at a critical juncture with simultaneous substantial interdependence and palpable tension. Members of the U.S. government, nongovernmental organizations, and academia whose work involves China’s legal system would be wise to take pause and put The Futility of Law and Development on their bedside tables.” —  Mary K. Lewis, Seton Hall University, China Review International

 

 

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