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

SPECIAL NEW YEAR EVENT: Cass Sunstein discusses “The World According to Star Wars,” Fri., Jan. 5 at 12:45 pm.

Whether you are pro-Republic or pro-Empire, the Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a discussion by Professor Cass Sunstein on his recently published, New York Times and Washington Post best selling book, The World According to Star Wars (Harper Collins, 2016).

Copies of The World According to Star Wars will be available for sale and Professor Sunstein will be available for signing books at the end of the talk.

Friday, January 5, 2018 at 12:45 pm

Harvard Law School WCC Room 2036, Milstein East B

1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge  (Directions)

A raffle will be held for ten AMC Yellow movie tickets for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, courtesy of The Harvard Law School Library.

Festive attire and costumes are welcome.  May the Force be with you!

sunstein star wars poster


“There’s Santa Claus, Shakespeare, Mickey Mouse, the Bible, and then there’s Star Wars. Nothing quite compares to sitting down with a young child and hearing the sound of John Williams’s score as those beloved golden letters fill the screen. In this fun, erudite, and often moving book, Cass R. Sunstein explores the lessons of Star Wars as they relate to childhood, fathers, the Dark Side, rebellion, and redemption. As it turns out, Star Wars also has a lot to teach us about constitutional law, economics, and political uprisings.

In rich detail, Sunstein tells the story of the films’ wildly unanticipated success and explores why some things succeed while others fail. Ultimately, Sunstein argues, Star Wars is about freedom of choice and our never-ending ability to make the right decision when the chips are down. Written with buoyant prose and considerable heart, The World According to Star Wars shines a bright new light on the most beloved story of our time.” — Harper Collins

About Cass R. Sunstein

Cass R. Sunstein is currently the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard. From 2009 to 2012, he was Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. He is the founder and director of the Program on Behavioral Economics and Public Policy at Harvard Law School. Professor Sunstein has testified before congressional committees on many subjects, and he has been involved in constitution-making and law reform activities in a number of nations.

More About The World According to Star Wars

“[Sunstein’s] enthusiasm is endearing…[the] Harvard Law professor uses George Lucas’s cinematic phenomenon to tackle such disparate topics as the creative process, the writing of constitutional law, and why people commit terrorist acts.” — New Yorker

“Enlightening…perceptive…Mr. Sunstein comes across as an energetic, friendly dinner-party tablemate.” — New York Times

“Entertaining…the ultimate primer for guiding a Star Wars padawan to the level of Jedi Knight.” — TIME

“Delightful… informative without being boring, funny without being silly.. a marvelous swift read. The force is strong with this one.” — The Economist

“If you love Star Wars or are a nerd and want an engaging introduction to concepts in legal theory or behavioural economics, Sunstein does the trick with levity and clarity’.” — The Times

“An enlightening and surprisingly personal tour of a galaxy…Sunstein offers plenty of fun details and opinions.” — Washington Post

“Sunstein makes a strong case that [Star Wars] contains real insights into the way we think about religion, work, and family…the book’s takeaways are universal.” — Fortune

“In this gem of a book, Cass Sunstein uses the Star Wars series to explore profound questions about being a parent, a child, and a human. It will change the way you think about your own journey, might even make you pick up the phone and call your dad.” — Walter Isaacson

“Irresistibly charming, acclaimed legal scholar Sunstein writes partly as a rigorous academic and partly as a helpless fanboy as he explores our fascination with Star Wars and what the series can teach us about the law, behavioral economics, history, even fatherhood. This book is fun, brilliant, and deeply original.” — Lee Child

“In this remarkable, book Sunstein manages to connect invisible gorillas, hit songs, conspiracy theories, and constitutional law. For anyone who loves the movies, or loves to think about how the world works, or simply loves their father The World According to Star Wars will provoke and inspire.” — Duncan Watts, Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and author of Everything is Obvious (Once You Know the Answer)

“Fun and informative without getting bogged down with being too analytic or too fan-ish.” — Jeffrey Brown, author of the bestselling Goodnight Darth Vader

“Smart and interesting.” — Kirkus Reviews

“A light and breezy read filled with beautiful and funny anecdotes…worth the price of admission.” — Allen Voivod, Star Wars 7×7 Podcast

“Cass R. Sunstein has done it: He’s made Star Wars into a valuable legal text. In The World According to Star Wars, he considers the social, political, and moral ramifications of the films’ mythology… Sunstein provides new insights into a series we love.” — Slate

“[a] soon-to-be-required-for-college text” — Geeks of Doom

HLS’s favorite fictional lawyers (a non-scientific survey!)

Post-it with fictional lawyer namesJust for fun, we asked those entering the HLS Library who their favorite fictional lawyers are. Because we asked via a bulletin board display and those who answered did so by adding a post-it note to the display, this was a completely non-scientific poll. But we always enjoy seeing the results. Here’s a summary:

First, the fictional HLS alums. You’d be surprised (or maybe not) how many fictional lawyers are HLS graduates. Favorites in our poll were Annalise Keating from How to Get Away with Murder, Olivia Pope from Scandal, Harvey Specter from Suits, and Elle Woods from Legally Blonde with 3 votes each. Miranda Hobbes of Sex and the City, Louis Litt from Suits, and Ally McBeal each received 2 votes. The West Wing’s Ainsley Hayes, the notorious Professor Kingsfield of The Paper Chase, and Rafael Barba from Law & Order: SVU got one vote each.

Leading the field overall were with four votes each were Atticus Finch of To Kill a Mockingbird, Alicia Florrick and Diane Lockhart in The Good Wife, Saul Goodman from Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, and Alan Shore from Boston Legal.

Alan Shore’s life partner, Denny “two combustible words” Crane was among those receiving 3 votes along with Perry Mason, Matt Murdock aka Marvel’s Daredevil, and Jessica Pearson from Suits.

Receiving 2 votes each were Lionel Hutz of The Simpsons, Bob Loblaw of Arrested Development, Jack McCoy of Law & Order, Mike Ross of Suits and Elsbeth Tascioni of The Good Wife.

Rounding out the pool with one vote each were Rafael Barba of Law & Order: SVU, Fletcher Reede of Liar, Liar, Cleaver Greene of the Australian series Rake, Bartholemew Iz from the post-apocalyptic novel Fitzpatrick’s War, Lt Daniel Kafee of A Few Good Men, Romo Lampkin of  Battlestar Galactica, Maggie Lizer of Arrested Development, Benjamin Matlock, Foggy Nelson of  Marvel Comics, Commander Harmon Rabb of JAG, Chuck Rhoades of Billions, Eve Rothlo of How to Get Away with Murder, the doubly fictitious lawyer Dean Sanderson of The Grinder, Jefferson Smith aka Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Tom the lawyer from Cheers, the eponymous My Cousin Vinnie, 
Phoenix Wright of the Ace Attorney video game series, Vivian Kensington (post-dumping Warner) of Legally Blonde, and the entire firm of Wolfram & Hart from Angel.

Finally, honorable mention goes to Jean-Luc Picard–a starship captain, not a lawyer–who was nominated for his defense of his colleague and friend Data in Star Trek: the Next Generation. In case you missed it, Dean Martha Minow discussed the episode in question in her 2011 graduation speech.

If you didn’t get a chance to vote on the display version of this poll, feel free to tell us who your favorite fictional lawyer is in the comments!

Scanning Nuremberg: Beginning analysis of the Einsatzgruppen Case (NMT 9)

Post by Matt Seccombe, July 8, 2017

Editor’s note: we have some new posts to share in our Scanning Nuremberg series, and we’ll be playing a bit of catchup over the next few weeks. Scanning Nuremberg shares the observations and insights of Matt Seccombe, Nuremberg Trials Project Metadata Manager/Document Analyst, as he analyzes documents for digitization as part of the HLS Library’s Nuremberg Trials Project website

In June the trial document analysis work resumed, with NMT 9, the Einsatzgruppen Case, on the agenda. I chose this trial because it presents a subject the other cases have not so far covered: genocide. The Einstazgruppen (groups A, B, C, and D) were created by the SS in the summer of 1941 to proceed into eastern Europe along with the army on the Russian front in order to assist the military, secure territory behind the front, and eliminate “enemy populations” including Jews, Communists, Gypsies (or Romanis), and other groups. In two years, working along a line from the Baltic territories, western Russia, the Ukraine, and on to Crimea, the groups killed approximately one million people, precisely reporting their work in regular reports to Security Police headquarters.

After spending some time organizing and exploring the document files and the trial transcript and gathering background information, I started document analysis in mid-June and worked through 115 documents amounting to over 600 pages of material, including the indictment(s), arraignment, prosecution opening statement, and six document books of prosecution evidence.

1939 and 1941 agendas: When the war began in 1939 Heydrich sent an initial Einsatz operation eastward with instructions on “the Jewish question in the occupied territory.” Somewhat surprisingly, the most urgent factor was safeguarding Germany’s “economic interest,” including the maintenance of Jewish businesses that were necessary for the local economy and the military. “The total measures planned (i.e. the final aim),” he noted obscurely, “are to be kept strictly secret.” Those “measures” were apparently discussed, but not recorded. In 1941, the agenda changed, or at least became much clearer. Ohlendorf, one of the group commanders, was told by Himmler in June 1941 that “an important part of our task consisted of the extermination of Jews—women, men, and children—and of Communist functionaries.” (Among other things, this means that the notorious Wannsee conference (January 1942) did not initiate the Holocaust but rather confirmed it and extended it from the eastern front to the whole German domain.)

Humane executions: None of the group leaders disputed the order to conduct mass executions (though one apparently obtained a transfer to avoid them), and they reported that they followed the order with “unabated severity.” In one area 23,600 Jews were shot in three days. But some who regarded this as part of the war effort insisted that they conducted the executions “in a military and humane way.” Like soldiers, they killed their enemies but did not torture them. One clarified that this was done to avoid a “moral strain” on the executioners (not the victims).

Connections with other trials: While the Case 9 indictment focused on genocide, the documents gradually reveal subjects that we record as “trial issues,” including those that overlap with other trials. Thus we can enrich the analysis of one trial with what we find in another. For example, the mass murder of Gypsies in Case 9 feeds back into Case 7 (which focused on the German army in the Balkans), and the arrest and execution of hostages, the primary charge in Case 7, also emerges as an issue in Case 9. The mass execution of the mentally ill in the USSR, though not mentioned in the indictment, emerged as an issue in the documents, one that is comparable to but not the same as the euthanasia program covered in the Medical Case.

More about the Nuremberg Trials Project:

Matt Seccombe’s work on the NMT 9 of the Nuremberg Trials Project has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.

National Endowment for the Humanities logo



The HLS Library holds approximately one million pages of documents relating to the trial of military and political leaders of Nazi Germany before the International Military Tribunal (IMT) and to the twelve trials of other accused war criminals before the United States Nuremberg Military Tribunals (NMT). We have posted five trials so far (NMT 1 through NMT 4 and NMT 7) and have completed digitization of all the documents and transcripts. 

We are now engaged in the process of analyzing, describing and making machine readable the remaining trials’ materials in preparation for posting them to the Web. We hope to complete this work as soon as possible based upon available funding.  For more information about this project, please contact Jocelyn Kennedy.

Co-work with Historical & Special Collections on Friday, 11/17!

Interested in learning about archiving your student organization’s records with Historical & Special Collections? Want some suggestions about how to manage your org’s documents in the day-to-day, or just need some time and space to settle in to work on a project for your org?

Join us in Areeda 524 (5th floor of the HLS Library above the Reference desk) on Friday, Nov. 17 from 9am to 1pm to co-work with the library’s Historical & Special Collections!

Unidentified students studying, Unknown photographer, no date, Photographs of HLS Students, Folder 18

Unidentified students studying, Unknown photographer, no date, Photographs of HLS Students, Folder 18

We’ll be available to help you archive your organization’s records, consult on how to gain and keep control of your organization’s records, or just give you space to work on your student org projects. We’ll be working on refining processes for our student org archiving initiative. Contact if you have questions!

Book Talk: Intisar A. Rabb, Justice and Leadership in Early Islamic Courts, Tue., Nov. 28, at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of Justice and Leadership in Early Islamic Courts (November 2017) edited by Intisar A. Rabb & Abigail Krasner Balbale.  This talk is co-sponsored with the International Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School, the Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School, the Harvard University Department of History, the Alwaleed Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University, and the Harvard Muslim Law Students Association.

Intisar A. Rabb

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


Abigail Krasner Balbale



Abigail Krasner Balbale is Assistant Professor of the Cultural History of the Islamic World at Bard Graduate Center.


Copies of Justice and Leadership in Early Islamic Courts will be available for sale and Professor Rabb and Professor Balbale will be available for signing books at the end of the talk.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017 at noon, with lunch
Harvard Law School Lewis 214A (Map & Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA

About Justice and Leadership in Early Islamic Courts

Justice and Leadership in Early Islamic Courts“This book presents an in-depth exploration of the administration of justice during Islam’s founding period, 632–1250 CE. Inspired by the scholarship of Roy Parviz Mottahedeh and composed in his honor, this volume brings together ten leading scholars of Islamic law to examine the history of early Islamic courts. This approach draws attention to both how and why the courts and the people associated with them functioned in early Islamic societies: When a dispute occurred, what happened in the courts? How did judges conceive of justice and their role in it? When and how did they give attention to politics and procedure?

Each author draws on diverse sources that illuminate a broader and deeper vision of law and society than traditional legal literature alone can provide, including historical chronicles, biographical dictionaries, legal canons, exegetical works, and mirrors for princes. Altogether, the volume offers both a substantive intervention on early Islamic courts and on methods for studying legal history as social history. It illuminates the varied and dynamic legal landscapes stretching across early Islam, and maps new approaches to interdisciplinary legal history.” — Harvard Series in Islamic Law


William A. Graham


William A. Graham
Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor, Murray A. Albertson Professor of Middle Eastern Studies, and Director, Prince Alwaleed Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University


Cemal Kafadar



Cemal Kafadar
Vehbi Koç Professor of Turkish Studies, Harvard University Department of History



Ahmed El Shamsy



Ahmed El Shamsy, Senior Visiting fellow, Harvard Law School Islamic Legal Studies Program – SHARIASource, and Associate Professor of Islamic Thought, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, The University of Chicago

Book Talk: I. Glenn Cohen’s Specimen Science: Ethics and Policy Implications, Thur., Nov. 9, at noon at Countway Library of Medicine

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of Specimen Science: Ethics and Policy Implications (MIT Press, Sept. 2017) edited by Holly Fernandez Lynch, Barbara E. Bierer, I. Glenn Cohen and Suzanne M. Rivera.  This talk is co-sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library, the Countway Library of Medicine, and the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology & Bioethics.

Copies of Specimen Science will be available for sale and Professor Bierer, Professor Cohen, and Professor Rivera will be available for signing books at the end of the talk.

Thursday, November 9, 2017 at noon, with lunch
Lahey Room, Countway Library at Harvard Medical School (Map & Directions)
10 Shattuck St. Boston, MA 02115

Specimen Science poster

About Specimen Science: Ethics and Policy Implications

“Advances in medicine often depend on the effective collection, storage, research use, and sharing of human biological specimens and associated data. But what about the sources of such specimens? When a blood specimen is drawn from a vein in your arm, is that specimen still you? Is it your property, intellectual or otherwise? Should you be allowed not only to consent to its use in research but also to specify under what circumstances it may be used? These and other questions are at the center of a vigorous debate over the use of human biospecimens in research. In this book, experts offer legal, regulatory, and ethical perspectives on balancing social benefit and human autonomy in biospecimen research.

After discussing the background to current debates as well as several influential cases, including that of Henrietta Lacks, the contributors consider the rights, obligations, risks, and privacy of the specimen source; different types of informed consent under consideration (broad, blanket, and specific); implications for special patient and researcher communities; and the governance of biospecimen repositories and the responsibilities of investigators.” — MIT Press


Glenn Cohen


I. Glenn Cohen, Harvard Law School Professor of Law, and Faculty Director of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology & Bioethics




Barbara Bierer


Barbara E. Bierer, Program Director, Regulatory Foundations, Ethics, and Law Program, Harvard Catalyst and Faculty Director, Multi-Regional Clinical Trials Center of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard (MRCT Center)


Jane Perlmutter



Jane Perlmutter, Cancer Survivor and Patient Advocate


Suzanne Rivera



Suzanne M. Rivera, Vice President for Research and Assistant Professor of Bioethics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine



Explore the spooky side of the HLS Library!

image of bats flyingGet an exclusive look at the Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. death mask, the hairy hand, and other disturbing delights from the HLS Library’s Historical & Special Collections.

Learn about the role of Harvard and HLS alumni in the Salem Witch Trials, the Boston Molasses Flood, the sleepwalking defense, and the Sacco and Vanzetti trial.

Wander the spooky stacks hunting for ghosts and hope they don’t come hunting for you in return!

Sign up for a Haunted HLSL tour to learn about these creepy collections and more!

Monday, October 30, 12:10-12:50pm

Monday, October 30,  4:00-4:50pm

Monday, October 30, 5:00-5:50pm

Tuesday October 31, 12:10-12:50pm

Tuesday October 31, 4:00-4:50pm

Tuesday October 31, 5:00-5:50pm


Book Talk: Cass Sunstein’s Impeachment: A Citizen’s Guide, Tue., Nov. 7, at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of Impeachment: A Citizen’s Guide (Harvard University Press, October 2017) by Cass Sunstein, Robert Walmsley University Professor, Harvard University.

Copies of Impeachment: A Citizen’s Guide will be available for sale and Professor Sunstein will be available for signing books at the end of the talk.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at noon, with lunch
Harvard Law School Room WCC 2036 Milstein East B (Map & Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA

Impeachment - A Citizen's Guide

About Impeachment: A Citizen’s Guide

“As Benjamin Franklin famously put it, Americans have a republic, if we can keep it. Preserving the Constitution and the democratic system it supports is the public’s responsibility. One route the Constitution provides for discharging that duty—a route rarely traveled—is impeachment.

Cass R. Sunstein provides a succinct citizen’s guide to an essential tool of self-government. He illuminates the constitutional design behind impeachment and emphasizes the people’s role in holding presidents accountable. Despite intense interest in the subject, impeachment is widely misunderstood. Sunstein identifies and corrects a number of misconceptions. For example, he shows that the Constitution, not the House of Representatives, establishes grounds for impeachment, and that the president can be impeached for abuses of power that do not violate the law. Even neglect of duty counts among the “high crimes and misdemeanors” delineated in the republic’s foundational document. Sunstein describes how impeachment helps make sense of our constitutional order, particularly the framers’ controversial decision to install an empowered executive in a nation deeply fearful of kings.

With an eye toward the past and the future, Impeachment: A Citizen’s Guide considers a host of actual and imaginable arguments for a president’s removal, explaining why some cases are easy and others hard, why some arguments for impeachment have been judicious and others not. In direct and approachable terms, it dispels the fog surrounding impeachment so that Americans of all political convictions may use their ultimate civic authority wisely.” — Harvard University Press

More About Impeachment: A Citizen’s Guide

“Thoroughly grounded in constitutional history and past practice… Excellent.” — Noah Feldman and Jacob Weisberg, The New York Review of Books

“A compact, concise, and highly relevant civics lesson. There have been a number of books published about impeachment, many of them partisan manifestoes. What makes Sunstein’s book of such great interest is its lack of fanfare and knife‐sharpening. The author is a learned and accessible guide as he maneuvers his way through the history of democracy’s nuclear option… A welcome, timely, ideal primer.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Sunstein is well positioned to provide this balanced and timely overview of the role of impeachment in American democracy… An essential guide to understanding impeachment’s function within the ‘constitutional system as a whole’ and a persuasive argument that the impeachment clause places ‘the fate of the republic’ in the hands of its citizenry.” — Publishers Weekly

“With insight, wisdom, affection, and concern, Sunstein has written the story of impeachment every citizen needs to know. This is a remarkable, essential book.” — Doris Kearns Goodwin

Book Talk: Noah Feldman’s The Three Lives of James Madison: Genius, Partisan, President, Fri., Nov. 3, at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of The Three Lives of James Madison: Genius, Partisan, President (Penguin Random House, 2017) by Noah Feldman, Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law and Director of the Julis-Rabinowitz Program on Jewish and Israeli Law at Harvard Law School.

Copies of The Three Lives of James Madison will be available for sale and Professor Feldman will be available for signing books at the end of the talk.

Friday, November 3, 2017 at noon, with lunch
Harvard Law School Room Lewis 214A (Map & Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA

About The Three Lives of James Madison: Genius, Partisan, President

“Over the course of his life, James Madison changed the United States three times: First, he designed the Constitution, led the struggle for its adoption and ratification, then drafted the Bill of Rights. As an older, cannier politician he co-founded the original Republican party, setting the course of American political partisanship. Finally, having pioneered a foreign policy based on economic sanctions, he took the United States into a high-risk conflict, becoming the first wartime president and, despite the odds, winning.

In The Three Lives of James Madison, Noah Feldman offers an intriguing portrait of this elusive genius and the constitutional republic he created—and how both evolved to meet unforeseen challenges. Madison hoped to eradicate partisanship yet found himself giving voice to, and institutionalizing, the political divide. Madison’s lifelong loyalty to Thomas Jefferson led to an irrevocable break with George Washington, hero of the American Revolution. Madison closely collaborated with Alexander Hamilton on the Federalist papers—yet their different visions for the United States left them enemies.

Alliances defined Madison, too. The vivacious Dolley Madison used her social and political talents to win her husband new supporters in Washington—and define the diplomatic customs of the capital’s society. Madison’s relationship with James Monroe, a mixture of friendship and rivalry, shaped his presidency and the outcome of the War of 1812.

We may be more familiar with other Founding Fathers, but the United States today is in many ways Madisonian in nature. Madison predicted that foreign threats would justify the curtailment of civil liberties. He feared economic inequality and the power of financial markets over politics, believing that government by the people demanded resistance to wealth. Madison was the first Founding Father to recognize the importance of public opinion, and the first to understand that the media could function as a safeguard to liberty.

The Three Lives of James Madison is an illuminating biography of the man whose creativity and tenacity gave us America’s distinctive form of government. His collaborations, struggles, and contradictions define the United States to this day.” — Penguin Random House


David Armitage




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


Bruce Mann




Professor Bruce Mann, Carl F. Schipper, Jr. Professor of Law, Harvard Law School


Eric Nelson





Professor Eric Nelson, Robert M. Beren Professor of Government, Harvard University


More About The Three Lives of James Madison: Genius, Partisan, President

“Noah Feldman brings a scholarly rigor and a gift for narrative to this impressive account of the sprawling—and often perplexing—life of James Madison. Understanding America requires understanding this often-overlooked Founder and his long, eventful life in the arena. We are fortunate indeed that Feldman has given us such a thoughtful examination of Madison’s mind and its still-unfolding role in the story of the nation.” — Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power

“James Madison is famously known as the ‘Father’ of the American Constitution. With great insight, conveyed in elegant and commanding prose, Noah Feldman gives us a rich portrait of our fourth president in all his many aspects: constitution maker, politician, partisan, friend, slaveholder, husband, president, and elder statesman. The result is a fresh, bold, and much-needed look at a pivotal figure in American and, therefore, world history.” — Annette Gordon-Reed, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family

“In order to understand America and its Constitution, it is necessary to understand James Madison. Noah Feldman, combining laudable scholarship with delightful writing, does a brilliant job of showing how Madison’s precise and reasoned mind, along with his personal friendships and rivalries, created our code as a nation. Madison’s aversion to mindless partisanship and his belief in a public spirit provide an invaluable inspiration for our troubled political times.” — Walter Isaacson, New York Times bestselling author of Steve Jobs

“In The Three Lives of James Madison, Noah Feldman skillfully explains the evolving genius of Madison with precision and clarity. The result is a narrative both epic in scope and intimate in detail.” — David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler, authors of Washington’s Circle: The Creation of the President

Book Talk: Safe Spaces, Brave Spaces: Diversity and Free Expression in Education with John Palfrey, Tue. Oct. 24, at 5 pm

The Harvard Law School Library staff in co-sponsorship with the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of Safe Spaces, Brave Spaces: Diversity and Free Expression in Education (MIT Press, 2017) by John Palfrey, Head of School at Phillips Academy and previously, the Henry N. Ess III Professor of Law and Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources at Harvard Law School.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017
5:00-6:15 pm Book Talk, followed by 6:30-7:30 pm Reception
Harvard Law School Wasserstein 1023
(Map & Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
RSVP required to attend in person

Safe Spaces, Brave Spaces poster

About Safe Spaces, Brave Spaces

“Safe spaces, trigger warnings, microagressions, the disinvitation of speakers, demands to rename campus landmarks—debate over these issues began in lecture halls and on college quads but ended up on op-ed pages in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, on cable news, and on social media. Some of these critiques had merit, but others took a series of cheap shots at “crybullies” who needed to be coddled and protected from the real world. Few questioned the assumption that colleges must choose between free expression and diversity. In Safe Spaces, Brave Spaces, John Palfrey argues that the essential democratic values of diversity and free expression can, and should, coexist on campus.

Palfrey, currently Head of School at Phillips Academy, Andover, and formerly Professor and Vice Dean at Harvard Law School, writes that free expression and diversity are more compatible than opposed. Free expression can serve everyone—even if it has at times been dominated by white, male, Christian, heterosexual, able-bodied citizens. Diversity is about self-expression, learning from one another, and working together across differences; it can encompass academic freedom without condoning hate speech.

Palfrey proposes an innovative way to support both diversity and free expression on campus: creating safe spaces and brave spaces. In safe spaces, students can explore ideas and express themselves with without feeling marginalized. In brave spaces—classrooms, lecture halls, public forums—the search for knowledge is paramount, even if some discussions may make certain students uncomfortable. The strength of our democracy, says Palfrey, depends on a commitment to upholding both diversity and free expression, especially when it is hardest to do so.” — MIT Press

About John Palfrey

John is the Head of School at Phillips Academy, Andover.  He serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Knight Foundation and LRNG.  He also serves as a Board member of the Data + Society Research InstituteSchool Year Abroad, and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

John’s research and teaching focus on new media and learning.  He has written extensively on Internet law, intellectual property, and the potential of new technologies to strengthen democracies locally and around the world.  He is the author or co-author of several books, including Born Digital: How Children Grow Up in a Digital Age (Basic Books, revised edition, 2016) (with Urs Gasser); BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google (Basic Books, 2015); Interop: The Promise and Perils of Highly Interconnected Systems (Basic Books, 2012) (with Urs Gasser); Intellectual Property Strategy (MIT Press, 2012); (with Urs Gasser); and Access Denied: The Practice and Politics of Global Internet Filtering (MIT Press, 2008) (co-edited).

John served previously as the Henry N. Ess III Professor of Law and Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources at Harvard Law School.  At the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, he served as executive director from 2002-2008 and has continued on as a faculty director since then. John came back to the Harvard Law School from the law firm Ropes & Gray, where he worked on intellectual property, Internet law, and private equity transactions. He also served as a Special Assistant at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency during the Clinton administration.  He previously served as the founding President of the Board of Directors of the Digital Public Library of America.  He also served as a venture executive at Highland Capital Partners and on the Board of Directors of the Mass2020 Foundation, the Ames Foundation, and Open Knowledge Commons, among others.  John was a Visiting Professor of Information Law and Policy at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland for the 2007-2008 academic year.

John graduated from Harvard College, the University of Cambridge, and Harvard Law School.  He was a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar to the University of Cambridge and the U.S. EPA Gold Medal (highest national award).

More About Safe Spaces, Brave Spaces

“Safe Spaces, Brave Spaces is a must read for faculty and administrators, but also for students, parents, and the wider public. Grounded in history, attuned to new technologies, honest about the challenges of an increasingly diverse society, Safe Spaces, Brave Spaces charts a path forward that is realistic, but ultimately hopeful. Building inclusive educational institutions that honor freedom of expression and create an environment for learning and growth is the path forward to a healthy and inclusive democracy.”
Jonathan Fanton, President, American Academy of Arts and Sciences; author of The University and Civil Society

“This is a sophisticated exploration of two crucial values—diversity and free expression—and a cogent, persuasive argument that the two are inextricably intertwined. Palfrey’s sketch of a society in which citizens enjoy liberty and equality in equal measure is appealing and even inspiring.”
Jameel Jaffer, Executive Director, Knight First Amendment Institute, Columbia University; former Deputy Legal Director, ACLU

Safe Spaces, Brave Spaces is a useful, balanced summary of some of the most contentious issues on college campuses in the United States today. Recognizing the opportunity and the responsibility that learning communities have to educate about the value of diversity, inclusion, equity, and freedom of expression, the author takes on the challenge of this topic with courage, empathy, and a call to action for all of us to understand what is really at stake for how we educate citizens for democracy. I recommend it to leaders and scholars both in and outside of the academy who genuinely want to honor both sides of the debate and who want to be part of the urgent change needed for a more just society.”
Marilyn Sanders Mobley, Vice President, Office for Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity, Case Western Reserve University

This event is being co-sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

%d bloggers like this: