Book Talks • Et. Seq: The Harvard Law School Library Blog

Book Talk: The Reformer: How One Liberal Fought to Preempt the Russian Revolution, Fri., March 9, at noon.

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion for The Reformer: How One Liberal Fought to Preempt the Russian Revolution by Judge Stephen F. Williams (Encounter Books, Nov. 7, 2017).  Stephen F. Williams is a Harvard Law School graduate and is Senior United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He will be joined in conversation with Joshua Rubenstein, Associate, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University and Associate Director for Major Gifts at Harvard Law School, and author of The Last Days of Stalin (Yale Univ. Press, 2016) and also, with Alexis Peri, Assistant Professor of History at Boston University and author of The War Within: Diaries from the Siege of Leningrad (Harvard Univ. Press 2017).  This talk is co-sponsored by the Harvard Russian Law Students Association.

The Reformer Poster

Friday, March 9, 2018 at noon, with lunch
Harvard Law School WCC 2036 Milstein East B (Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA

About The Reformer: How One Liberal Fought to Preempt the Russian Revolution

“Besides absolutists of the right (the tsar and his adherents) and left (Lenin and his fellow Bolsheviks), the Russian political landscape in 1917 featured moderates seeking liberal reform and a rapid evolution toward towards a constitutional monarchy. Vasily Maklakov, a lawyer, legislator and public intellectual, was among the most prominent of these, and the most articulate and sophisticated advocate of the rule of law, the linchpin of liberalism.

This book tells the story of his efforts and his analysis of the reasons for their ultimate failure. It is thus, in part, an example for movements seeking to liberalize authoritarian countries today—both as a warning and a guide.

Although never a cabinet member or the head of his political party—the Constitutional Democrats or “Kadets”—Maklakov was deeply involved in most of the political events of the period. He was defense counsel for individuals resisting the regime (or charged simply for being of the wrong ethnicity, such as Menahem Beilis, sometimes considered the Russian Dreyfus). He was continuously a member of the Kadets’ central committee and their most compelling orator. As a somewhat maverick (and moderate) Kadet, he stood not only between the country’s absolute extremes (the reactionary monarchists and the revolutionaries), but also between the two more or less liberal centrist parties, the Kadets on the center left, and the Octobrists on the center right. As a member of the Second, Third and Fourth Dumas (1907-1917), he advocated a wide range of reforms, especially in the realms of religious freedom, national minorities, judicial independence, citizens’ judicial remedies, and peasant rights.” — Encounter Books

About Judge Stephen F. Williams

Stephen F, Williams graduated from Harvard Law School in 1961 and practiced in the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton and as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York; he then served as a professor of law at the University of Colorado and as a visiting professor at the University of Chicago, UCLA and Southern Methodist University. He was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit by President Reagan in 1986. His first book on Russian history, Liberal Reform in an Illiberal Regime: The Creation of Private Property Rights in Russia, 1906-15, addressed an effort to enhance peasant property rights, launched in a brief surge of reformist activity.

Panelists

Joshua Rubenstein

 

 

Joshua Rubenstein, Associate, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University and Associate Director for Major Gifts at Harvard Law School

 

Alexis Peri

 

 

 

Alexis Peri, Assistant Professor of History at Boston University

 

More About The Reformer: How One Liberal Fought to Preempt the Russian Revolution

“The Reformer illuminates the life and times of Vasily Maklakov, one of the most remarkable lives during the most turbulent times in Russia’s history. Maklakov’s attempts to avoid revolution by bringing about revolutionary reform failed, but his course and his arguments should not be forgotten. . . . The Reformer is an essential book for anyone interested in Russian history, but its story is still all too relevant today, when freedom and the rule of law are under assault around the globe.”  — Garry Kasparov, Chairman of the Human Rights Foundation and author of Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped

“Through extensive research, crystal-clear writing, and a keen and comprehensive understanding of his subject matter, Stephen F. Williams makes a truly important contribution to the study of the last years of tsarism and the efforts of one individual to try to make a difference. . . . Williams demonstrates a real mastery of the literature and original source material . . . and brings it altogether in a most readable and informative way.” — David J. Kramer, Senior Fellow, Florida International University and former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

“Williams’s study is impressive, informative, gripping. In the considerable overlap between the skills of a good lawyer and a good historian, Williams shines.” — Lars Lih, author of Lenin (2011) and Lenin Rediscovered (2008)

“A liberal rule of law is under attack worldwide, from Manila to Moscow. Judge Williams has written a lucid, brilliant account of a modern turning point―the failure of Russia to take the liberal direction it could have taken in 1917. . . . Williams has entire command of the historical sources for his tale, told in graceful prose. . . . We are not that far gone in losing the liberal vision of law. But to not remember the history is to risk repeating it.” — Deirdre McCloskey, Distinguished Professor of Economics, History and English at the University of Illinois at Chicago


“This is an unusual and in so many ways a brilliant book. It aims to explain the failure of the rule of law in the decades before the Bolshevik revolution of October 1917, through the biography of a key liberal figure of that era, Vasily Maklakov. There is no other work like this one, for there is no other written by a leading jurist who also happens to publish seriously as a historian of Russia.” — Daniel T. Orlovsky, Professor and George Bouhe Research Fellow in Russian Studies, Southern Methodist University

Book Talk: American Capitalism: New Histories, Wednesday, March 7th, at noon.

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion for American Capitalism: New Histories (Columbia Univ. Press, Feb. 13, 2018), edited by Sven Beckert, Laird Bell Professor of History, Harvard University Department of History, and by Christine A. Desan, Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law.  Professor Beckert and Professor Desan will be joined by commentators: Bethany Moreton, Professor of History, Dartmouth College; Michael Ralph, Associate Professor, Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University; and Seth E. Rockman, Associate Professor of History, Brown University.  This talk is co-sponsored by the Tax & Financial Regulation Students Association and the Harvard Russian Law Students Association.

American Capitalism Poster

Wednesday, March 7, 2018 at noon, with lunch
Harvard Law School WCC 2036 Milstein East B (directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA

About American Capitalism: New Histories

“The United States has long epitomized capitalism. From its enterprising shopkeepers, wildcat banks, violent slave plantations, huge industrial working class, and raucous commodities trade to its world-spanning multinationals, its massive factories, and the centripetal power of New York in the world of finance, America has come to symbolize capitalism for two centuries and more. But an understanding of the history of American capitalism is as elusive as it is urgent. What does it mean to make capitalism a subject of historical inquiry? What is its potential across multiple disciplines, alongside different methodologies, and in a range of geographic and chronological settings? And how does a focus on capitalism change our understanding of American history?

American Capitalism presents a sampling of cutting-edge research from prominent scholars. These broad-minded and rigorous essays venture new angles on finance, debt, and credit; women’s rights; slavery and political economy; the racialization of capitalism; labor beyond industrial wage workers; and the production of knowledge, including the idea of the economy, among other topics. Together, the essays suggest emerging themes in the field: a fascination with capitalism as it is made by political authority, how it is claimed and contested by participants, how it spreads across the globe, and how it can be reconceptualized without being universalized. A major statement for a wide-open field, this book demonstrates the breadth and scope of the work that the history of capitalism can provoke.” — Columbia University Press

Sven Beckert is Laird Bell Professor of History at Harvard University and cofounder of the Program on the Study of Capitalism. He is the author of Empire of Cotton: A Global History (2014).

Christine Desan is Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law at Harvard University and cofounder of the Program on the Study of Capitalism. She is the author of Making Money: Coin, Currency, and the Coming of Capitalism (2014).

Panelists

Bethany Moreton

 

 

 

Bethany Moreton, Professor of History, Dartmouth College

 

 

Michael Ralph

 

 

 

Michael Ralph, Associate Professor, Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University

 

 

 

 

 

Seth E. Rockman, Associate Professor of History, Brown University

 

More About American Capitalism: New Histories

“Sven Beckert and Christine Desan are leaders in the burgeoning history of capitalism field, and they have put together a volume of outstanding scholars whose essays, in their chronological reach and subject matter, show this new literature at its best. A very fine and promising collection.” — Steven Hahn, New York University

“This stunning volume not only captures the most vibrant, challenging work in the history of capitalism, but also distills the central themes and defining contributions of the field. The essays speak to all historians, not just those working in the history of capitalism. A must read.” — Laura F. Edwards, Duke University

“American Capitalism represents the coming of age of a field of historical research. Rarely, in any field, has one volume featured the work of so many talented and accomplished historians. Each chapter breaks fresh ground and proposes new lines of inquiry. The editors have assembled a landmark and agenda-setting book that no student of economic life in the United States can afford to ignore.” — Jonathan Levy, University of Chicago

“From the creditor constitution to the market for slave clothing to early American mercantilist thinking, this deftly curated book samples some of the best work that the history of capitalism literature has to offer. Readers interested in new and provocative explorations of the politics, law, and culture enmeshed in American economic institutions need look no further.” — Suresh Naidu, Columbia University

“Few historical subfields are more important and timely than the critical history of capitalism. In this volume, Sven Beckert and Christine Desan have assembled cutting-edge work on topics as diverse as slavery, credit, insurance and risk, financial crises, race, gender, agriculture, and law and regulation. These essays combine chronological breadth, analytical depth, and geographic scope, linking the micro and macro, the local and the global. Essential reading.” — Thomas J. Sugrue, New York University

Book Talk: Law and the Wealth of Nations: Finance, Prosperity, and Democracy, Friday, January 26th, at noon.

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion for Law and the Wealth of Nations: Finance, Prosperity, and Democracy (Columbia Univ. Press, Oct. 2017), in memory of author Tamara Lothian. Commentary will be provided by Duncan Kennedy, Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence, Emeritus, Harvard Law School; Mark Barenberg, Isador and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law, Columbia University School of Law; Christine A. Desan, Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law, Harvard Law School; Robert C. Hockett, Edward Cornell Professor of Law, Cornell Law School; and Sanjay G. Reddy, Associate Professor of Economics, The New School for Social Research.

Lothian poster

 

Friday, January 26, 2018 at noon, with lunch
Harvard Law School WCC Milstein West B (directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA

About Law and the Wealth of Nations: Finance, Prosperity, and Democracy

“Economic stagnation, financial crisis, and increasing inequality have provoked worldwide debate about the reshaping of the market economy. But few are willing to risk a reorientation of dominant ideas and a reform of entrenched structures. Right-wing populism has stepped into the void created by a failure to imagine structural alternatives. Tamara Lothian offers a deeper view showing the path to the reconstruction of the economy in the service of both growth and inclusion. She probes the institutional innovations that would reignite economic growth by democratizing the market. Progressives have traditionally focused only on the demand side of the economy, abandoning the supply side to conservatives. Law and the Wealth of Nations offers a progressive approach to the supply side of the economy and proposes innovation in our fundamental economic arrangements.

Lothian begins by exploring how finance can serve broad-based economic growth rather than serving only itself. She goes on to show how the reform of finance can lead into the democratization of the economy. How, she asks, can we ensure that the most advanced, knowledge-intensive practices of production spread throughout the economy rather than remaining in the hands of the entrepreneurial and technological elite? How can we anchor greater economic equality and empowerment in the way we organize the economy rather than just trying to diminish inequalities after the fact by progressive taxation and entitlements? How can we revise legal thought and economic theory to develop the intellectual equipment that these tasks require? Law and the Wealth of Nations will appeal to all who are searching for ways to think practically about change in our economic and political institutions.” — Columbia University Press

About Tamara Lothian

Tamara Lothian (1958-2016) wrote and taught widely in law and political economy after an early career in international finance. She was a Principal with International Strategies Group, a Boston-based consultancy, Lecturer in law at Columbia Law School, and Research Fellow and Visiting Professor of Law at Fundacao Getulio Vargas, in Rio de Janeiro Brazil. She spent the first part of her career in international finance, and the second part in academic work and advisory work for governments and financial firms. The central theme of her recent academic work has been the development of ideas about finance and financial reform, in the US and in the global economy. A companion volume to Law and the Wealth of Nations titled Finance and Democracy in America, is forthcoming from Columbia University Press.

Panelists

Duncan Kennedy

 

 

Duncan Kennedy, Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence, Emeritus, Harvard Law School

 

 

Mark Barenberg

 

 

Mark Barenberg, Isador and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law, Columbia University School of Law

 

Christine Desan

 

 

Christine A. Desan, Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

 

 

Robert Hockett

 

 

Robert C. Hockett, Edward Cornell Professor of Law, Cornell Law School

 

 

Sanjay Reddy

 

 

 

Sanjay G. Reddy, Associate Professor of Economics, The New School for Social Research

 

More About Law and the Wealth of Nations: Finance, Prosperity, and Democracy

“Tamara Lothian’s fascinating, bold, and provocative analysis of finance and economic democracy will inspire a new generation of reformers and scholars. Lothian brilliantly combines the perspectives of a legal scholar, financial expert, experienced financier, social theorist, and progressive visionary to chart a new direction for the twenty-first century economy.” — Jeffrey D. Sachs, Columbia University

Law and the Wealth of Nations presents a way of thinking, a method, for putting finance in the service of economic innovation, and economic innovation in the service of a renewed democracy. For progressives who sense that redistribution is a necessary but insufficient component of sustainable reform and who wonder how to connect small, feasible changes to the thoroughgoing transformation of politics and the economy that is the order of the day, there is no more timely and welcome book.” — Charles Sabel, Columbia University

“The question that motivates the book—how can finance serve production, innovation, and democracy, instead of acting as a constraint on them?—opens into a much larger discussion of the contemporary challenges faced by our economies and societies. This is a significant contribution to the central debates of our time, laying out a bold vision of finance and, more broadly, of an inclusive, democratic market economy.” — Dani Rodrik, Harvard University

“Reviving our productive and political arrangements begins with reimagining our legal and financial arrangements. No one has thought with more care, imagination, or ground-level knowledge about how to make finance more useful and less harmful than Tamara Lothian. And no one has done more to show how reforming finance can initiate a democratizing reconstruction of the market economy. This book brings Tamara Lothian’s visionary yet disciplined writing, long admired by specialists, to the broader audience to which it ultimately speaks.” — Robert C. Hockett, Cornell University

“In this striking and innovative work, Tamara Lothian shows how a revised practice of legal and economic thought can provide us with the ideas we need to think beyond the narrow limits of contemporary politics and policy in dealing with financial crisis and economic stagnation. Her writing exemplifies what so much of contemporary discourse lacks: structural vision, informed by historical understanding, disciplined by technical knowledge, and open to the imagination of new ways to democratize the market and deepen democracy. She offers insight and inspires hope.” — Sanjay G. Reddy, The New School for Social Research

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

Panelists

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

Moderator

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

 

 

Panelists

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

 

 

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

Panelists

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.

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

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