Book Talks • 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

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

 

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

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

 

 

Book Talk: The Indian Legal Profession in the Age of Globalization, Thur. Sept. 28, at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of The Indian Legal Profession in the Age of Globalization: The Rise of the Corporate Legal Sector and its Impact on Lawyers and Society (Cambridge Univ. Press, May, 2017) edited by David B. Wilkins, Vikramaditya S. Khanna, and David M. Trubek. Copies of The Indian Legal Profession in the Age of Globalization will be available for sale and Professors Wilkins and Khanna will be available for signing books at the end of the talk.  This talk is co-sponsored with the Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession and the Harvard University South Asia Institute.

Thursday, September 28, 2017 at noon, with lunch
Harvard Law School Room WCC 2036 Milstein East A/B (Campus Map & Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge

About The Indian Legal Profession in the Age of Globalization

“This book provides the first comprehensive analysis of the impact of globalization on the Indian legal profession. Employing a range of original data from twenty empirical studies, the book details the emergence of a new corporate legal sector in India including large and sophisticated law firms and in-house legal departments, as well as legal process outsourcing companies. As the book’s authors document, this new corporate legal sector is reshaping other parts of the Indian legal profession, including legal education, the development of pro bono and corporate social responsibility, the regulation of legal services, and gender, communal, and professional hierarchies with the bar. Taken as a whole, the book will be of interest to academics, lawyers, and policymakers interested in the critical role that a rapidly globalizing legal profession is playing in the legal, political, and economic development of important emerging economies like India, and how these countries are integrating into the institutions of global governance and the overall global market for legal services.” — Cambridge University Press

Panelists

David Wilkins

 

David B. Wilkins
Lester Kissel Professor of Law, Faculty Director of the Center on the Legal Profession, Vice Dean for Global Initiatives on the Legal Profession, Harvard Law School. He is also a Senior Research Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a Fellow of the Harvard University Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics.

 

Vikramaditya Khanna

 

Vikramaditya S. Khanna
William W. Cook Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School, Faculty Director of the Directors’ College for Global Business and Law, and co-director of the Joint Center for Global Corporate and Financial Law and Policy, at the University of Michigan Law School

 

Commentator

Tarun Khanna

 

 

Tarun Khanna
Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School; Director, South Asia Institute, Harvard University

Book Talk: Law, Religion, and Health in the United States, Wed. Sept. 27, at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of Law, Religion, and Health in the United States (Cambridge Univ. Press, June 30, 2017) edited by Holly Fernandez Lynch, I. Glenn Cohen, and Elizabeth Sepper.  Copies of Law, Religion, and Health in the United States will be available for sale and Professors Cohen and Sepper will be available for signing books at the end of the talk.  This talk is co-sponsored with The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School.

Poster for Law, Religion, and Health book talk

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 at noon, with lunch

Harvard Law School Room WCC 2019 Milstein West A (Map & Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge

About Law, Religion, and Health in the United States

“While the law can create conflict between religion and health, it can also facilitate religious accommodation and protection of conscience. Finding this balance is critical to addressing the most pressing questions at the intersection of law, religion, and health in the United States: should physicians be required to disclose their religious beliefs to patients? How should we think about institutional conscience in the health care setting? How should health care providers deal with families with religious objections to withdrawing treatment? In this timely book, experts from a variety of perspectives and disciplines offer insight on these and other pressing questions, describing what the public discourse gets right and wrong, how policymakers might respond, and what potential conflicts may arise in the future. It should be read by academics, policymakers, and anyone else – patient or physician, secular or devout – interested in how US law interacts with health care and religion.” — Cambridge University Press

Panelists

Glenn Cohen

 

 

 

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

 

Diane L. Moore

 

 

 

Diane L. Moore
Director of the Religious Literacy Project, Lecturer on Religion, Conflict, and Peace, and Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard Divinity School

 

Elizabeth Sepper

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth Sepper (co-editor)
Professor of Law, Washington University School of Law)

 

Moderator

Intisar A. Rabb

 

 

 

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

 

More About Law, Religion, and Health in the United States

‘Health care – in particular, care related to sexuality and procreation – has become the epicenter of the struggle to define religious liberty in America. From insurance mandates to professional autonomy, from refusing reproductive care to ‘treating’ homosexuality, and from defining life to defining death, Law, Religion, and Health in the United States is essential reading.’ — R. Alta Charo, Sheldon B. Lubar Distinguished Research Chair and Warren P. Knowles Professor of Law and Bioethics, University of Wisconsin, Madison

‘This timely volume addresses a wide array of deep religious, ethical, legal, and technological quandaries that swirl around the increasingly complex world of health care in the United States. Bringing together top scholars from divergent disciplines and perspectives, this book will be essential reading for those who wrestle with power over life and death in a divided country where there are no one-size-fits-all answers.’ — Sarah Barringer Gordon, Arlin M. Adams Professor of Constitutional Law and Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania

Book Talk: James Forman, Jr., Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America, Thursday, Apr. 13 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of James Forman, Jr.’s recently published book titled Locking Up Our Own:  Crime and Punishment in Black America (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Apr. 18, 2017).  James Forman, Jr. is a Professor of Law at Yale Law School. Copies of Locking Up Our Own will be available for sale and Professor Forman will be available for signing books at the end of the talk.  This talk is co-sponsored by The Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School and by the Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management, Harvard Kennedy School.

Thursday, April 13, 2017 at noon, with lunch
Harvard Law School WCC 2019 Milstein West A/B  (Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge

Locking Up Our Own poster

 

About James Forman, Jr.

James Forman Jr. is a Professor of Law at Yale Law School. He is a graduate of Atlanta’s Roosevelt High School, Brown University, and Yale Law School, and was a law clerk for Judge William Norris of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor of the United States Supreme Court.

After clerking, he joined the Public Defender Service in Washington, D.C., where for six years he represented both juveniles and adults charged with crimes.

During his time as a public defender, Professor Forman became frustrated with the lack of education and job training opportunities for his clients. So in 1997, along with David Domenici, he started the Maya Angelou Public Charter School, an alternative school for school dropouts and youth who had previously been arrested. A decade later, in 2007, Maya Angelou School expanded and agreed to run the school inside D.C.’s juvenile prison. That school, which had long been an abysmal failure, has been transformed under the leadership of the Maya Angelou staff; the court monitor overseeing D.C.’s juvenile system called the turnaround “extraordinary.”

Professor Forman taught at Georgetown Law from 2003 to 2011, when he joined the Yale faculty. At Yale, he teaches Constitutional Law, a seminar on Race and the Criminal Justice System, and a clinic called the Educational Opportunity and Juvenile Justice Clinic. In the clinic, Professor Forman and his students represent young people facing expulsion from school for discipline violations, and they work to keep their clients in school and on track towards graduation.

Professor Forman teaches and writes in the areas of criminal procedure and criminal law policy, constitutional law, juvenile justice, and education law and policy. His particular interests are schools, prisons, and police, and those institutions’ race and class dimensions.

More About Locking Up Our Own:  Crime and Punishment in Black America

“In recent years, America’s criminal justice system has become the subject of an increasingly urgent debate. Critics have assailed the rise of mass incarceration, emphasizing its disproportionate impact on people of color. As James Forman, Jr., points out, however, the war on crime that began in the 1970s was supported by many African American leaders in the nation’s urban centers. In Locking Up Our Own, he seeks to understand why.

Forman shows us that the first substantial cohort of black mayors, judges, and police chiefs took office amid a surge in crime and drug addiction. Many prominent black officials, including Washington, D.C. mayor Marion Barry and federal prosecutor Eric Holder, feared that the gains of the civil rights movement were being undermined by lawlessness—and thus embraced tough-on-crime measures, including longer sentences and aggressive police tactics. In the face of skyrocketing murder rates and the proliferation of open-air drug markets, they believed they had no choice. But the policies they adopted would have devastating consequences for residents of poor black neighborhoods.

A former D.C. public defender, Forman tells riveting stories of politicians, community activists, police officers, defendants, and crime victims. He writes with compassion about individuals trapped in terrible dilemmas—from the men and women he represented in court to officials struggling to respond to a public safety emergency. Locking Up Our Own enriches our understanding of why our society became so punitive and offers important lessons to anyone concerned about the future of race and the criminal justice system in this country.” — Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Panelists

Ronald Sullivan, Jr.

 

 

 

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

 
Bruce Western

 

Bruce Western, Director of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy Guggenheim Professor of Criminal Justice Policy & Professor of Sociology, Harvard University

 

 

Reviews of Locking Up Our Own
Locking Up Our Own is a pathbreaking examination of the ways that, over the past half century, African American policymakers, social justice activists, jurists, prosecutors, police officials, and ordinary folk have thought about and grappled with the administration of criminal justice. It is vivid, accessible, and full of illuminating insights. It is a brilliant distillation of deep research, disciplined thoughtfulness, and moral passion. In ongoing discussions about crime and justice in America, particularly its racial dimensions, no book will be more essential than Locking Up Our Own.” — Randall Kennedy, Michael R. Klein Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and author of For Discrimination and Race, Crime, and the Law

“The big spring book to argue about . . . Forman can catalogue more dysfunctional systems at close range than The Wire did.” — Boris Kachka, Vulture

“A sharp analysis . . . Forman shows how our nation has gotten to the point where so many citizens—primarily blacks—are imprisoned . . . Writing with authority and compassion, the author tells many vivid stories of the human toll taken by harsh criminal justice policies. He also asks provocative questions . . . Certain to stir debate, this book offers an important new perspective on the ongoing proliferation of America’s ‘punishment binge.'” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“James Forman Jr. masterfully explores why so many African Americans supported tough criminal laws over the past fifty years, and why, more recently, their attitudes began to shift. Combining dramatic stories from his work as a public defender with original historical research, Forman uncovers mass incarceration’s hidden history while documenting its human cost. Beautifully written, powerfully argued, and, most of all, deeply empathetic, Locking Up Our Own should be read by everybody who cares about race and justice in America.” Van Jones, author of The Green-Collar Economy and Rebuild the Dream

“An absolutely essential read for anyone who wants to understand the politics of crime, race, and incarceration.”— Chris Hayes, host of All In with Chris Hayes and author of A Colony in a Nation

Locking Up Our Own is an engaging, insightful, and provocative reexamination of over-incarceration in the black community. James Forman Jr. carefully exposes the complexities of crime, criminal justice, and race. What he illuminates should not be ignored.” — Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative

“James Forman Jr.’s frank and necessary history rings with the authentic voices of black Americans. By paying close attention to local conditions, he shows how well-meaning reforms snowballed into steadily harsher criminal justice policies in Washington, D.C. This is a very valuable and fascinating book—highly readable, engaging, and resolutely accurate about the urban realities it depicts. I recognized this world.” — Jill Leovy, author of Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America

“Forman’s compassionate narrative interweaves the complexities of racial and class dynamics, especially in how African-American political officials, police chiefs, judges and prosecutors came to support the punitive policies that now ravage poor communities of color more than anyone else . . . [Locking Up Our Own] should become required reading for students, citizens, activists and policy reformers interested in excavating how our system of hyper-incarceration was constructed incrementally over decades.” — Alex Mikulich, America

“James Forman Jr. tells the fascinating story of mass incarceration from the ground up. We see the heartbreaking stories of young people whose life prospects are diminished through tough-on-crime policies, the leaders in the black community whose limited choices led to support for harsh punishments, and the ways in which the legacy of racism still frames outcomes in the twenty-first century. Locking Up Our Own helps us to understand how the prison population exploded and what we need to do to create a more compassionate approach to crime and justice.” — Marc Mauer, Executive Director of The Sentencing Project and author of Race to Incarcerate

Book Talk: Gish Jen’s The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East-West Culture Gap, Wed., Mar. 29 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of Gish Jen’s recently published book titled The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East-West Culture Gap (Knopf, Feb. 28, 2017).

Copies of The Girl at the Baggage Claim will be available for sale and Gish Jen will be available for signing books at the end of the talk.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 at noon, with lunch


Harvard Law School WCC 2019 Milstein West A/B  (Directions)

1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge

The Girl at the Baggage Claim poste

More About Gish Jen

The author of six previous books, Jen has published short work in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and dozens of other periodicals and anthologies. Her work has appeared in The Best American Short Stories four times, including The Best American Short Stories of the Century, edited by John Updike.  Nominated for a National Book Critics’ Circle Award, her work was featured in a PBS American Masters’ special on the American novel, and is widely taught.

Jen is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  She has been awarded a Lannan Literary Award for Fiction, a Guggenheim fellowship, a Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study fellowship, and numerous other awards.  An American Academy of Arts and Letters jury comprised of John Updike, Cynthia Ozick, Don DeLillo, and Joyce Carol Oates granted her a five-year Mildred and Harold Strauss Living award; Jen delivered the William E. Massey, Sr. Lectures in the History of American Civilization at Harvard University in 2012. Her most recent book is The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East-West Culture Gap.

More About The Girl at the Baggage Claim

“A provocative and important study of the different ideas Easterners and Westerners have about the self and society and what this means for current debates in art, education, geopolitics, and business. Never have East and West come as close as they are today, yet we are still baffled by one another. Is our mantra “To thine own self be true”? Or do we believe we belong to something larger than ourselves—a family, a religion, a troop—that claims our first allegiance? Gish Jen—drawing on a treasure trove of stories and personal anecdotes, as well as cutting-edge research in cultural psychology—reveals how this difference shapes what we perceive and remember, what we say and do and make—how it shapes everything from our ideas about copying and talking in class to the difference between Apple and Alibaba. As engaging as it is illuminating, this is a book that stands to profoundly enrich our understanding of ourselves and of our world.” — Alfred A. Knopf, Penguin Random House

Panelists

Joseph W. Singer

 

 

 

 Joseph W. Singer, Bussey Professor of Law

 

Mark Wu

 

 

 

Mark Wu, Assistant Professor of Law

 

Yvonne Hao

 

 

 

Yvonne Hao, COO and CFO, PillPack

 

Reviews of The Girl at the Baggage Claim

“Gish Jen turns her novelist’s eye to the exploration of the centuries-old enigma of why people in the East and the West see themselves, others, society, and culture so differently…[As Trump] butts heads with China, it behooves us to consider just how shallow is our understanding of China…[making] this book both timely and extremely important.” –  Washington Post

“VERDICT: An excellent and engaging read, sure to appeal to readers interested in cross-cultural communication, cognitive science, and the experiences of Asian Americans in the United States” – Library Journal

“[Jen] unpacks tough subjects, such as racism and prejudice in America, with sophisticated insight [and] articulates the complexities of culture with a novelist’s command of language.” –  Publishers Weekly

Book Talk: Alexandra Lahav’s In Praise of Litigation, Mon., Mar. 27 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of Alexandra Lahav’s recently published book titled In Praise of Litigation (Oxford Univ. Press, Feb. 1, 2017).  Professor Lahav is the Ellen Ash Peters Professor of Law at the University of Connecticut School of Law.

Copies of In Praise of Litigation will be available for sale and Professor Lahav will be available for signing books at the end of the talk.

Monday, March 27, 2017 at noon, with lunch


Harvard Law School WCC 2019 Milstein West B  (Directions)


1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge

In Praise of Litigation poster

About Alexandra Lahav

Alexandra D. Lahav is an expert on civil procedure, complex litigation and mass torts. Her research primarily focuses on procedural justice and the limits of due process in class actions and aggregate litigation and on the role of litigation in American democracy. In recent articles she has explored the justifications for innovative procedures such as statistical sampling and bellwether trials in mass tort litigation, what role principles of equality should play in litigation, and how courts can better manage multi-jurisdictional litigation. Her work has been cited in Federal Appellate and District Court opinions, academic articles and treatises and she regularly presents to academics and practitioners. She is co-author of the fifth edition of the popular civil procedure casebook, Civil Procedure: Doctrine, Practice, and Context.  Her book defending the role of litigation in American democracy, In Praise of Litigation, will be published by Oxford University Press in early 2017.

Professor Lahav received her B.A. in history from Brown University and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School. She clerked for Justice Alan Handler of the New Jersey Supreme Court and practiced with a boutique civil rights firm in New York City, now called Emery, Celli, Brinckerhoff & Abady LLC. She was a teaching fellow at Stanford Law School before joining the UConn faculty in 2004 and has also taught at Columbia, Harvard and Yale.

More About In Praise of Litigation

While the right to have one’s day in court is a cherished feature of the American democratic system, alarms that the United States is hopelessly litigious and awash in frivolous claims have become so commonplace that they are now a fixture in the popular imagination. According to this view, litigation wastes precious resources, stifles innovation and productivity, and corrodes our social fabric and the national character. Calls for reform have sought, often successfully, to limit people’s access to the court system, most often by imposing technical barriers to bringing suit.

Alexandra Lahav’s In Praise of Litigation provides a much needed corrective to this flawed perspective, reminding us of the irreplaceable role of litigation in a well-functioning democracy and debunking many of the myths that cloud our understanding of this role. For example, the vast majority of lawsuits in the United States are based on contract claims, the median value of lawsuits is on a downward trend, and, on a per capita basis, many fewer lawsuits are filed today than were filed in the 19th century. Exploring cases involving freedom of speech, foodborne illness, defective cars, business competition, and more, the book shows that despite its inevitable limitations, litigation empowers citizens to challenge the most powerful public and private interests and hold them accountable for their actions.

Lawsuits change behavior, provide information to consumers and citizens, promote deliberation, and express society’s views on equality and its most treasured values. In Praise of Litigation shows how our court system protects our liberties and enables civil society to flourish, and serves as a powerful reminder of why we need to protect people’s ability to use it.

The tort reform movement has had some real successes in limiting what can reach the courts, but there have been victims too. As Alexandra Lahav shows, it has become increasingly difficult for ordinary people to enforce their rights. In the grand scale of lawsuits, actually crazy or bogus lawsuits constitute a tiny minority; in fact, most anecdotes turn out to be misrepresentations of what actually happened. In In Praise of Litigation, Lahav argues that critics are blinded to the many benefits of lawsuits. The majority of lawsuits promote equality before the law, transparency, and accountability. Our ability to go to court is a sign of our strength as a society and enables us to both participate in and reinforce the rule of law. In addition, joining lawsuits gives citizens direct access to governmental officials-judges-who can hear their arguments about issues central to our democracy, including the proper extent of police power and the ability of all people to vote. It is at least arguable that lawsuits have helped spur major social changes in arenas like race relations and marriage rights, as well as made products safer and forced wrongdoers to answer for their conduct.

In this defense, Lahav does not ignore the obvious drawbacks to litigiousness. It is expensive, stressful, and time consuming. Certainly, sensible reforms could make the system better. However, many of the proposals that have been adopted and are currently on the table seek only to solve problems that do not exist or to make it harder for citizens to defend their rights and to enforce the law. This is not the answer. In Praise of Litigation offers a level-headed and law-based assessment of the state of litigation in America as well as a number of practical steps that can be taken to ensure citizens have the right to defend themselves against wrongs while not odiously infringing on the rights of others.

Panelists

John C.P. Goldberg

 

 

 

Professor John C.P. Goldberg, Eli Goldston Professor of Law

 

Mark Tushnet

 

 

 

Professor Mark V. Tushnet, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law

 

Reviews of In Praise of Litigation

“In the face of the widespread popular perception that lawsuits are inimical to American society, law professor Lahav is persuasive in demonstrating that litigation ‘is a social good and promotes democracy,’ even if it is a far from perfect tool. Her contention is bolstered by her well-reasoned analyses that perfectly balance detail with brevity, making this work fully accessible to non-lawyers and readers unversed in the debates about access to justice and tort reform.” — Publishers Weekly

“In a culture where it has become fashionable to bash lawyers and the lawsuits they file, Alexandra Lahav reminds us, in forceful, engaging, and compelling prose, that litigation plays an essential role in our democracy. Her clear-eyed analysis engages the criticisms of litigation honestly and persuasively, and makes a powerful case for its role in a justice-seeking society.” – – David Cole, Professor, Georgetown Law, National Legal Director, ACLU, and author of Engines of Liberty

“An important contribution to the ongoing debate over the role of litigation in promoting a just society. Alexandra Lahav convincingly demonstrates how and why American style litigation-‘a form of political activity’-remains critical to our Nation’s future.” — Kenneth R. Feinberg, Former Special Master of the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund

“The central message of In Praise of Litigation is a powerful one: the benefits of lawsuits (and the harms from improperly restricting them) go far beyond the parties and their lawyers. The book is a tour de force in which Alexandra Lahav draws on a dazzling array of examples, from cases involving slaves seeking freedom in the 1850s to cases involving e. coli in fast-food hamburgers, and from little-noticed suits involving individuals to iconic Supreme Court decisions like Brown v. Board of Education, that stretch across both doctrinal boundaries and American history. Every law student and every lawyer should read In Praise of Litigation not just to understand more fully how litigation actually works today, but also to arm themselves better to defend equal access to the courts as a critical aspect of our democracy.” — Pamela S. Karlan, Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Professor of Public Interest Law and Co-Director, Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, Stanford Law School

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