Student Channel • Et. Seq: The Harvard Law School Library Blog

Faculty Book Talk: Comparative Capital Punishment, Carol S. Steiker & Jordan M. Steiker eds., Friday, February 14, at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of Comparative Capital Punishment edited by Carol S. Steiker & Jordan M. Steiker (Edward Elgar, Nov. 2019).

Friday, February 14, 2020, at noon, with lunch
Harvard Law School Milstein West B
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
No RSVP required

This book talk is co-sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library and by the East Asian Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School.

Poster for February 14th book talk for Carol Steiker and Jordan Steiker's Comparative Capital Punishment.

The book talk discussion will include:

Carol S. Steiker is the Henry J. Friendly Professor of Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Criminal Justice Policy Program at Harvard Law School.

Jordan M. Steiker is the Judge Robert M. Parker Endowed Chair in Law and Director of the Capital Punishment Center at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law.

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

Margaret Burnham is the University Distinguished Professor of Law and Director, Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project, Northeastern University School of Law.

Gerald Neuman is the J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign, and Comparative Law, and the Co-Director of the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School.

About Comparative Capital Punishment

“Comparative Capital Punishment offers a set of in-depth, critical and comparative contributions addressing death practices around the world. Despite the dramatic decline of the death penalty in the last half of the twentieth century, capital punishment remains in force in a substantial number of countries around the globe.

This research handbook explores both the forces behind the stunning recent rejection of the death penalty, as well as the changing shape of capital practices where it is retained. The expert contributors address the social, political, economic, and cultural influences on both retention and abolition of the death penalty and consider the distinctive possibilities and pathways to worldwide abolition.” — Edward Elgar Publishing

About Carol Steiker

Carol Steiker is the Henry J. Friendly Professor of Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Criminal Justice Policy Program at Harvard Law School. She specializes in the broad field of criminal justice, where her work ranges from substantive criminal law to criminal procedure to institutional design, with a special focus on issues related to capital punishment. Recent publications address topics such as the relationship of criminal justice scholarship to law reform, the role of mercy in the institutions of criminal justice, and the likelihood of nationwide abolition of capital punishment. Her most recent book, Courting Death: The Supreme Court and Capital Punishment, co-authored with her brother Jordan Steiker of the University of Texas School of Law, was published by Harvard University Press in November, 2016.

Professor Steiker is a graduate of Harvard Law School, where she served as president of the Harvard Law Review, the second woman to hold that position in its then 99-year history. After clerking for Judge J. Skelly Wright of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Thurgood Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court, she worked as a staff attorney for the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, where she represented indigent defendants at all stages of the criminal process. In addition to her scholarly work, Professor Steiker has worked on pro bono litigation projects on behalf of indigent criminal defendants, including death penalty cases in the U.S. Supreme Court. She also has served as a consultant and expert witness on issues of criminal justice for non-profit organizations and has testified before Congress and state legislatures.

About Jordan Steiker

Professor Steiker joined the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin School of Law in 1990 after serving as a law clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall of the United States Supreme Court. He teaches constitutional law, criminal law, and death penalty law, and is Director of the law school’s Capital Punishment Center. He has written extensively on constitutional law, federal habeas corpus, and the death penalty. Some of his recent publications include: Courting Death: The Supreme Court and Capital Punishment (Belknap/Harvard University Press, 2016, with Carol Steiker), winner of the Hamilton Book Award; The American Death Penalty and the (In)Visibility of Race, 82 U. Chi L. Rev 243 (2015) (with Carol Steiker); The Death Penalty from a Consequentialist Perspective, 47 Tex. Tech. L. Rev. 211 (2014). Along with his sister/co-author Professor Carol Steiker, he co-authored the report to the American Law Institute prompting the withdrawal of the death penalty provisions of the Model Penal Code. He has served as a visiting professor to Harvard Law School several times, most recently as the Touroff-Glueck Visiting Professor of Law and Psychiatry, Fall, 2018.

Faculty Book Talk: Cass Sunstein’s The World According to Star Wars, Revised Edition, Wednesday, February 12, at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of a recently revised and updated edition of The World According to Star Wars by Cass R. Sunstein (Dey Street Books, Oct. 29, 2019).

Wednesday, February 12, 2020, at noon, with lunch
Harvard Law School Milstein West A/B

1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
No RSVP required

Poster for The World According to Star Wars, Revised Edition by Cass R. Sunstein, book talk on February 12, 2020

About The World According to Star Wars

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

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

About Cass R. Sunstein

Cass R. Sunstein is the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard University, where he is founder and director of the Program on Behavioral Economics and Public Policy. He has served as Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and as a member of the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies. He is the winner of the 2018 Holberg Prize. His many books include the bestseller Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness (with Richard H. Thaler), Simpler: The Future of Government, and Republic.com.

More About The World According to Star Wars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Smart and interesting.” — Kirkus Reviews

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

Faculty Book Talk: When Misfortune Becomes Injustice: Evolving Human Rights Struggles for Health and Social Equality, Friday, February 7, at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of When Misfortune Becomes Injustice: Evolving Human Rights Struggles for Health and Social Equality by Alicia Ely Yamin (Stanford Univ. Press, Feb. 2020).

Friday, February 7, 2020, at noon, with lunch
Harvard Law School Milstein East B/C
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
No RSVP required

This talk is co-sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library and by the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School.

Poster for Friday, February 7th book talk at noon in Milstein East B/C for When Misfortune Becomes Injustice: Evolving Human Rights Struggles for Health and Social Equality.

Professor Yamin will be joined by commentators:

Sue J. Goldie is the Roger Irving Lee Professor of Public Health and Director of the Center for Health Decision Science, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Director of the Global Health Education and Learning Incubator at Harvard University.

Michael Ashley Stein is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Harvard Law School Project on Disability, and Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School.

Katharine Young is an Associate Professor at Boston College Law School.

About When Misfortune Becomes Injustice: Evolving Human Rights Struggles for Health and Social Equality

“When Misfortune Becomes Injustice surveys the progress and challenges faced in deploying human rights to advance health and social equality over the last thirty years, with a particular focus on women’s health and sexual and reproductive health and rights. Alicia Ely Yamin weaves together firsthand experience as an academic, practitioner, and advocate, with arguments drawn from law, public health, economics and democratic theory, to explore how evolving international and national legal norms, the advent of medical and technological discoveries, and economic policies have interacted in the realization of health-related rights.

When Misfortune Becomes Injustice tells a story of extraordinary progress with respect to health-related rights over the last few decades, in both conceptual frameworks and diverse people’s lived realities. However, Yamin shows that over these same years economic reforms at global and national levels, shrank the political space necessary to realize a robust agenda in health and other social rights. In the face of ballooning inequality, a loss of confidence in democratic institutions and multilateralism, and existential threats posed by climate change today, Yamin proposes a re-energized human rights praxis to promote health, gender equality and social justice.” — Stanford University Press

About Alicia Ely Yamin

Alicia Ely Yamin is a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School and has spent half of her professional career working outside the United States, with and through local organizations. She currently leads the Global Health and Rights Project, a collaboration of the Petrie-Flom Center on Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics at Harvard Law School and the Global Health Education and Learning Incubator at Harvard University. Yamin is known globally for her pioneering scholarship and advocacy in relation to economic and social rights, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and the right to health.

Faculty Book Talk: Mastering Money: How to Beat Debt, Build Wealth, and Be Prepared for any Financial Crisis, Wednesday, February 5, at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of Mastering Money: How to Beat Debt, Build Wealth, and Be Prepared for any Financial Crisis by Norm Champ (McGraw-Hill Educ., Nov. 5, 2019).

Wednesday, February 5, 2020, at noon, with lunch
Harvard Law School Milstein East A/B
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
No RSVP required

Poster for Mastering Money: How to Beat Debt, Build Wealth, and Be Prepared for any Financial Crisis by Norm Champ

Norm Champ is a partner in the New York office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, where he heads up the regulatory solutions practice in the Investment Funds Group. Previously, Norm was the director of the Division of Investment Management at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Prior to that he was the Deputy Director of the SEC’s Office of Compliance, Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) and the Associate Regional Director for Examinations in the SEC’s New York Regional Office. In these capacities he supervised SEC examinations of investment advisers and other market participants. Champ regularly teaches an investment management course at Harvard Law School.

About Mastering Money: How to Beat Debt, Build Wealth, and Be Prepared for any Financial Crisis

“Norm Champ, a former director at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), provides an in-depth primer on how money works, designed just for you―the non-finance reader. Champ shows how to:

• Pay off your loans and stay out of debt for the long run

• Build savings that will see you through thick and thin

• Avoid financial disaster―from bad credit deals to outright scams

• Start building a safe, smart investing portfolio

Our financial system is easier to grasp than you think―and armed with this new knowledge and insight, you’ll finally take control of your financial future.

When you know how money works, you make better financial decisions. It’s that simple. Mastering Money demystifies finance and provides plainspoken, straightforward advice for building a solid financial foundation you can count on in good times and bad.” — McGraw-Hill Education

Faculty Book Talk: Felony and the Guilty Mind in Medieval England, Wednesday, November 13, at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of Felony and the Guilty Mind in Medieval England by Elizabeth Papp Kamali (Cambridge Univ. Press, Oct. 31, 2019).

Wednesday, November 13, 2019, at noon
Harvard Law School Milstein East B/C
(Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
No RSVP required

This book talk is co-sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library, The Program in Law and History, and The Standing Committee on Medieval Studies.

Elizabeth Papp Kamali is Assistant Professor of Law, Harvard Law. She will be joined in discussion with commentators:

Charles Donahue, Jr., Paul A. Freund Professor Law, Harvard Law School.

Intisar A. Rabb, Professor of Law, a Professor of History, and the faculty director of the Program in Islamic Law at Harvard Law School

Nicholas Watson, Henry B. and Anne M. Cabot Professor of English Literature, Harvard University.

About Felony and the Guilty Mind in Medieval England

“This book explores the role of mens rea, broadly defined as a factor in jury assessments of guilt and innocence from the early thirteenth through the fourteenth century – the first two centuries of the English criminal trial jury. Drawing upon evidence from the plea rolls, but also relying heavily upon non-legal textual sources such as popular literature and guides for confessors, Elizabeth Papp Kamali argues that issues of mind were central to jurors’ determinations of whether a particular defendant should be convicted, pardoned, or acquitted outright. Demonstrating that the word ‘felony’ itself connoted a guilty state of mind, she explores the interplay between social conceptions of guilt and innocence and jury behavior. Furthermore, she reveals a medieval understanding of felony that involved, in its paradigmatic form, three essential elements: an act that was reasoned, was willed in a way not constrained by necessity, and was evil or wicked in its essence.” — Cambridge University Press

About Elizabeth Papp Kamali

Elizabeth Papp Kamali

Elizabeth Papp Kamali is an Assistant Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, where she teaches criminal law and English legal history. Professor Kamali’s research focuses on the medieval English common law and the history of criminal law, with a particular interest in the early criminal trial jury. Her current projects include studies of the role of criminal intent in thirteenth- and fourteenth-century English felony cases, medieval understandings of anger’s operation in felony adjudication, conflict between urban customary law and the English common law in the early fourteenth century, and the influence of Roman law on the early development of the common law.




Faculty Book Talk: Goldberg and Smith, Equity and Law: Fusion and Fission, Tuesday, November 5, at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of Equity and Law: Fusion and Fission, edited by John C.P. Goldberg, Henry E. Smith & Peter G. Turner (Cambridge Univ. Press, Oct. 31, 2019).

Tuesday, November 5, 2019, at noon
Harvard Law School Milstein East B/C
(Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
No RSVP required

Poster with image of book cover for Equity and Law: Fusion and Fission
John C.P. Goldberg

John C.P. Goldberg is Deputy Dean and Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence, Harvard Law School.

Henry E. Smith

Henry Smith is the Fessenden Professor of Law and Director, Project on the Foundations of Private Law, Harvard Law School.

About Equity and Law: Fusion and Fission

“The fusion of law and equity in common law systems was a crucial moment in the development of the modern law. Common law and equity were historically the two principal sources of rules and remedies in the judge-made law of England, and this bifurcated system travelled to other countries whose legal systems were derived from the English legal system. The division of law and equity – their fission – was a pivotal legal development and is a feature of most common law systems. The fusion of the common law and equity has brought about major structural, institutional and juridical changes within the common law tradition. In this volume, leading scholars undertake historical, comparative, doctrinal and theoretical analysis that aims to shed light on the ways in which law and equity have fused, and the ways in which they have remained distinct even in a ‘post-fusion’ world.” — Cambridge Univ. Press

Faculty Book Talk: In Hoffa’s Shadow: A Stepfather, a Disappearance in Detroit, and My Search for the Truth, Wednesday, October 30th at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of In Hoffa’s Shadow: A Stepfather, a Disappearance in Detroit, and My Search for the Truth by Jack Goldsmith (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Sept. 24, 2019).

Wednesday, October 30, 2019, at noon
Harvard Law School Milstein East B/C
(Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
No RSVP required

Poster for Jack Goldsmith's book talk, In Hoffa's Shadow with book cover and photograph of Jack Goldsmith.

About In Hoffa’s Shadow: A Stepfather, a Disappearance in Detroit, and My Search for the Truth

“As a young man, Jack Goldsmith revered his stepfather, longtime Jimmy Hoffa associate Chuckie O’Brien. But as he grew older and pursued a career in law and government, he came to doubt and distance himself from the man long suspected by the FBI of perpetrating Hoffa’s disappearance on behalf of the mob. It was only years later, when Goldsmith was serving as assistant attorney general in the George W. Bush administration and questioning its misuse of surveillance and other powers, that he began to reconsider his stepfather, and to understand Hoffa’s true legacy. In Hoffa’s Shadow tells the moving story of how Goldsmith reunited with the stepfather he’d disowned and then set out to unravel one of the twentieth century’s most persistent mysteries and Chuckie’s role in it. Along the way, Goldsmith explores Hoffa’s rise and fall and why the golden age of blue-collar America came to an end, while also casting new light on the century-old surveillance state, the architects of Hoffa’s disappearance, and the heartrending complexities of love and loyalty.” — Farrar, Straus and Giroux

About Jack Goldsmith

Jack Goldsmith is Henry L. Shattuck Professor of Law at Harvard University. He is the author, most recently, of The Terror Presidency: Law and Judgment Inside The Bush Administration (W.W. Norton 2007), as well as of other books and articles on many topics related to terrorism, national security, international law, conflicts of law, and internet law. Before coming to Harvard, Goldsmith served as Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel, from October 2003 through July 2004, and Special Counsel to the General Counsel to the Department of Defense from September 2002 through June 2003. Goldsmith taught at the University of Chicago Law School from 1997-2002, and at the University of Virginia Law School from 1994-1997. He holds a J.D. from Yale Law School, a B.A. and M.A. from Oxford University, and a B.A. from Washington & Lee University. He clerked for Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Court of Appeals Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson, and Judge George Aldrich on the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal.

Recent Reviews

“This is an incredible story, plainly rebutting the clear understanding of many that Charles O’Brien drove Jimmy Hoffa to his death, and offering a profoundly beautiful recognition of the nature of paternal love. This book will make you weep, repeatedly, for the injustice, and for the love.” —Lawrence Lessig, Harvard Law School Professor and author of They Don’t Represent Us and Republic, Lost

In Hoffa’s Shadow is a masterpiece and a page-turner—I couldn’t put it down. Brilliant, suspenseful, and deeply moving, it offers a personal view of one of the greatest unsolved crimes in American history. At the same time, it offers startling insights into organized crime, the labor movement, and the surprising origins of today’s surveillance state. Beautifully written and full of unexpected turns, this book is gripping and revelatory from start to finish.” —Amy Chua, Law School Professor and author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations

“A thrilling, unputdownable story that takes on big subjects—injustice, love, loss, truth, power, murder—and addresses them in sentences of beauty and clarity informed by deep thought and feeling. Goldsmith, one of the finest minds of his generation, has told an insane tale with a storyteller’s flair. This is one of the best works of autobiography that I’ve read in a very, very long time.” —Bill Buford, former fiction editor of The New Yorker and author of Heat and Among the Thugs

Faculty Book Talk: Taiwan and International Human Rights: A Story of Transformation, Tuesday, October 8th at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of Taiwan and International Human Rights: A Story of Transformation, edited by Jerome A. Cohen, William P. Alford & Dr. Chang-fa Lo (Springer, June 8, 2019).

Tuesday, October 8, 2019, at noon
Harvard Law School Milstein East A/B
(Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
No RSVP required

This book talk is co-sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library and East Asian Legal Studies at Harvard Law School.

The book talk discussion will include:



Jerome A. Cohen
, Professor, NYU School of Law and Faculty Director, NYU U.S.-Asia Law Institute.


Dr. Chang-fa Lo

Dr. Chang-fa Lo, former Grand Justice of the Constitutional Court of the ROC (Taiwan) and former Dean, National Taiwan University Law School.


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

Commentators:

Steven Goldstein, Sophia Smith Professor of Government, Emeritus, Smith College and Fellow, Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies.

Dr. Yu-Jie Chen, Academia Sinica (Taiwan).

Dan Zhou, LL.M. ’16 and SJD candidate, Harvard Law School.

About Taiwan and International Human Rights: A Story of Transformation

“This book tells a story of Taiwan’s transformation from an authoritarian regime to a democratic system where human rights are protected as required by international human rights treaties. There were difficult times for human rights protection during the martial law era; however, there has also been remarkable transformation progress in human rights protection thereafter. The book reflects the transformation in Taiwan and elaborates whether or not it is facilitated or hampered by its Confucian tradition. There are a number of institutional arrangements, including the Constitutional Court, the Control Yuan, and the yet-to-be-created National Human Rights Commission, which could play or have already played certain key roles in human rights protections. Taiwan’s voluntarily acceptance of human rights treaties through its implementation legislation and through the Constitutional Court’s introduction of such treaties into its constitutional interpretation are also fully expounded in the book. Taiwan’s NGOs are very active and have played critical roles in enhancing human rights practices. In the areas of civil and political rights, difficult human rights issues concerning the death penalty remain unresolved. But regarding the rights and freedoms in the spheres of personal liberty, expression, privacy, and fair trial (including lay participation in criminal trials), there are in-depth discussions on the respective developments in Taiwan that readers will find interesting. In the areas of economic, social, and cultural rights, the focuses of the book are on the achievements as well as the problems in the realization of the rights to health, a clean environment, adequate housing, and food. The protections of vulnerable groups, including indigenous people, women, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) individuals, the disabled, and foreigners in Taiwan, are also the areas where Taiwan has made recognizable achievements, but still encounters problems. The comprehensive coverage of this book should be able to give readers a well-rounded picture of Taiwan’s human rights performance. Readers will find appealing the story of the effort to achieve high standards of human rights protection in a jurisdiction barred from joining international human rights conventions.” — Springer

Read more…


Faculty Book Talk: Levinson and Balkin, Democracy and Dysfunction, Thursday, October 3rd at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of Democracy and Dysfunction by Sanford Levinson and Jack M. Balkin (Univ. Chicago Press, Apr. 2019).

Thursday, October 3, 2019, at noon
Harvard Law School Milstein East B
(Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
No RSVP required

The book talk discussion will include:

Sanford Levinson


Sanford Levinson
is Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair in Law, University of Texas Law School.

Jack M. Balkin is the Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment, Yale Law School.

Commentators:

Jennifer L. Hochschild is the H.L. Jayne Professor of Government, Professor of African and African American Studies, and Harvard College Professor, Harvard University.

Steven Levitsky is Professor of Government, Harvard University.

About Democracy and Dysfunction

“It is no longer controversial that the American political system has become deeply dysfunctional. Today, only slightly more than a quarter of Americans believe the country is heading in the right direction, while sixty-three percent believe we are on a downward slope. The top twenty words used to describe the past year include “chaotic,” “turbulent,” and “disastrous.” Donald Trump’s improbable rise to power and his 2016 Electoral College victory placed America’s political dysfunction in an especially troubling light, but given the extreme polarization of contemporary politics, the outlook would have been grim even if Hillary Clinton had won. The greatest upset in American presidential history is only a symptom of deeper problems of political culture and constitutional design.

Democracy and Dysfunction brings together two of the leading constitutional law scholars of our time, Sanford Levinson and Jack M. Balkin, in an urgently needed conversation that seeks to uncover the underlying causes of our current crisis and their meaning for American democracy. In a series of letters exchanged over a period of two years, Levinson and Balkin travel—along with the rest of the country—through the convulsions of the 2016 election and Trump’s first year in office. They disagree about the scope of the crisis and the remedy required. Levinson believes that our Constitution is fundamentally defective and argues for a new constitutional convention, while Balkin, who believes we are suffering from constitutional rot, argues that there are less radical solutions. As it becomes dangerously clear that Americans—and the world—will be living with the consequences of this pivotal period for many years to come, it is imperative that we understand how we got here—and how we might forestall the next demagogue who will seek to beguile the American public.” — University of Chicago Press Books

New Exhibit, now open: Queering the Collection: LGBTQ+ History ca. 1600-1970

Many library collections contain rich stories of individuals across centuries who transgressed sexual and gender norms, as well as documentation of the people and systems against which they transgressed. These historical artifacts can help shape new narratives around queer history and identity, or enrich old ones. Coded language and oblique references may pose challenges to researchers, but there is a wealth of material to find on queer people throughout history.

Each case in the exhibit highlights a different approach to researching queer history: using known figures, embracing uncomfortable terms, being open to the unexpected, and using secondary sources. We explored a number of fascinating stories but our research barely scratched the surface. We encourage researchers to continue the exploration and hope this exhibit will give you some tools to get started.

The exhibit was curated by A.J. Blechner, Anna Martin, and Mary Person and will be on view daily, 9-5, in Harvard Law School Library’s Caspersen Room through February 14, 2020.

Check out a few highlights from the exhibit here: www.bit.ly/hlslqtc

Image credit: Mary Frith in detail from title page of: The Roaring Girle or Moll Cut-Purse, by Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker (London, 1611)

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