African American Legal History

History 280D

Fall 2015
102 2240 PIEDMNT
Day & Time: 
Th 10-1P

This seminar explores scholarship about African Americans’ encounter with law. It looks at how debates over the place of African Americans in a democratic society have shaped important aspects of state and federal law. And it explores the impact of law on the lives of African Americans. We will put special emphasis on questions of citizenship and rights, exploring how struggles to define rights for African Americans helped give rise to new legal categories (such as the business corporation), new models of legal practice (most famously the variant of “cause lawyering” pioneered by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund), and modes of reasoning (such as “reasoning from race”). The readings will include a mix of “classic” and newer works in this field.