Stanford Law Announces New Center for Law and History

Stanford Law announced today the newly created Stanford Center for Law and History, designed to be a hub on campus for scholarly and public engagement in the burgeoning field of legal history. The center, directed by Lewis Talbot and Nadine Shelton Professor of International Legal Studies and Professor (by courtesy) of History Amalia Kessler, will provide infrastructure for those studying the intersection of law and history, and serve as a bridge between scholars and students in the Stanford community and those with shared interests based outside of Stanford.

“We are delighted to launch this center. This is a natural step for SLS, with our distinguished history of scholars and teachers interested in legal history, and our now-thriving community of scholars who are continuing in that rich tradition in their own ways,” said M. Elizabeth Magill, Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and Dean. “It is also a natural step for Stanford University, which has emphasized inter-disciplinary connections across all the schools in both research and teaching. The law school is proud to play a role in connecting those from many fields who have a shared interest.”

The center will promote a closer collaboration among the many who work on law and history through a broad range of conferences, workshops, reading groups, and lectures. “Legal history is a growing and thriving field,” said Director Amalia Kessler. “We have an increasing number of people across campus who are interested in this topic but have little opportunity to engage with another in any kind of sustained and systematic way.  We are really excited to be able to bring everyone together to share work and ideas and thus to further research and teaching in this vibrant arena.”

The center will also offer a fellowship for a graduate student completing training in legal history and aiming thereafter to pursue a career in academia. Elizabeth Katz, whose research engages with vital and neglected questions of family law and criminal justice—and who was awarded the American Society of Legal History’s prestigious Kathryn T. Preyer Award—has been named the center’s inaugural fellow.