Monday, December 6, 2010

Teaching again, after 16 years

Hello, everyone,

It's lovely to join the hit parade of distinguished guest-bloggers on the Legal History Blog. I thank Mary and Dan for inviting me to take part.

Most LHB readers know that I am a member of the research faculty at the American Bar Foundation. I've been there what seems like a long time--since 1994. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the ABF, it is an unusual academic place. I often describe it as "a university without students," because I don't like the sound of "think tank," which conjures up images of dedicated research assignments that cleave to a specific ideological mission (American Enterprise Institute, anyone?). We're actually much closer to a permanent version of Stanford's Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences or, indeed, Princeton's Law and Public Affairs Program. The ABF is actually even more wonderful than both of those places because you get to stay for much longer than one year, doing your own work and getting paid nicely to do it.

Still, even in this version of academic paradise one finds that the grass can look greener. I'm one of a dying breed at the ABF--the full-time permanent research professor--of which there are only three left. Everyone else holds joint appointments at Northwestern, the University of Chicago, or Wisconsin. I haven't taught full-time since coming to the ABF, and I've only dabbled in teaching infrequently in all that time owing to a plethora of circumstances.

Finally, this year, I made the jump to hyperspace once more and eagerly accepted an opportunity to teach at Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis (known locally as IUPUI). My appointment is divided equally between the law school (which is formally Indiana University-Indianapolis) and the undergraduate American Studies program.

This fall, I taught a seminar in legal history at the law school. I decided to teach it as a course in judicial biography, because much of the book I've just finished (Henry Ford's War: Law, Speech, and Antisemitism in the Tribal 1920s) is told biographically. Here's the reading list. I invite comments and suggestions, but please know that easily half of what I originally planned to assign disappeared as the semester progressed. Also, if Barbara Babcock's new book on Clara Shortridge Foltz had been out in time, I would definitely have used it. The only reading the students seemed to struggle with was the Przybyszwski (and I still haven't memorized how to spell her name), because they felt it assumed more knowledge about Harlan than they came to it with as law students. Has anyone used her book (which I love for a lot of reasons) and had a different result?

  • Paul Murphy, “Time to Reclaim: The Current Challenge of American Constitutional History,” American Historical Review, 69:1 (Oct. 1963), 64-79
  • Richard Posner, “Judicial Biography,” 70 New York Law Review 502 (1995)
  • George L. Haskins, “Lay Judges: Magistrates and Justices in Early Massachusetts,” in Law in Colonial Massachusetts, 39-55
  • Daniel R. Coquillette, “Justinian in Braintree: John Adams, Civilian Learning, and Legal Elitism, 1758-1775,” in Law in Colonial Massachusetts, 359-418
  • G. Edward White, American Judicial Tradition, 9-64 (Chief Justice Marshall; Kent, Story, Shaw)
  • Leonard W. Levy, Law of the Commonwealth and Chief Justice Shaw, 229-65
  • Linda Przybyszewski, Republic According to John Marshall Harlan
  • Optional: White, 105-119; *Charles W. McCurdy, “Justice Field and the Jurisprudence of Government-Business Relations: Some Parameters of Laissez-Faire Constitutionalism, 1863-1897,” Journal of American History, 61:4 (Mar. 1975), 970-1005; Lewis Grossman, “James Coolidge Carter and Mugwump Jurisprudence,” Law and History Review, 20:3 (2002), 577-629; *Robert Gordon, “‘The Ideal and the Actual in the Law’: Fantasies and Practices of New York City Lawyers, 1870-1910.” In The New High Priests: Lawyers in Civil War America, ed. Gerald Gawalt (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1984), 51-74.
  • Melvin Urofsky, Brandeis: A Life (excerpts)
  • Slaughterhouse Cases (1873)
  • Commonwealth v. Hamilton Manufacturing (Mass., 1876)
  • Civil Rights Cases (1883)
  • The Police Power, by Christopher Tiedeman (1886)
  • Warren and Brandeis, “The Right to Privacy” (1890)
  • Pollock v. Farmers Loan & Trust Co. (1895)
  • Ritchie v. People (Ill., 1895)
  • Plessy v. Ferguson (1897)
  • Allgeyer v. Louisiana (1897)
  • Holden v. Hardy (1898)
  • Insular Cases (1901)
  • McCray v. U.S. (1904)
  • Muller v. Oregon (1908)
  • Brandeis, Other People’s Money, Chapter 1: Our Financial Oligarchy; Chapter 8: A Curse of Bigness; Chapter 10: The Inefficiency of the Oligarchs (1913)
  • Robert L. Carter et al., “In Tribute: Charles Hamilton Houston,” Harvard L.R., 111 (June 1998), 2148-79
  • Mary Dudziak, Exporting American Dreams: Thurgood Marshall’s African Journey (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), 37-64
  • Tony Freyer, Hugo Black



4 comments:

Mary L. Dudziak said...

Hi, Vicky! Your course sounds great. I was so pleased to see Paul Murphy on your reading list. Though much has been written in 20th century constitutional history since his The Constitution in Crisis Times, I've been greatly benefiting from his work in my current project. If you have a chance, I'd love to hear about how his article fit with your syllabus & worked in your class.

Vicky Saker Woeste said...

Hi, Mary,

I wanted the students to begin by understanding how historians do legal history, and I've always thought Murphy's "law office history" a particularly provocative image for teaching methodology. That piece still works beautifully, even though it discusses a lot of aged historiography, and I like using it to start off the semester.

Barbara Burke said...

My professor used Urofsky's March of Liberty and his companion set of legal documents in our legal history seminar. They are excellent. A great resource for me outside of class was Kermit Hall's Magic Mirror. Also, a while ago I came across a great article by Michael Gerhardt entitled The Art of Judicial Biography. It is a review of a few books but he provides some worthwhile ideas on biographies. And keep in mind Justice Ginsburg's piece on the Muller v. Oregon case. I think she wrote it for the 100 year anniversary. A great piece to accompany a reading of the case.

Vicky Saker Woeste said...

Barbara, I pulled my cases from March of Liberty and put Magic Mirror and Friedman's History of American Law on reserve. I'll take a look at the Gerhardt piece; that sounds right on.