Friday, November 14, 2014

Cromwell Dissertation Prize to Minoff

The William Nelson Cromwell Foundation awarded this year's Cromwell Dissertation Prize to Elisa Martia Alvarez Minoff (University of South Florida, St. Petersburg) for “Free to Move? The Law and Politics of Internal Migration in Twentieth-Century America.” Professor Minoff completed her dissertation at Harvard University, under the direction of Lizabeth Cohen.

Via H-Law, here's the official citation:
Elisa Martia Alvarez Minoff’s “Free to Move? The Law and Politics of Internal Migration in Twentieth-Century America” reframes our understanding of the rise of the American social welfare state.  Mining a stunning array of archival sources, Minoff makes a compelling case that a critical, yet underappreciated factor in the development of the New Deal state was the effort to deal with the movement of people across jurisdictional boundaries within the United States. Through exhaustive, creative research and elegant prose, she shows how social welfare advocates from the 1930s to the 1970s called upon federal political and legal institutions to take increased responsibility for protecting the rights of American migrants. Minoff presents compelling, fine-grained portraits of the reformers who led the struggle to protect migrants as well as many of the migrants themselves, demonstrating that the expansion of federal authority in the middle decades of the twentieth century was much more than an abstract solution to the limitations of local and state-level institutions. That federal expansion was also a response to millions of people who left home in search of new opportunities. The resulting policy and doctrinal changes, although never matching the most ambitious visions of these reform advocates, constitute a key component of the contemporary welfare state and the basis for a new, national conception of citizenship.
The dissertation is available online, here.

The members of this year's Cromwell Dissertation Prize Committee were:
John D. Gordan, III, Chair
Christian G. Fritz (University of New Mexico School of Law), Chair
Alison LaCroix (University of Chicago Law School)
Catharine MacMillan (University of Reading)
Christopher W. Schmidt (Chicago-Kent College of Law)
 Congratulations to Professor Minoff!