The Hurst Summer Institute in Legal History

General Information

The J. Willard Hurst Summer Institute in Legal History is a biennial event sponsored by the Institute for Legal Studies in conjunction with the American Society for Legal History (ASLH). Each Hurst Institute is organized and chaired by a well-known legal historian and includes visiting senior scholars who lead specialized sessions.

For each Institute, a committee appointed by the ASLH reviews applications from beginning faculty members, doctoral students with completed or almost completed dissertations, and recent J.D. graduates, and selects 12 junior scholars from around the world as Institute Fellows. (The person who serves as the Hurst program chair does not serve on the selection committee.) Fellows come to Madison for two weeks to participate in seminars, meet other legal historians, and discuss their own work. The two-week program is structured but informal, and features discussions of core readings in legal history and analysis of the work of the participants in the Institute.

2019 Session

The 2019 Hurst Institute will take place June 9-22, 2019. 
Applications for the 2019 Hurst Institute are due December 3, 2018.

Application information

Previous Sessions 

The 2001 Hurst Institute The inaugural session was chaired by Lawrence M. Friedman, the Marion Rice Kirkwood Professor of Law at Stanford Law School. The visiting senior scholars were Linda K. Kerber, the May Brodbeck Professor in the Liberal Arts and Professor of History at the University of Iowa, and Robert W. Gordon, now Chancellor Kent Professor of Law and Legal History at Yale Law School.

The 2003 Hurst Institute The 2003 session was co-chaired by Lawrence M. Friedman, Marion Rice Kirkwood Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, and Robert W. Gordon, Chancellor Kent Professor of Law and Legal History at Yale Law School. The program included presentations by guest scholars Barbara Welke, Associate Professor of History at the University of Minnesota, and Morton Horwitz, Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School.

The 2005 Hurst Institute The 2005 session was again co-chaired by Lawrence M. Friedman, Marion Rice Kirkwood Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, and Robert W. Gordon, Chancellor Kent Professor of Law and Legal History at Yale Law School. The program included presentations by guest scholars Laura Edwards, Professor and Chair of the Department of History at Duke University, and Dirk Hartog, Class of 1921 Bicentennial Professor in the History of American Law and Liberty at Princeton University.

The 2007 Hurst Institute The 2007 session was chaired by Barbara Welke, Associate Professor of History and Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota. Guest scholars included Lawrence M. Friedman, Marion Rice Kirkwood Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, Robert W. Gordon, Chancellor Kent Professor of Law and Legal History at Yale Law School, Dirk Hartog, Class of 1921 Bicentennial Professor in the History of American Law and Liberty at Princeton University, Holly Brewer, Associate Professor of History at North Carolina State University, and Margot Canaday, Cotsen-Perkins Postdoctoral Fellow at Princeton University. A special session was hosted by Karl Shoemaker, Assistant Professor of History and Law at the University of Wisconsin.

The 2009 Hurst Institute  Barbara Welke, Associate Professor of History and Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota chaired the Hurst Summer Institute in 2009. Guest scholars included Risa Goluboff, Professor of Law and History and Cadell & Chapman Research Professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, Christine Desan, Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, Matthew Sommer, Associate Professor of Chinese History, Stanford University, Lawrence M. Friedman, Marion Rice Kirkwood Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, and Robert W. Gordon, Chancellor Kent Professor of Law and Legal History at Yale Law School.  In addition, special sessions were led by Jeremi Suri, E. Gordon Fox Professor of History and Director of the UW European Union Center of Excellence, and by Mitra Sharafi, Assistant Professor of Law and past Hurst Fellow. Bonnie Shucha, Head of Reference at the UW Law Library introduced the new Hurst Collection, and Rick Pifer, Head of Public Services, Library & Archives, provided a guided tour of the Wisconsin Historical Society Library.

The 2011 Hurst Institute  The 2011 session was chaired by Professor Barbara Welke (University of Minnesota) with guest scholars Sarah Barringer Gordon (University of Pennsylvania), Lawrence M. Friedman and Robert W. Gordon (Stanford Law School), Dylan Penningroth (Northwestern University), Lauren Benton (New York University), and Christopher Tomlins (UC-Irvine).

The 2013 Hurst Institute was chaired by Hendrik Hartog, Class of 1921 Bicentennial Professor in the History of American Law and Liberty, Professor of History, and Director of the Program in American Studies at Princeton University. Guest scholars included Kenneth Mack, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School; Michael Grossberg, Sally M. Reahard Professor of History and Professor of Law, Indiana University Maurer School of Law; Natalie Zemon Davis, Henry Charles Lea Professor of History Emerita from Princeton University and Adjunct Professor of History at the University of Toronto; and Barbara Young Welke, Professor of History and Professor of Law, McKnight Distinguished University Professor, University of Minnesota. In addition, Mitra Sharafi, Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Wisconsin (and former Hurst Fellow) led a special session.

The 2015 Hurst Institute was chaired by Professor Barbara Welke, Professor of History and Law, Distinguished McKnight University Professor at the University of Minnesota. Guest Scholars included Constance Backhouse, Professor of Law, University of Ottawa; Nicholas Parrillo, Professor of Law, Yale; Dylan Penningroth, Professor of History, Northwestern, and Research Professor, American Bar Foundation; Bhavani Raman, Associate Professor of History, University of Toronto; and Mitra Sharafi, Associate Professor of Law, Wisconsin. In addition, Karl Shoemaker, Associate Professor of History and Law at the University of Wisconsin led a special session.

The 2017 Hurst Institute was chaired by Professor Mitra Sharafi, Associate Professor of Law and Legal Studies (with History affiliation) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Guest Scholars included Daniel Ernst, Professor of Legal History, Georgetown Law; Bianca Premo, Professor of History, Florida International University; Daniel Sharfstein, Tarkington Chair of Teaching Excellence Professor of Law and Professor of History, Vanderbilt Law School; Karl Shoemaker, Associate Professor of History and Law, University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Barbara Young Welke, Professor of History and Law, Distinguished McKnight University Professor at the University of Minnesota.

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