Please join us for a LAPA Seminar with Elizabeth Mertz, LAPA Fellow and American Bar Foundation, and John and Rylla Bosshard Professor of Law at the University of Wisconsin Law School, for a discussion of "Imagining and Beginning: Rethinking the Origins of American Law." Her commentator will be Peter Brooks, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Scholar, and Lecturer with the rank of Professor in Comparative Literature and the University Center for Human Values.
As always, the LAPA format asks that seminar participants familiarize themselves with the paper in advance. The commentator will open the session by summarizing the main themes in the paper and presenting some topics for discussion. The author then has the right of first response before we open to the floor for questions. The seminar will end with a brief reception in the Library Lounge at the Bendheim Center
for Finance, giving everyone a chance to mingle and meet.
Elizabeth Mertz is a member of the senior research faculty at the American Bar Foundation, and the John and Rylla Bosshard Professor of Law at the University of Wisconsin Law School. She holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Duke University and a J.D. from Northwestern University. She is a Fellow of the American Anthropological Association. Mertz's scholarship focuses on the intersection of law and language, analyzed from an anthropological perspective. She recently published a study of first-year law school education, The Language of Law School: Learning to "Think Like a Lawyer " (Oxford University Press, 2007), which was co-winner of the Law & Society Association's Herbert Jacob Book Prize. She currently serves as editor of the Political and Legal Anthropology Review, following many years as editor of Law & Social Inquiry. She also held leadership positions in the Law and Society Association. In addition to law and language, Mertz's interests include legal translation, family law, law and social science, the legal profession, and legal education. Together with other scholars, she is active in the New Legal Realism Project (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_legal_realism). With Stewart Macaulay and Lawrence Friedman, she is co-editor of Law in Action: A Socio-Legal Reader (Foundation Press, 2007); she also edited The Role of Social Science in Law (Ashgate, 2008). Her current empirical research focuses on post-tenure law professors in the United States.
Peter Brooks joined the Princeton faculty in 2008 after decades of teaching at Yale, where he was Sterling Professor of Comparative Literature. He has published on narrative and narrative theory, on the 19th and 20th century novel, mainly French and English, and, more recently, on the interrelations of law and literature. He is the author of several books, including Henry James Goes to Paris (2007), Realist Vision (2005), Troubling Confessions: Speaking Guilt in Law and Literature (2000), Psychoanalysis and Storytelling (1994), Body Work (1993), and Reading for the Plot (Knopf, 1984)). He co-edited, with Paul Gewirtz, Law's Stories (1996) and, with Alex Woloch, Whose Freud? (2000). His essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The New Republic, Times Literary Supplement, The Nation, London Review of Books, Critical Inquiry, New Literary History, Yale Law Journal, and elsewhere. He is currently at work on a project called "The Enigma of Identity. " Brooks has served as a visiting professor at Harvard University, the University of Texas-Austin, the University of Copenhagen, the University of Bologna, and the Georgetown University Law Center, and as Visiting Lecturer at Yale Law School. At Princeton, he teaches in Comparative Literature and the University Center for Human Values.