Laura M. Weinrib, History

Dissertation Defense: The Liberal Compromise: Civil Liberties, Labor, and the Limits of State Power, 1917-1940

Mon, 03/21/2011
4:30 - 6:00 PM, 210 Dickinson Hall
Event Category: 
Graduate Students

The LEGS seminar congratulations Laura Weinrib on finishing her dissertation, which started with papers delivered in the LEGS seminar and that she will be starting to teach in the fall at the University of Chicago Law School.

Laura M. Weinrib is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History at Princeton University and a Samuel I. Golieb Fellow in Legal History at the New York University School of Law. After receiving her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2003, she clerked for Judge Thomas L. Ambro of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Laura's principal field of study is twentieth-century American legal history. Her published articles have focused on civil liberties, legal thought, family law, gender, and discrimination. Her research and teaching interests also include administrative law, constitutional law, labor law, and property. In her scholarship, Laura seeks to expose the contingencies of entrenched legal concepts and to highlight the mutually constitutive relationship between law and society.

Laura's dissertation describes the emergence of a libertarian model of free speech in the United States between World War I and World War II. Based on extensive archival research, it argues that the interwar civil liberties movement gradually exchanged its Progressive emphasis on political and economic reform for a new, recognizably modern commitment to legally enforceable individual rights. More generally, it proposes that the articulation of civil liberties during the 1920s and 1930s provided a vocabulary for the state-skeptical liberalism of the postwar period and ultimately for the rehabilitation of the courts as a forum of social advocacy.