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Graduate Studies - Legal History

Updated February 2020

Vanderbilt is home to a thriving community of legal historians. Our faculty expertise ranges from ancient Rome to the contemporary United States, and we place a strong emphasis on comparative and thematic inquiry. Faculty have written on topics as diverse as ancient violence, the history of prostitution, racial passing, Islamic law, American slavery, and law in early modern empires.

Our community is centered on the Legal History Workshop, an invited speaker series that runs throughout the year. The workshop features some of the most exciting new perspectives on legal history, and strives to be international and comparative in methods and scope.

In addition to coursework in their geographic and chronological areas of expertise, students are encouraged to take the Methods in Legal History seminar, which runs every other year. This team-taught seminar introduces students to the range of work done by legal historians, and runs in conjunction with the workshop.

Current Faculty

Lauren Benton (History/Law)
Ari Bryen (History/Classical & Mediterranean Studies/Law)
Emily Greble (History/East European Studies)
Leor Halevi (History/Law)
Joel Harrington (History) 
Sarah Igo (History/Law) 
Tom McGinn (History/Law)
Kimberly Welch (History/Law)

Affiliated Faculty

Sara Mayeux (Law/History)
Daniel Sharfstein (Law/History) 

Current Graduate Students

Mohammed Allehbi Medieval Islamic History with a focus on the late Abbasid era 
Maria Paula Andrade state formation and public health in modern Brazil
Jonathan Baddley early modern European religious and political history
Jessica Fletcher the transatlantic slave trade to the Americas
Ghosh, Shounak legal histories of the early modern world particularly in early modern South Asia
Hannah Hicks 19th Century American South
Vladislav Lilić 19th Century, Ottoman and Post-Ottoman Balkan Studies
Taryn Marashi medieval Islamic society with a focus on violence, power, and the politics of space  
Dipanjan Mazumder early modern South Asia
Sarah Nelson 20th century US and international history, global governance and information politics
Alex Pelegrino enslaved indigenous litigants in colonial Brazil.
Martina Schaefer Black Power movements and African diasporic religions
Johnathon Speed 19th and 20th Century, Compulsory Education and Social Control


The Legal History Colloquium