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Professor Susanna Blumenthal Named William L Prosser Professor of Law

April 16, 2019

On April 1st of this year, History Professor Susanna Blumenthal was named the William L. Prosser Professor of Law. Professor Blumenthal, appointed in both the History Department, and the Law School is an accomplished and celebrated legal historian. Professor Blumenthal has had articles published in Harvard Law Review, UCLA Law Review, and Law and History Review. In addition, Professor Blumenthal is the author of the monograph Law and the Modern Mind: Consciousness and Responsibility in American Legal Culture (Harvard University Press, 2016).

Currently, Professor Blumenthal is working on her next book The Apprehension of Fraud, explores the role of law in policing the ambiguous borderland between capitalism and crime in nineteenth-century America. This was also the topic of the lecture she gave in accepting the named professorship.

Professor Blumenthal also discussed the legacy of the man after whom the professorship is named, William L. Prosser. A graduate and then Professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, Prosser is perhaps best known for his handbook on tort law, Prosser on Torts. As Professor Blumenthal illuminated, however, Prosser was a man of many talents, including a ready comedian and sometime writer of theater. This particular blend of legal fact and fiction was a well-suited position from which Professor Blumenthal could discuss the history of law at a time when the “confidence-men” were a common figure in the cultural imagination and the difference between selling and swindling was not always clear.

Professor Blumenthal’s named position is a reflection of all she brings to both the History Department and the Law School as a researcher and educator.