James Q. Whitman

Ford Foundation Professor of Comparative and Foreign Law
(on leave, spring 2024)

J.D., Yale Law School, 1988

Ph.D. (Intellectual History), University of Chicago, 1987

M.A., Columbia University, 1982

B.A., Yale University, 1980

Courses Taught
  • Advanced Topics in Comparative Law
  • Ancient Law
  • Art Law
  • Comparative Law
  • Criminal Law and Administration
  • The Development of the Western Legal Tradition
  • The History of Property Law
James Q. Whitman

James Q. Whitman is the Ford Foundation Professor of Comparative and Foreign Law at Yale Law School. He earned his B.A. and J.D. from Yale University and Law School and also holds an M.A. in European History from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in Intellectual History from the University of Chicago. From 1988-1989, Professor Whitman clerked for the Hon. Ralph K. Winter of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, then began his teaching career at Stanford University Law School. He has taught as a visiting professor at universities in France and Italy and has been a professor at Yale Law School since 1994. In 1996 he became the Ford Foundation Professor of Comparative and Foreign Law. Professor Whitman's many articles have been published internationally and across disciplines. He has also been awarded numerous prizes and fellowships throughout his career. In 2008 he published The Origins of Reasonable Doubt: Theological Roots of the Criminal Trial, which received an honorable mention, Silver Gavel Award, American Bar Association, 2009. His book The Verdict of Battle: The Law of Victory and the Making of Modern War appeared in 2012. He was a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow in 2010-2011. His other scholarship includes an article, "The Two Western Cultures of Privacy: Dignity versus Liberty" published in the 2004 volume of The Yale Law Journal. His 2003 book, Harsh Justice: Criminal Punishment and the Widening Divide Between America and Europe, published by the Oxford University Press, won the 2004 Distinguished Book Award of the Division of International Criminology of the American Society of Criminology.