Foundations of American Legal Thought Lecture Series Returns 


A lecture series exploring the leading schools of thought in American legal theory returns to Yale Law School in person this spring.

The Foundations of American Legal Thought series is part of a seminar of the same name that takes up some of the central problems, methods, and ideas that have shaped the theory and study of the law over the course of the last century. As in years past, the weekly lecture is open to the public.

Chancellor Kent Professor of Law and History Samuel Moyn said the public lectures are intended to provide exposure to history of legal thought in the United States not only for students in the class, but for the community at large.

“Our goal to offer a weekly public affirmation of Yale Law School’s commitment to legal theory as one of the activities that has made the institution so significant for so long,” Moyn said.

The course and lecture series considers topics including the proper roles of fairness and efficiency in law, the nature of legal authority and interpretation, the relationship between law and politics, and the intersections between law and other disciplines.

In addition to Yale Law School faculty, this year’s lecturers include two guests: Harvard Law School’s Duncan Kennedy ’70, who will speak on critical legal studies, and Princeton University’s Natasha Wheatley, who will speak on Austrian jurist and philosopher Hans Kelsen, a founding figure of analytical jurisprudence.

The series begins Jan. 25 with a lecture titled “Project and System in Law” by Robert W. Winner Professor of Law and the Humanities Paul W. Kahn ’80. 

Lectures will take place on Wednesdays from 12:10 to 1 p.m. Locations will be announced in advance on the Yale Law School events calendar.