The Apprehension of Fraud: Policing Deception in Modern America
William L. Prosser Professor of Law Appointment Lecture
Swindlers and salesmen have long been viewed as close cousins in the United States, some going so far as to suggest that con artistry and economic innovation are simply two sides of the same coin in American history. This storyline has recently resurfaced in the popular press to explain our own times: the showman P.T. Barnum is cast as a representative man and fraud is written off as the price we pay for living in a free, open, and entrepreneurial society.
In this lecture, Professor Blumenthal traverses the ambiguous borderland between capitalism and crime, providing an important corrective as she reconsiders the regulatory paths that American lawyers have pursued across time to redress the social harms resulting from misplaced trust.
Professor Susanna Blumenthal is a scholar of American legal history whose research and writing focuses on the historical relationship between law and the human sciences. She is the author of Law and the Modern Mind: Consciousness and Responsibility in American Legal Culture (Harvard University Press, 2016) as well as numerous essays and law review articles, appearing in Harvard Law Review, UCLA Law Review, and Law and History Review. Her current book project, The Apprehension of Fraud, explores the role of law in policing the ambiguous borderland between capitalism and crime in nineteenth-century America. Professor Blumenthal received an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies to support her research and was a Sargent-Faull Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University (2003-2004) as well as a Fellow in the Program in Law and Public Affairs at Princeton University (2009-2010). She co-directs the Program in Law and History at the University of Minnesota, where she was appointed the John K. & Elsie Lampert Fesler Fellow (2007-2008) and is a member of the faculty in both the Law School and the History Department.
Professor Blumenthal is a graduate of Yale Law School and Harvard College and she holds a Ph.D. in history from Yale University, where her dissertation was awarded the George Washington Egleston Prize. Her doctoral work was also supported by a Samuel I. Golieb Fellow in Legal History from New York University School of Law. Before entering the academy, she served as law clerk to Judge Kimba M. Wood of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
A reception will follow the lecture in Auerbach Commons.