• The Value of Injury: Workplace Accidents, Capitalism, and Law in the Progressive Era

    Fall 2017 Legal History Workshop

  • Featuring

    • Nathaniel (Nate) Holdren

      Assistant Professor,

      Program in Law, Politics, and Society

      Drake University
  • When

    Thursday, October 5, 2017
    4:00 pm to 6:00 pm



    University of Minnesota Law School
    229 19th Ave. South
    Minneapolis, MN 55455

Scholars generally consider workers’ compensation laws, created in the 1910s, as a Progressive Era success story. In my book I argue instead that these laws created new forms of inequality by lowering the value of wage-earning women’s injuries and by encouraging employers to fire disabled employees. I further argue that these laws led the legal system to abandon employee injury as a subject of moral and political deliberation, by replacing courtroom practices of narration and argument with insurance-industry derived tools and concepts like actuarial tables. Ultimately, I want readers to consider the limits of compensation laws and to wonder what it would mean to have a truly humane legal response to injury.

Note: This is a discussion based workshop of work-in-progress with the expectation that those attending have read the workshop materials. Please contact Jacquelyn E. Burt at for a copy of the materials.

Contact Information

Jacquelyn E. Burt
(612) 626-5984

Contact Information

University of Minnesota Law School

Walter F. Mondale Hall | 229 19th Avenue South | Minneapolis, MN 55455

P: 612-625-5000

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