Faculty Directory
Faculty Directory

Susanna Blumenthal

  • Professor of Law and Associate Professor of History
  • Co-Director of the Program in Law and History

Harvard-Radcliffe College, A.B.
Yale University, Ph.D., J.D.

Office: 436
Mondale Hall, 229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455

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, forthcoming 2015) 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.

For more information, please read Professor Blumenthal’s PDF iconcurriculum vitae.


American Legal History

Legal History Workshop

Criminal Law


Works in Progress

  • Apprehension of Fraud in Nineteenth-Century American Law (book in progress) Susanna Blumenthal
  • Domesticity and Distrust: Discerning Deceit in the Nineteenth-Century Courtroom (article in progress) Susanna Blumenthal


  • Law and the Modern Mind: Consciousness and Responsibility in American Legal Culture (Harvard University Press, forthcoming 2016) Susanna Blumenthal

Book Chapters

  • A Mania for Accumulation: The Plea of Moral Insanity in Gilded Age Will Contests, in Making Legal History: Essays in Honor of William E. Nelson 181 ( Daniel J. Hulsebosch & R. B. Bernstein, eds., New York University Press, 2013) Susanna Blumenthal
  • “Death by His Own Hand”: Accounting for Suicide in Nineteenth-Century Life Insurance Litigation, in Subjects of Responsibility: Framing Personhood in Modern Bureaucracies 98 (Andrew Parker, Austin Sarat & Martha Merrill Umphrey, eds., Fordham University Press, 2011) Susanna Blumenthal

Journal Articles

  • Of Mandarins, Legal Consciousness, and the Cultural Turn in US Legal History: Robert W. Gordon. 1984. Critical Legal Histories. Stanford Law Review 36:57-125, 37 Law & Social Inquiry 167-186 (2012) (review essay) Susanna Blumenthal
  • Metaphysics, Moral Sense, and the Pragmatism of the Law, 26 Law and History Review 177-185 (2008) Susanna Blumenthal
  • The Mind of the Moral Agent: Scottish Common Sense and the Problem of Responsibility in Nineteenth-Century American Law, 26 Law and History Review 99-159 (2008) Susanna Blumenthal
  • The Default Legal Person, 54 UCLA Law Review 1135-1265 (2007) Susanna Blumenthal
  • The Deviance of the Will: Policing the Bounds of Testamentary Freedom in Nineteenth-Century America, 119 Harvard Law Review 959-1034 (2006) Susanna Blumenthal
    | SSRN
  • Law and the Creative Mind, 74 Chicago-Kent Law Review 151-228 (1998) Susanna Blumenthal
  • “The Tempest in My Mind”: Cultural Interfaces between Psychiatry and Literature, 1844-1900, 31 Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 3-34 (1995) Susanna Blumenthal

Book Reviews

  • Book Review, 95 Journal of American History 233 (2008) (reviewing Ken Adler, The Lie Detectors: The History of an American Obsession (Free Press, 2007)) Susanna Blumenthal

Contact Information

University of Minnesota Law School

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

P: 612-625-1000

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