Robert J. Cottrol

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Robert J. Cottrol

Harold Paul Green Research Professor of Law, and Professor of History and Sociology

Full-Time Affiliated Faculty


Office Phone: (202) 994-5023
2000 H St. NW Washington DC 20052

Professor of Law

Professor Cottrol's research focuses on the influence of legal institutions and social processes on race relations in the United States and Latin America. He has also written generally on US legal history and on constitutional and criminal law. His book Brown v. Board of Education: Caste, Culture and the Constitution (University Press of Kansas, 2003) was a "book of the month" selection by the History Book Club, and also received the 2003 Prize of the Langum Project for Historical Literature for the "best book in legal history accessible to the general educated public."

Research on comparative race relations contrasting the experiences of people of African descent in the United States and Latin America, particularly the influence of law and New World slave systems on modern racial cultures and racial hierarchies.

SOC 6252 - Social and Economic History of Labor Law
SOC 6286 - The Law of Race and Slavery

2014. “Second Amendment: Not Constitutional Dysfunction, But Necessary Safeguard,” 94 Boston University Law Review 835.

2013. “Positive discrimination/Affirmative action with respect to gender and race” (co-author Megan Davis), in Routledge Handbook of Constitutional Law, Mark Tushner, Thomas Fleiner and Cheryl Saunders, editors. Routledge: New York.

2013. The Long Lingering Shadow: Slavery, Race, and Law in the American Hemisphere. The University of Georgia Press.

2005. "From Emancipation to Equality: The Afro-Latin's Unfinished Struggle" (Review Essay, reviewing George Reid Andrews, Afro-Latin America, 1800-2000) 57 American Quarterly Volume 57.

2004. "Brown and the Contemporary Brazilian Struggle Against Racial Inequality: Some Preliminary Comparative Thoughts" University of Pittsburgh Law Review 113 (Special Symposium on Fiftieth Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education) Volume 66.

2004. "Finality with Ambivalence: The American Death Penalty's Uneasy History" (Article Length Review Essay, Reviewing (Stuart Banner, The Death Penalty: An American History) Stanford Law Review Volume 56.

2003. Brown v. Board of Education: Caste, Culture and the Constitution. University Press of Kansas.

2001. "The Long Lingering Shadow: Law, Liberalism and Cultures of Racial Hierarchy and Identity in the Americas," Tulane Law Review, Volume 76.

2000. "Death and Deterrence: Notes on a Still Inchoate Judicial Inquiry," in Joseph Gastwirth (Ed.) Statistical Science in the Courtroom, with Illustrations. Springer Publishers: New York.

1999. "Structure, Participation, Citizenship and Right: Lessons from Akhil Amar's Second and Fourteenth Amendments," Georgetown Law Review, Volume 87.

1998. "Clashing Traditions: Civil Law and Common Law and the American Culture of Slave Governance," Slavery and Abolition: A Journal of Slave and Post-Slave Studies, Volume 19.

1998. From African to Yankee: Narratives of Slavery and Freedom in Antebellum New England. (Ed.)

1994. Gun Control and the Constitution: Sources and Explorations on the Second Amendment. (Ed).)

1982. The Afro-Yankees: Providence's Black Community in the Antebellum Era.

PhD Yale University, 1978
JD Georgetown University, 1984