2016 Schedule

2016 Presentation Videos

David W. Blight
Professor of American History at Yale University
Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition

David W. Blight is Professor of American History at Yale University and Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition. He is the author of numerous influential works in the history of race, the Civil War, Reconstruction, including Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory (2001), winner of the the Bancroft Prize, the Abraham Lincoln Prize, and the Frederick Douglass Prize. Historical memory also inspired his most recent book American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era (2013), which investigates the centennial of the Civil War in the works and minds of writers Robert Penn Warren, Bruce Catton, Edmund Wilson, and James Baldwin. Blight’s current project, a full biography of Frederick Douglass, continues his previous scholarship on the former slave and American intellectual.

Annette Gordon-Reed
Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study

Annette Gordon-Reed is a leading scholar of American history. A recipient of many prestigious honors, she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in History for The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (2008). She is a former MacArthur Fellow and recipient of the National Humanities medal from President Obama. In 2010 Dr. Gordon-Reed published Andrew Johnson, a biography of the seventeenth president as a part of The American Presidents Series. This study explores Johnson’s plans for Reconstruction, including his attempts to defeat the Fourteenth Amendment.  Most recently, Dr. Gordon-Reed co-authored Most Blessed of the Patriarchs: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination (2016), which Jon Meacham, C’90, calls “essential and brilliant.”  She teaches at Harvard Law School as the Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History and is the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.


Kareem Crayton
Visiting Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University

Kareem Crayton is visiting professor of Law at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Crayton’s scholarly work deals with the intersection of law, politics, and race. In his most recent publications, Dr. Crayton has examined voting rights, racial dissent, and gender in terms of the current political climate. All of these topics, in their political, legal, and historical contexts serve to help better understand the legacy of the 14th Amendment. 

Michael Kent Curtis, C'64
Professor in Constitutional and Public Law at Wake Forest University

Michael Kent Curtis, C ’64, returns to Sewanee as one of the foremost scholars of the Fourteenth Amendment. Currently the Judge Donald L. Smith Professor in Constitutional and Public Law at Wake Forest School of Law, he teaches courses in Constitutional law and American legal history. Professor Curtis has published numerous works on these subjects, including No State Shall Abridge: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Bill of Rights (1986), which legal scholars have described as indispensable reading for any student of Constitutional law. For his achievement in defending and advancing civil liberties, the North Carolina Civil Liberties Union honored Professor Curtis with the Frank Porter Graham Award.

Douglas Egerton
Professor of History at Le Moyne College

Douglas Egerton is Professor of History at Le Moyne College and specializes in American racial and political history from the Revolutionary period to Reconstruction. His most recent book, The Wars of Reconstruction: The Brief, Violent History of America’s Most Progressive Era (2014),explores the brutal resistance to Reconstruction and the Jim Crow Era that followed. The Atlantic named The Wars of Reconstruction one of its Best Books of 2014.

Gerard Magliocca
Samuel R. Rosen Professor of Law at Indiana University

Gerard Magliocca is the Samuel R. Rosen Professor of Law at Indiana University. In 2013 Professor Magliocca published American Founding Son: John Bingham and the Invention of the Fourteenth Amendment, which was showcased on C-Span’s Book TV.  John Bingham played the important role of framing the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. At Indiana, he has been heralded for his talent and hard work in the classroom. He has received the Best New Professor, the Black Cane (Most Outstanding Professor), and the Indiana University Trustees Teaching awards.

Kate Masur
Associate Professor of History at Northwestern University

Kate Masur of Northwestern University studies the history of race, slavery, and emancipation in nineteenth-century America. Her scholarly work includes An Example for All the Land: Emancipation and the Struggle over Equality in Washington D.C. (2010).This study, an honorable mention for the 2011 Lincoln Prize, wrestles with the role of equality and social policy during Reconstruction. Dr. Masur has also risen to prominence through her pieces for the New York Times and her recent work on the 150th anniversary of Reconstruction with the National Park Services.

John Oldham McGinnis
George C. Dix Professor of Law Northwestern University School of Law

John Oldham McGinnis is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He also has an MA degree from Balliol College, Oxford, in philosophy and theology. Professor McGinnis clerked on U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. From 1987 to 1991, he was deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice.  He the author ofAccelerating Democracy: Transforming Government Through Technology (Princeton 2013) and Originalism and the Good Constitution (Harvard 2013) (with M. Rappaport). He is a past winner of Paul Bator award given by the Federalist Society to an outstanding academic under 40. He has been listed by the United States on the roster of panelists who may be called upon to decide World Trade Organization Disputes.

Daniel J. Sharfstein
Professor of Law and History at Vanderbilt University
Co-director, George Barrett Social Justice Program

Daniel Sharfstein is the Co-director of the George Barrett Social Justice Program and Professor of both Law and History at Vanderbilt University. Professor Sharfstein’s scholarly work on race and the law has garnered national praise winning such awards as a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship and a Chancellor Faculty Fellowship at Vanderbilt University. His book, The Invisible Line: Three American Families and the Secret Journey from Black to White (2011), won the 2012 J. Anthony Lukas Book prize for non-fiction and was called “an original and often startling look at the vagaries of the ‘color line’” by Henry Louis Gates, Jr..