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Amalia D. Kessler

Lewis Talbot and Nadine Hearn Shelton Professor of International Legal Studies
Associate Dean for Advanced Degree Programs
Professor, by courtesy, History
Director, Stanford Center for Law and History
Ph.D., Stanford University (2001)
J.D., Yale Law School (1999)
M.A., Stanford University (1996)
B.A., Harvard University (1994)

A scholar whose research focuses on the evolution of commercial law and civil procedure, Amalia D. Kessler (MA ’96, PhD ’01) seeks to explore the intersections between law, markets and dispute resolution—with a particular focus on the forces that have shaped the nature and origins of modern capitalism.  She is currently working on a new book, tentatively entitled “The Public Roots of Private Ordering: Arbitration and the Remaking of the Modern American State,” the research for which is supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship in Constitutional Studies, as well as a fellowship from the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.  In 2018, her book, Inventing American Exceptionalism: The Origins of American Adversarial Legal Culture, 1800-1877 (Yale University Press, 2017) received the American Society for Legal History’s John Phillip Reid Book Award for the best English-language monograph by a mid-career or senior scholar on Anglo-American legal history. In 2008, her book, A Revolution in Commerce: The Parisian Merchant Court and the Rise of Commercial Society in Eighteenth-Century France (Yale University Press, 2007), was awarded the American Historical Association’s J. Russell Major Prize for the best book in English on any aspect of French history. In 2011, she received the Hessel Yntema Prize from the American Society of Comparative Law for the “most outstanding” article by a scholar under 40 appearing in the previous year’s volume of the American Journal of Comparative Law. And in 2005, she received the Surrency Prize from the American Society for Legal History for the best article in the previous year’s volume of the Law and History Review.

Professor Kessler is the Director of the Stanford Center for Law and History and has an appointment (by courtesy) with the Stanford History Department.  She has served as the Jean-Paul Gimon Director of the France-Stanford Center for Interdisciplinary Studies and has been a visiting professor at such institutions as the Yale Law School, Tel Aviv University Law School, the Université Panthéon-Assas (Paris II) and the École des hautes études en sciences sociales.  Before joining the Stanford Law School faculty in 2003, she was a trial attorney in the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and clerked for Judge Pierre N. Leval of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.


Room N360, Neukom Building

Fields of Interest

The evolution of commercial law and civil procedure, the roots of modern market culture and present-day process norms, origins of American adversarial legal culture, history of equity procedure