Monday, October 30, 2023 at 12:15pm
HARVARD LAW SCHOOL, WASSERSTEIN HALL, ROOM 4059
Please join LPE@HLS as we welcome Abbye Atkinson (Berkeley Law), Chloe Thurston (Northwestern University), and Emily Zackin (Johns Hopkins University), who will discuss Professors Thurston and Zackin’s forthcoming book, The Political Development of American Debt Relief (University of Chicago Press). Lunch will be provided, and all are welcome!
About the Book
A political history of the rise and fall of American debt relief.
Americans have a long history with debt. They also have a long history of mobilizing for debt relief. Throughout the nineteenth century, indebted citizens demanded government protection from their financial burdens, challenging readings of the Constitution that exalted property rights at the expense of the vulnerable. Their appeals shaped the country’s periodic experiments with state debt relief and federal bankruptcy law, constituting a pre-industrial safety net. Yet, the twentieth century saw the erosion of debtor politics and the eventual retrenchment of bankruptcy protections.
The Political Development of American Debt Relief traces how geographic, sectoral, and racial politics shaped debtor activism over time, enhancing our understanding of state-building, constitutionalism, and social policy.
Abbye Atkinson is a Professor at Berkeley Law and the Samuel Williston Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. Her research focuses on the law of debtors and creditors as it affects marginalized communities. She has testified before the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and she is the inaugural recipient of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Scholar Award.
Chloe Thurston is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University. She researches American political development, political economy, and public policy, with a particular interest in how politics and public policy shape market inequalities along the lines of race and gender. She is the author of At the Boundaries of Homeownership: Credit, Discrimination and the American State (Cambridge University Press, 2018).
Emily Zackin is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University. She is the author of Looking for Rights in All the Wrong Places: Why State Constitutions Contain America’s Positive Rights (Princeton University Press, 2013) which examines political movements to add positive rights to state constitutions.