Eminent legal historian Ariela Gross joins UCLA Law

July 25, 2023
Ariela Gross

UCLA School of Law is pleased to welcome Ariela Gross, who joins the law school’s faculty as a distinguished professor of law.

A renowned scholar of legal history, Gross comes to UCLA Law from USC Gould School of Law, where she was the John B. and Alice R. Sharp Professor of Law and History and founder and co-director of the Center for Law, History, and Culture. Gross served on the University of Southern California faculty for 27 years.

A prolific and award-winning writer and speaker, Gross focuses her scholarship on “the way race and slavery have shaped law, culture, and politics in the Americas – and also the way law has created the very category of ‘race,’ with devastating consequences.” She is the author of three books – Becoming Free, Becoming Black: Race, Freedom, and Law in Cuba, Louisiana, and Virginia with Alejandro de la Fuente (Cambridge University Press, 2020); What Blood Won’t Tell: A History of Race on Trial in America (Harvard University Press, 2010); and Double Character: Slavery and Mastery in the Antebellum Southern Courtroom (Princeton University Press, 2000) – that “tell the story of enslaved and free people of color who used the law to claim freedom and citizenship for themselves and their loved ones, challenging slaveholders’ efforts to make blackness synonymous with slavery.” Her most recent project is titled “Erasing Slavery: How Stories of Slavery and Freedom Shape Battles Over the Constitution.”

Gross has received several prestigious honors during her career, including a Guggenheim Fellowship; three fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies; and book awards from the Order of the Coif for the best book on law and the Law and Society Association for the best book on sociolegal history.

Deeply engaged in service to her community and profession, Gross chaired the Concerned Faculty of USC group, which was created in 2018 “to restore transparency, accountability, and faculty governance at the university.” She also co-founded the Law and Humanities Interdisciplinary Workshop for Junior Scholars.

Gross earned her B.A. from Harvard University, her J.D. from Stanford Law School and her Ph.D. in history from Stanford University.

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