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Victoria Saker Woeste

Victoria Saker Woeste headshot

Research Professor


Ph.D., Jurisprudence & Social Policy, University of California, Berkeley B.A., History and American Studies, University of Virginia (cum laude)

Curriculum vitae


Victoria Saker Woeste was educated at the University of Virginia (B.A.) and the University of California at Berkeley (M.A., Ph.D.), where she trained as an interdisciplinary academic in law and social science. Since joining the American Bar Foundation in 1994, she has established herself as a leading scholar in the field of U.S. legal history, specifically twentieth century business regulation…

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Research focus

Understanding how law mediates and shapes the relationships among the state, the market, and society in U.S. history; uncovering institutional and organizational responses to legal and economic change. Recent scholarship has investigated the relationship of Henry Ford's antisemitism to the law of group libel, American racial politics, and 1920s political economy.  Future projects include a biography of Louis Marshall, constitutional lawyer and Jewish civil rights advocate (1856-1929), and further study of the legal history of American agriculture in the second half of the twentieth century.


Introduction, Jews and the Law
Quid Pro Books
Henry Ford's War on Jews and the Legal Battle Against Hate Speech
Stanford University Press
“Lawrence Friedman and the Bane of Functionalism”
Cambridge University Press

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The next president and I talk Supreme Court appointments

May 8, 2009

At a local (Lafayette, Indiana) town hall meeting in April, I had the chance to ask Senator Obama about his philosophy on Supreme Court appointments--what he would look for, what sort of values,…

On the significance of President Obama's Inaugural Address

Jan 20, 2009

Local news coverage of an Inaugural viewing party showcased my discussion of President Obama's use of historical allusions in his speech, which has already drawn some lackluster reviews: …

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Henry Ford's War on Jews and the Legal Battle Against Hate Speech
Feb 2014
Henry Ford's War on Jews and the Legal Battle Against Hate Speech
Oct 2013
Regulating Speech, Freeing Hate: Snyder v. Phelps and the Reconstitution of Civic Community
May 2013

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Professional Service & Recognition

  • Evaluator, Franklin Research Grants, American Philosophical Society
  • Member, Law and Society Association Kalven Prize Committee
  • Manuscript Reviewer, Journal of American History
  • Judge, California Supreme Court Historical Society Law Student Essay Competition
  • Member, Committee on Research, Fellowships, and Awards, American Society for Legal History
  • Chair, Craig Joyce Award Committee, American Society for Legal History, 2012
  • Consultant, The People v. Leo Frank, documentary film, Ben Loeterman Productions for Frontline, PBS, and the National Endowment for the Humanities (2009)
  • Wayne D. Rasmussen Award Committee, Agricultural History Society, 2010-12
  • Nominee, Board of Trustees, American Society for Legal History, 2009
  • Founder and Co-Chair, Chicago Legal History Seminar
  • Consultant, Court History Association, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Illinois
  • Chair, Surrency Article Prize Committee, American Society for Legal History
  • Precinct Captain, Obama for America, West Lafayette, Indiana
  • Member, Board of Directors, American Society for Legal History, 2010-2012
  • Member, Cromwell Prize Committee, American Society for Legal History, 2010-2012
  • Chair, J. Willard Hurst Book Prize Committee, Law and Society Association
  • Manuscript reviewer, Agricultural History, Enterprise and Society, Law and Social Inquiry, 2012
  • Associate Editor, Law and Social Inquiry
  • Principal Academic Advisor, Sapiro v. Ford, documentary film based on Henry Ford’s War, Michael Rose Productions Inc., Federal Court Historical Society and Detroit Public Television, 2012-13
  • 2015-16 Distinguished Lecturer, Organization of American Historians

Reading list

It Is Our Choices That Make Us What We Truly Are: Moral Choice in the Harry Potter Novels
Victoria Saker Woeste

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