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Victoria Saker Woeste

Victoria Saker Woeste is a Research Professor at the American Bar Foundation (ABF). Since joining the ABF in 1994, Woeste has established herself as a leading scholar in the field of U.S. legal history, specifically twentieth century political economy, civil rights, and hate speech.  She is the author of three books:  Jews and the Law (Quid Pro Books, 2014); Henry Ford's War on Jews and the Legal Battles Against Hate Speech (Stanford University Press, 2012); and The Farmer’s Benevolent Trust (The University of North Carolina Press, 1998).

Current projects include a study of the civil rights law practice of the founder of the notorious Westboro Baptist Church (classified as a hate speaker by the Southern Poverty Law Center) and an inquiry into the roots of the “fake news” trope in the history of antisemitic propaganda.

Woeste earned her B.A. with Distinction and Honors in history and American studies from the University of Virginia and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Jurisprudence and Social Policy from the University of California at Berkeley.

In addition to her position at the ABF, Woeste has held appointments as professor of law in the International and Comparative Law Program at Indiana University-Cairo University in Egypt and visiting professor of law and American studies at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis from 2010-2011. Prior to joining Indiana University, she served as adjunct professor of Law at Northwestern University in the spring of 2001 and as visiting assistant professor in the Department of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought and the Department of American Studies at Amherst College from 1990-1994. 

Woeste is professionally affiliated with several organizations, including the Agricultural History Society, American Constitution Society, American Historical Association, American Society for Legal History, Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities, Business History Conference, Law and Society Association, and Organization of American Historians.

Woeste’s scholarship has been recognized by the Law and Society Association’s J. Willard Hurst Prize in 2000; the 1993 Herman Krooss Prize of the Business History Conference; a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship; the Rabbi Jacob Prinz Research Fellowship of the American Jewish Archives at Hebrew Union College; a Friends of Seeley Mudd Library research grant; and two Franklin Research Grants from the American Philosophical Society.

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