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Christopher Schmidt

Christopher Schmidt headshot

Research Professor

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Joint appointment

Professor of Law; Associate Dean for Faculty Development; Co-Director of the Institute on the U.S Supreme Court, Chicago-Kent College of Law


J.D., Harvard Law School; Ph.D., History of American Civilization, Harvard University

Curriculum vitae


Christopher Schmidt researches U.S. legal and constitutional history, with a focus on the relationship between intellectual history, social movements, and constitutional change in the twentieth century. He is an Associate Professor of Law, Associate Dean for Faculty Development, and Co-Director of the Institute on the Supreme Court of the United States at Chicago-Kent College of Law. He has also…

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Research focus

The intersection of social movement mobilization and constitutional change in recent American history; the ways in which constitutional claims emerge and develop outside the courts, and the effect of these extrajudicial claims on legal doctrine. Current research focuses on the egalitarian constitutionalism of the civil rights movement; and the libertarian constitutionalism that has gained traction with the rise of populist conservatism in recent decades.


Civil Rights: An American History

This book project offers a history of how Americans have struggled over the meaning of the term “civil rights” from the Civil War through today. It provides an historical case study of…

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Cover of Civil Rights in America: A History Civil Rights in America: A History
“Rights, Dignity, and Public Accommodations”
Law and History Review
"The Fourteenth Amendment and the Transformation of Civil Rights"
The Journal of the Civil War Era

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Civil Rights: An American History
Feb 2017
Social Movements and Victory
Feb 2017
Exceptions in American Constitutional History
Sep 2016

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Professional Service & Recognition

  • Editor, Law & Social Inquiry
  • Associate Dean for Faculty Development, Chicago-Kent College of Law 
  • Co-Director, Institute on the Supreme Court of the United States
  • Organizer, U.S. Legal History Roundtable, American Bar Foundation, 2013, 2014, 2017
  • Board of Directors, American Society for Legal History, 2016 – 2019
  • Faculty Leader, American Society for Legal History Student Research Colloquium, 2016, 2017
  • Winner, American Society for Legal History 2016 Surrency Prize (awarded annually for the best article published in Law and History Review
  • Chicago-Kent College of Law Excellence in Teaching Award, 2011
  • Winner, American Association of Law Schools 2014 Scholarly Paper Competition for Divided by Law: The Sit-Ins and the Role of the Courts in the Civil Rights Movement

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