Marianne Constable

Research Expertise and Interest

law and language, legal rhetoric and philosophy, social and political thought, Anglo-American legal history, continental philosophy, law and society

Research Description

Marianne Constable is a widely interdisciplinary legal scholar whose work on law crosses into both humanities and social sciences. Recipient of the James Boyd White Award from the Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities in 2011, she is the author of Our Word is Our Bond: How Legal Speech Acts (Stanford U. Press, 2014),  Just Silences: the Limits and Possibilities of Modern Law (Princeton U. Press, 2005), and The Law of the Other: The Mixed Jury and Changes in Conceptions of Citizenship, Law and Knowledge (U. of Chicago Press, 1994; winner of the Law and Society Association's J. Willard Hurst Prize in Legal History).  An expert on law and language, she has co-edited two books on law and society and written numerous articles on such topics as Foucault and immigration law, Nietzsche and jurisprudence, the rhetoric of "community," Arendt and the rhetoric of sustainability, law in the liberal arts, and language in politics. She is currently completing a history of the "new unwritten law" that ostensibly exonerated women who killed their husbands in Chicago a hundred years ago; she also has some shorter pieces on philosophical dialogues in the works. 

The first recipient of the the Zaffaroni Family Chair in Undergraduate Education (2009-2014), Constable's commitment to teaching is also attested to by her receipt of a Distinguished Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award and the Sarlo Distinguished Graduate Student Mentoring Award. Her background as a Guild-certified Feldenkrais Method (R) instructor inspired her to design an innovative class on "Language and Movement," which meets once a week in a studio and once a week in a seminar room. The course has prompted several short publications on topics relating to awareness, learning, habit, and action.    

Constable's awards include a 2005-06 Fellowship in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton,  a 2013-14 Annenberg Fellowship at Stanford University's Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences,  and a Spring 2019 Fellowship at the National Humanities Center. She has served on numerous editorial boards and prize committees (including the Bateson Prize in anthropology) and served as Department Chair for four years.  

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