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Photo: Annette Hornischer

Barton M. Biggs Professor of History and Professor of Law, Yale University

Anna-Maria Kellen Fellow - Class of Spring 2022

Lauren Benton is the Barton M. Biggs Professor of History and Professor of Law at Yale University. A comparative and world historian, she writes on the legal history of European empires and the history of international law. She received her AB from Harvard University and PhD in anthropology and history from The Johns Hopkins University. Prior to Yale, Benton was the Nelson O. Tyrone Jr. Professor of History and professor of law at Vanderbilt University, where she also served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. She was also Julius Silver Professor of History and affiliate professor of law at New York University, where she served as dean of humanities and dean of the graduate school. In 2019, Benton was awarded the Toynbee Prize for significant contributions to global history. She is a recent recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and currently serves as president of the American Society for Legal History.


Benton is the author of four books, including three on the history of empires and law: Rage for Order: The British Empire and the Origins of International Law, 1800–1850, coauthored with Lisa Ford (Harvard, 2016); A Search for Sovereignty: Law and Geography in European Empires, 1400–1900 (Cambridge, 2010); and Law and Colonial Cultures: Legal Regimes in World History, 1400–1900 (Cambridge, 2002), which was awarded the James Willard Hurst Prize and the WHA Jerry Bentley Book Prize. Her coedited books include (with Bain Attwood and Adam Clulow) Protection and Empire: A Global History (Cambridge, 2017); (with Richard Ross) Legal Pluralism and Empires, 1500–1850 (NYU, 2013); and (with Nathan Perl-Rosenthal) A World at Sea: Maritime Practices and Global History (UPenn, 2020). She has also published extensively in scholarly journals.

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