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James Whitman on Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law

Thursday, November 14, 2019
6 – 8 p.m.
Law 3-03
150 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10458
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We invite you for a conversation with James Q. Whitman, Ford Foundation Professor of Comparative and Foreign Law at Yale Law School; Jed Shugerman, professor of law at Fordham University; and Magda Teter, Shvidler Chair in Judaic Studies, about Whitman’s book Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law.

Whitman’s timely book explores how American race law provided a blueprint for Nazi Germany. Nazism triumphed in Germany during the high era of Jim Crow laws in the United States. In Hitler’s American Model, Whitman demonstrates the impact race laws in the United States, such as Jim Crow, anti-miscgenation laws, and laws concerning American citizenship, had on the notorious Nuremberg Laws, the centerpiece anti-Jewish legislation of the Nazi regime. Linking American race laws to the shaping of Nazi policies in Germany, Hitler’s American Model, as Brent Staples noted in The New York Times, “illustrates how German propagandists sought to normalize the Nazi agenda domestically by putting forth the United States as a model.”

Harvard’s Lawrence Tribe praised the book as “a profound testament to what the past can teach us about the present.” Foreign Affairs called Hitler’s American Model one of the “Best Books of 2017.” According to Tulane’s Lawrence Powell, Whitman’s book “is one of the most engrossing and disturbing pieces of legal history.”

This is a joint event of Fordham University’s Center for Jewish Studies; Fordham Law’s Institute of Religion, Law, and Lawyer’s Work; and the Center for Jewish Studies at CUNY-Graduate Center, in collaboration with the New York Public Library and the Leo Baeck Institute.


This event is open to alumni, faculty/staff, parents, students, and the public.