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Americans Without Law: The Racial Boundaries of Citizenship Paperback – December 1, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0814793657 ISBN-10: 0814793657

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 205 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press (December 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814793657
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814793657
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,393,226 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Mark Weiner provides a rare and radical insight into the racial structures of American law. Reading this racial history through the rhetoric of case law decisions—juridical racialism—provides a dramatic sense of the anthropological scope of what law has done and potentially continues to do.”
-Peter Goodrich,Cardozo School of Law



“A rich and exceptionally clear account of the meaning-making context and constitution of citizenship.”
-Christine Harrington,Institute for Law and Society, New York University



“Commendably and profoundly, the author maps the numerous uncharted waters of racial discrimination showing how anthropology and culture intermix with law to form wide-ranging and lasting policies of exclusion.”
-New York Law Review



“It addresses a powerful topic. It is a conceptually creative piece of scholarship, forged from a sophisticated interdisciplinary viewpoint.”
-The Law and Politics Book Review



“An enthralling mixture of personages and cases that reveals much about the intimate combining of law and “American” imperialism, including the complicities of scholarship.”
-Peter Fitzpatrick,Birkbeck School of Law, University of London

About the Author

Mark S. Weiner is Professor of Law at Rutgers School of Law, Newark. He is the author of Black Trials: Citizenship from the Beginnings of Slavery to the End of Caste, winner of the American Bar Association's 2005 Silver Gavel Award.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Baum on October 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
If the American constitution is only amended infrequently, why do the legal interpretations of it vary so much? Looking at judicial decisions over this country's history, the same constitutional lines have justified seemingly opposing decisions at different times. Mark Weiner's goal in Americans without Law: The Racial Boundaries of Citizenship is to explain just how that is possible. He claims that we can best understand these changes in American judicial doctrine through "an interdisciplinary historical framework, in particular one whose methods are influenced ... by modern cultural anthropology and literary theory." (16) His work demonstrates how variation in intellectual thought shaped American legal history, showing that changes in academic realms brought about parallel ones in legal interpretations.

Weiner's qualifications to undertake such a project come from his own academic history and prior research. He wrote an earlier book on the intersections of race and law, titled Black Trials: Citizenship from the Beginnings of Slavery to the End of Caste and graduated with both a Ph.D. in American Studies and a J.D. from Yale. In Americans without Law, he introduces the idea of juridical racialism, which he says "fused the concepts of race and law into a single idea--in which the two concepts were mutually constitutive." (1) His analysis of it follows how anthropological definitions of race influenced legal history, while also identifying the real world implications of these racially inspired legal decisions.

The interdisciplinary nature of this effort emerges as this book's strength.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kathy S. Choi on November 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Thousands of ambitious pre-law students all across America received their LSAT scores online this past weekend. This score, ranging from 120 to 180, can make or break a student's admission to a top tier law school. In this sense, entrance into the realm of law school and the comprehension of the complex legal system appears to be technical and defined by arbitrary numerical values.

However, it remains to be seen that the complexity and breadth of information encompassed by the American legal system is unparalleled. It has without question served as the foundation and birthplace of some of the most influential and powerful changes in the course of American history.

Today, it seems that the legal system is once again a battleground for some of the most challenging cases that America has ever seen. As we clash against chronically controversial issues such as immigration and affirmative action (two of the political issues most firmly rooted in culture, history, and race), we must not only remain receptive to the legal history, but to the anthropology intertwined in its midst as well.

Mark Weiner further explores this idea in his book Americans Without Law. Weiner focuses his discourse on the influence of anthropology in shaping the legal boundaries of race and citizenship. He is a firm a believer in the power of anthropology to "shed light on the history of American law not simply to the extent that the judiciary has relied factually on anthropology in its rulings, but also iterated patterns in legal doctrine concerning American citizenship.
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