Faculty Profiles

Mary L. Dudziak

Mary L. Dudziak

Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law

Areas of Expertise

Civil Rights History, Constitutional Law, Constitutional and Legal History, Law and War, Diplomatic History, Foreign Relations Law, Legal History

Curriculum Vitae

Mary L. Dudziak is a leading U.S. legal historian, and is president of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. Her research is at the intersection of domestic law and US international affairs. She is now writing about war and political accountability in American history. Her earlier work examined the impact of Cold War foreign affairs on civil rights policy and other topics in twentieth century US legal history. Dudziak' s courses include Foreign Relations Law, Constitutional Law, 20th Century U.S. Constitutional History, Going to War (a history and political science course) and a seminar and colloquium hosted by the Project on War and Security in Law, Culture, and Society, a program she created at Emory. 

Dudziak is the author of War·Time: An Idea, Its History, Its Consequences (Oxford University Press, 2012); Exporting American Dreams: Thurgood Marshall's African Journey (Oxford University Press, 2008); Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy (Princeton University Press, 2000) (2nd ed. 2011); editor of September 11 in History: A Watershed Moment? (Duke University Press, 2003); and co-editor (with Leti Volpp) of Legal Borderlands: Law and the Construction of American Borders, a special issue of American Quarterly (September 2005), reissued by Johns Hopkins University Press in March 2006. Her next book is Going to War: An American History, under contract with Oxford University Press. Other works on civil rights history and 20th-century constitutional history have appeared in numerous law reviews and other journals. She founded the Legal History Blog and contributes to Balkinization.

Prior to joining Emory Law in 2012, she was the Judge Edward J. and Ruey L. Guirado Professor of Law, History and Political Science at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law; she also held joint appointments in USC's departments of history and political science. Prior to joining USC Law, she was a law clerk for Judge Sam J. Ervin, III, of the Fourth US Circuit Court of Appeals, and a professor of law and history at the University of Iowa. Prof. Dudziak served as the John Hope Franklin Visiting Professor of American Legal History at Duke Law School and as the William Nelson Cromwell Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. She has also been a Distinguished Visitor at the University of Maryland School of Law.

Professor Dudziak was elected 2017 President of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR), and served as Vice President in 2016. She has served on boards of SHAFR and of other organizations: the American Society for Legal History, and the Law and Society Association. She is a distinguished lecturer for the Organization of American Historians. In fall 2015, Dudziak was the Kluge Chair in American Law and Governance at the Library of Congress, and in the 2014–15 academic year, she was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. She has also received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and has been a member of the School of Social Science, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.

Education: JD, MA, MPhil and PhD, Yale University; AB, University of California, Berkeley


War Time: An Idea, Its History, Its Consequences (Oxford University Press, 2012).

Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy2nd edition (Princeton University Press, 2011).

Exporting American Dreams: Thurgood Marshall's African Journey (Oxford University Press, 2008) (rev. paperback ed., Princeton University Press, 2011).

Legal Borderlands: Law and the Construction of American Borders, American Quarterly, co-editor with Leti Volpp (Special Issue, Sept. 2005) (reissued by Johns Hopkins University Press, March  2006).

September 11 in History: A Watershed Moment? (Duke University Press, 2003) (editor and contributor).

Journal Articles

Death and the War Power, 30 Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities 25 (2018)

Presidential Lecture: “You didn’t see him lying … beside the gravel road in France”: Death, Distance, and American War Politics, 42 Diplomatic History 1 (2018)

“On the Civil-Ness of Civil War: A Comment on David Armitage's Civil War Time,” 33 American University International Law Review 335 (2017) (comment on American Society for International Law Grotius Lecture).

The Future as a Concept in National Security Law42 Pepperdine Law Review 591 (2015)

"War and Peace in Time and Space," 13 Seattle Journal for Social Justice 381 (2014).

“Law, Power, and ‘Rumors of War’: Robert Jackson Confronts Law and Security After Nuremberg,” 60 Buffalo Law Review 367 (2012) (special issue on Robert Jackson).

“Toward a Geopolitics of the History of International Law in the Supreme Court,” Proceedings of the American Society for International Law (2011).   

"Law, War, and the History of Time," 98 California Law Review 1669 (2010).

"Thurgood Marshall’s Bill of Rights for Kenya," 11 Green Bag 2d 307 (Spring 2008). 

"The 1963 March on Washington, At Home and Abroad,” 107 Revue Française d'Études Américaines 61 (special issue on Foreign Policy and Civil Society) (March 2006). 

"Working Toward Democracy: Thurgood Marshall and the Constitution of Kenya," 56 Duke Law Journal 721 (December, 2006).

"Law and Social Context in Civil Rights History," Review essay, Michael J. Klarman, From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality (Oxford University Press, 2004), 72 Chicago Law Review 429 (Winter 2005)   

Book Chapters

“Legal History as Foreign Relations History,” in Michael J. Hogan, Thomas G. Patterson, and Frank Costigliola, eds., Explaining the History of American Foreign Relations, 3rd ed. (Cambridge University Press, 2016).

“Targeted Killings and Secret Law: Drones and the Atrophy of Political Restraints on the War Power,” in Drone Warfare: Ethical, Legal, Strategic and Human Rights Implications, David Cortright, Kristen Wall and Rachel Fairhurst, eds. (University of Chicago Press, in press).

“A Sword and a Shield: The Uses of Law in the Bush Administration,” in The Presidency of George W. Bush: A First Historical Assessment, Julian Zelizer, ed. (Princeton University Press, 2010).

"The Case of 'Death for a Dollar-Ninety-Five': Miscarriages of Justice and Constructions of American Identity," in Making Sense of Miscarriages of Justice, Charles Ogletree and Austin Sarat, eds. (New York University Press, 2009).

"Making Law, Making War, Making America," in The Cambridge History of Law in America (Christopher Tomlins and Michael Grossberg, eds.) (Cambridge University Press, 2008).

Presentations, Interviews, and Appearances

  • Presidential Lecture, Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations (2017)
  • Distinguished Commentator, Grotius Lecture, American Society for International Law (2017)
  • Closing Plenary Lecture, Conference of U.S. District Court Judges (2016)
  • Kluge Chair in American Law and Governance Lecture, Library of Congress (2015)
  • Keynote Address, Symposium on Culture and Conflict, Library of Congress and U.K. Arts and Humanities Research Council (2015)
  • "The Politics of Distant War: 1917, 1941, 1964” (US and the World Speaker Series) University of Washington, Seattle, May 21, 2015 (Additional presentation at The David M. Kennedy Lecture on the United States in the World in 2015, at Stanford University, May 12, 2015).
  • “War Without Violence” (Symposium on Framing Violence, plenary address) Duke University, April 17, 2015.
  • “War Without Violence: Rethinking the Totality of America’s World War II” (Symposium on Totality and War) The Center for Cultural Analysis, Rutgers University, April 7, 2015 (with an additional workshop “Totality and War,” April 8, 2015).
  • "The Civil Rights Movement and Its International Implications," at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, DC (February 27, 2015).
  • “Death and the War Power,” at the Center for the Study of Law and Society, University of California, Berkeley School of Law (September 29, 2014).
  • “War and Peace in Time and Space,” Lecture at the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law, University of Texas, Austin.
  • "A Conversation with Dr. Mary Dudziak," Interview, Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law, University of Texas, Austin.
  • “The Martial Spirit in American History: John Hope Franklin on Militarization and War,” Robert R. Wilson Lecture, Duke University School of Law.

Opinions and Essays