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Ariela Gross
USC Gould School of Law

Ariela Gross

John B. and Alice R. Sharp Professor of Law and History

Telephone: (213) 740-4793
Fax: (213) 740-5502
699 Exposition Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90089-0074 USA Room: 440
Personal Website: Link
SSRN Author Page: Link

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Last Updated: April 11, 2022

Ariela Gross is a legal historian whose research and writing focus on race, racism, and slavery in the Americas. She is a founder and co-director of the Center for Law, History, and Culture, and teaches Contracts, History of American Law, Race and Gender in the Law, Constitutional Law-Rights, and undergraduate courses on Law, Slavery, and Race, and American Legal History. She was recognized for her teaching and mentorship by a William J. Rutter Distinguished Teaching Award in 2017 and a Mellon Mentoring Award in 2011.

Gross is the author, with Alejandro de la Fuente of Harvard University, of Becoming Free, Becoming Black: Race, Freedom, and Law in Cuba, Virginia, and Louisiana (Cambridge University Press, 2020), winner of the John Philip Reid Book Award from the American Society for Legal History for the best book by a mid-career or senior scholar on Anglo-American Legal History, and the Order of the Coif Award for the best book on law. She and de la Fuente discuss the book here and here.

She is also the author of What Blood Won’t Tell: A History of Race on Trial in America (Harvard University Press, 2008), which won the J. Willard Hurst Prize for the best book in sociolegal history from the Law and Society Association; the Lillian Smith Book Award for the best book on the South from the Southern Regional Council; the American Political Association's prize for the best book on Race, Ethnicity, and Politics, and was a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title. Gross also wrote Double Character: Slavery and Mastery in the Antebellum Southern Courtroom (Princeton University Press, 2000; in paperback by University of Georgia Press, 2006) and is the co-author of several history textbooks, including American Stories (Pearson Longman Pub., 5th ed., 2020).

Gross received her BA from Harvard University, her JD from Stanford Law School, and her PhD in History from Stanford University. In 2021-22, she was the Joy Foundation Fellow at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute, and has also been a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University (2017-18), an American Council of Learned Societies Collaborative Research Fellow (2017-18), a Guggenheim Fellow (2003-04), a Frederick J. Burkhardt Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies (2003-04), and an NEH Huntington Library Long-Term Fellow (2003-04).


  • Becoming Free, Becoming Black: Race, Freedom, and Law in Cuba, Virginia, and Louisiana (with Alejandro de la Fuente) (Cambridge University Press, 2020; ppb. 2022). (John Philip Reid Book Award of the ASLH, co-winner of the Order of the Coif Award. - (www)
  • What Blood Won’t Tell: A History of Race on Trial in America (Harvard University Press, 2008; ppb. 2010). (CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title, co-winner of the J. Willard Hurst Prize, the Lillian Smith Book Award, and the APSA-Race. Ethnicity & Politics Best Book Award) Reviews and interviews available on
  • Double Character: Slavery and Mastery in the Antebellum Southern Courtroom (Princeton University Press, 2000; ppb. University of Georgia Press, 2006). - (www)
  • American Stories: A History of the United States,  4th ed. (with William Brand, Timothy Breen, and Hal Williams) (Pearson, 2018). - (www)
  • America Past & Present, and The American Story, 10th ed., (with Robert Divine, William Brand, Timothy Breen, and Hal Williams) (Pearson, 2013). - (www)

Articles and Book Chapters

  • “A Grassroots History of Colorblind Conservative Constitutionalism,” 44 Law & Social Inquiry 58 (2019) - (www)
  • “Introduction: Celebrating Bob Gordon’s Taming the Past,” (with Susanna L. Blumenthal), 70 Stanford Law Review 1623 (2018). - (Hein)
  • “Bob Gordon’s Critical Historicism and The Pursuit of Justice,” 70 Stanford Law Review 1633 (2018). - (Hein)
  • Editor, Special Issue: "'A Crime Against Humanity': Slavery and The Boundaries of Legality, Past and Present," 35 Law and History Review (2017).
  • “Introduction: A Crime Against Humanity: Slavery and The Boundaries of Legality, Past and Present,”  35 Law and History Review 1 (2017). - (Hein)
  • "The New Abolitionism, International Law, and The Memory of Slavery" (with Chantal Thomas), 35 Law and History Review 99 (2017). Reprinted in A Stain On Our Past: Slavery and Memory, Abdoulaye Gueye and Johann Michel, eds. (Africa World Press Books, 2018). - (Hein)
  • "Boundary Crossings: Slavery and Freedom, Legality and Illegality, Past and Present" (with Alejandro de la Fuente), 35 Law and History Review 119 (2017). - (Hein)
  • "Article IV, Section 2" (with David R. Upham), in The Interactive Constitution, National Constitution Center (2016). - (www)
  • "Laws of Blood: The Invisible Common Sense of Race in U.S. Courtrooms," in Dismantling The Race Myth 1: 139-161 (Tokyo University Press, 2016).
  • "On Race and Law," in Printed_Matter: Online Journal of Centro Primo Levi (May 2015). - (www)
  • "Manumission and Freedom in the Americas: Cuba, Louisiana, Virginia, 1500s-1700s" (with Alejandro de la Fuente), Quaderni Storici (January 2015), pp. 15-48. - (PDF)
  • "Never Forget? Jewish Identity, History, Memory, Slavery, and The Constitution," in "Symposium: People of the Book," 16 Rutgers Journal of Law & Religion 294 (2015). - (Hein)
  • "Slaves, Free Blacks and Race in the Legal Regimes of Cuba, Louisiana, and Virginia: A Comparison" (with Alejandro de la Fuente), in "Symposium on Race Trials" 91 North Carolina Law Review 1699 (2013). - (Hein)
  • "All Born to Freedom? Comparing the Law and Politics of Race and the Memory of Slavery in the U.S. and France Today," 21 Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal 523 (2012). - (Hein)
  • "From the Streets to the Courts: Doing Grassroots Legal History of the Civil Rights Era." A Review of Courage to Dissent: Atlanta and the Long History of the Civil Rights Movement, by Tomiko Brown Nagin. 90 Texas Law Review 1233 (2012). - (Hein)
  • "Teaching Humanities Softly: Bringing A Critical Approach to the First-Year Contracts Class Through Trial and Error," in "Symposium on Excavating and Integrating Law and Humanities in the Core Curriculum” (AALS Section on Law and Humanities Program) 3 California Law Review Circuit 19 (2012). - (www)
  • Unsex Parenting, or, What's So Bad About the 1970s: A Comment on Darren Rosenblum, Unsex Mothering," in Harvard Journal of Law & Gender, online (2012).
  • "Essay: Race, Law and Comparative History," 29 Law and History Review 549 (2011). - (Hein)
  • "Comparative Studies of Law, Slavery, and Race in the Americas" (with Alejandro de la Fuente), 6 Annual Review of Law & Social Science 469 (2010). - (PDF)
  • Reply to USC Law Review's Symposium: "What We Do When "Blood Won't Tell," 83 University of Southern California Law Review 495 (2010). - (PDF)
  • Book Review: Neither Fugitive nor Free: Atlantic Slavery, Freedom Suits, and the Legal Culture of Travel by Edlie L. Wong, 31 Slavery and Abolition 553 (2010). - (PDF)
  • “The Constitution of History and Memory,” in Companion to Law and the Humanities: An Introduction (Austin Sarat, Mathew Anderson, and Catherine O. Frank, eds.) (Cambridge University Press, 2009). - (PDF)
  • “When Is The Time of Slavery? The History of Slavery in Contemporary Legal and Political Argument,” 96 California Law Review 283 (2008). - (Hein)
  • “Slavery, Antislavery, and the Coming of the Civil War,” in The Cambridge History of Law in America (Christopher Tomlins and Michael Grossberg, eds., Cambridge University Press, 2008). - (SSRN) - (PDF)
  • “History, Race, and Prediction," in "Review Symposium: Bernard Harcourt, Against Prediction," 33 Law & Social Inquiry 235 (2008). - (Hein)
  • "'Of Portuguese Origin': Litigating Identity and Citizenship among The 'Little Races' in Nineteenth Century America," 25 Law and History Review 467 (2007). - (Hein)
  • “'The Caucasian Cloak': Mexican Americans and The Politics of Whiteness in The Twentieth Century Southwest,” 95 Georgetown Law Journal 337 (2007) (reprinted in Critical Race Theory: The Cutting Edge, 3rd ed., Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, eds. (Temple University Press, 2013). - (Hein)
  • "Reflections on Law, Culture, and Slavery," in Slavery and the American South (Winthrop D. Jordan, ed., University of Mississippi Press, 2003).
  • “Texas Mexicans and The Politics of Whiteness,” 21 Law and History Review 195 (2003). - (Hein)
  • "Litigating Whiteness: Trials of Racial Determination in the Nineteenth-Century South," 108 Yale Law Journal 109 (1998) (excerpted in Kevin R. Johnson, ed., Mixed Race America and the Law: A Reader, New York University Press, 2003). - (Hein)
  • "Beyond Black and White: Cultural Approaches to Race and Slavery," 101 Columbia Law Review 640 (2001). - (Hein)
  • "The Law and The Culture of Slavery: Natchez, Mississippi," in Local Matters: Race, Crime and Justice in the Nineteenth-Century South (Donald Nieman & Christopher Waldrep, eds., Univ. of Georgia Press, 2001).
  • Book Review: White Women, Black Men: Illicit Sex in the Nineteenth-Century South, by Martha Hodes. 18 Law and History Review 686 (Fall 2000). - (Hein)
  • "The Contraction of Freedom," review of From Bondage to Contract, by Amy Dru Stanley. Reviews in American History 28 (2000) 255-62.
  • Book Review: Slave Laws in Virginia, by Philip Schwarz, 42 American Journal of Legal History 97-98 (1998). - (Hein)
  • "Pandora's Box: Slave Character on Trial in the Antebellum Deep South," 7 Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities 267 (Summer, 1995) (reprinted in Slavery and the Law 291 (Paul Finkelman, ed.) (Madison House, 1997). - (Hein)
  • "'Like Master, Like Man': Constructing Whiteness in the Commercial Law of Slavery, 1800-1861," in "Symposium: Bondage, Freedom and the Constitution," 18 Cardozo Law Review 263 (1996). - (Hein)


LLM Guide
June 5, 2023
Re: USC Gould School of Law

Law schools have been adapting to the increase in technological advancements, especially with the increased need for attorneys with the creation of AI. “Attorneys work on the front end, conducting threat assessments to ensure that their clients’ systems and data are protected, and on the back end, to navigate any legal issues that may arise as a result of the attacks," Gruzas said.


Robin Craig
May, 2023

"Did Sackett Bring Clarity to 'Waters of the United States'?," 54:6 Trends (forthcoming July/August 2023) (accepted May 31, 2023).

Robin Craig
May, 2023

"Tribal Water Rights and Tribal Health: the Klamath Tribes and the Navajo Nation During the Covid-19 Pandemic," 16 Saint Louis University Journal of Health Law & Policy 35 (published 2023), was summarized and promoted on the Race, Racism, and the Law website run by Professor Vernellia Randall, University of Dayton School of Law.

Robin Craig
May, 2023

"Governing Shifting Species and Changing Ecosystems: What role Might Ecological Grief Play?," keynote address at the Species on the Move 2023 International Conference, Bonito Springs, Florida, on May 19, 2023.