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Nomi Stolzenberg
USC Gould School of Law

Nomi Stolzenberg

Nathan and Lilly Shapell Chair in Law

Telephone: (213) 740-2549
Fax: (213) 740-5502
699 Exposition Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90089-0074 USA Room: 476
SSRN Author Page: Link

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Last Updated: October 9, 2019

Nomi M. Stolzenberg joined the USC Gould School of Law faculty in 1988. Her research spans a range of interdisciplinary interests, including law and religion, cultural pluralism, law and liberalism, and law and literature. A strong proponent of multidisciplinary research and teaching, she helped establish the USC Center for Law, History and Culture, which involves scholars and students from throughout USC’s campus.

Stolzenberg’s scholarly publications are widely respected. Among them are the frequently cited “He Drew a Circle that Shut Me Out’: Assimilation, Indoctrination, and the Paradox of a Liberal Education” (Harvard Law Review), “The Profanity of Law” (in Law and the Sacred, Stanford University Press) and "Righting the Relationship Between Race and Religion in Law" (Oxford Journal of Legal Studies). Her most recent works focus on issues of religious accommodation ("It's About Money: The Fundamental Contradiction of Hobby Lobby) and political theology ("Political Theology With a Difference" and "Is There Such a Thing as Non-State Law? Lessons from Kiryas Joel.") She is currently at work on a book about the Satmar community of Kiryas Joel with David Myers, which explores the conundrum of an anti-secular, anti-modern, anti-liberal religious community flourishing in a modern liberal secular state.

A summa cum laude graduate of Yale University and a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, Stolzenberg was an editor on the Harvard Law Review and clerked for Judge John J. Gibbons of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, prior to joining USC Gould. She is a member of the Advisory Board of University of San Diego's Institute for Law and Religion; the Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities; and Phi Beta Kappa. She sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Law, Culture, and the Humanities. Stolzenberg teaches Family Law, a course on the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment, Property Law, Law and Literature, and seminars on a variety of interdisciplinary topics. She also teaches a course to undergraduates on "Concepts of Law."

Works in Progress

  • American Shtetl: Kiryas Joel Through The Lens of Jewish History and American Law.
  • "The Law of the Father and the Law of the Mother: Psychoanalytic Models of Law."

Articles and Book Chapters

  • Bookshelf: "Divine Accommodation and the Fiction of Law," 14 Law, Culture and the Humanities 531 (2018) - (www)
  • "Is There Such a Thing as Non-State Law? Lesson from Kiryas Joel," in Negotiating State and Non-State Law: The Challenge of Global and Local Legal Pluralism (Michael Helfand, ed., Cambridge University Press, 2015).
  • “The Return of Religion: The Rise, Decline, and Possible Resurrection of Legal Secularism,” in The Handbook of Law and Society (Austin Sarat and Patricia Ewick, eds., Wiley-Blackwell, 2015).
  • "Introduction: Religious Accommodation in the Age of Civil Rights" (with Douglas Nejaime). 38 Harvard Journal of Law and Gender vii (2015). - (Hein)
  • "It's About Money: The Fundamental Contradiction of Hobby Lobby," 88 Southern California Law Review 727 (2015). - (Hein)
  • "Political Theology with a Difference," 4 UC Irvine Law Review 407 (2014). - (Hein)
  • "Righting the Relationship Between Race and Religion in Law," 31 Oxford J. of Legal Studies 583 (2011). - (PDF)
  • “Free Speech and Free Love: The Law and Literature of the First Amendment” (with Hilary M. Schor), in Teaching Law and Literature (Austin Sarat, Catherine O. Frank & Matthew Anderson, eds., Modern Language Association, 2011). - (PDF)
  • Comment on Annelise Riles's "Collateral Expertise" (with R.C. Lim), 51 Current Anthropology 6 (2010). - (PDF)
  • "Rethinking Secularization Theory: The Case of the Hasidic Public Square" (with David N. Myers), AJS Perspectives (Spring 2011). - (PDF)
  • “Facts on the Ground,” in Property and Community (Eduardo Penalver & Gregory Alexander, eds., Oxford U. Press, 2010). - (PDF)
  • Board of Education of Kiryas Joel Village School District v. Grumet: A Religious Group's Quest For Its Own Public School,” in Law and Religion: Cases in Context (Leslie C. Griffin, ed., Aspen, 2010). - (PDF)
  • “Liberalism in Love,” 28 Quinnipiac Law Review 593 (2010). - (Hein)
  • "Theses on Secularism," 47 San Diego Law Review 1041 (2010). - (Hein)
  • “Maternity and Paternity,” in The Child: An Encyclopedic Companion (Richard Schweder, ed., University of Chicago Press, 2009. - (PDF)
  • “Liberalism in a Romantic State,” 5 Law, Culture and the Humanities 194 (2009). - (PDF)
  • “The Profanity of Law,” in Law and the Sacred (Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas & Martha Merrill Umphrey, eds., Stanford U. Press, 2007). - (PDF)
  • “Anti-Anxiety Law: Winnicott and the Legal Fiction of Paternity,” 64 American Imago 339 (2007). - (PDF)
  • “Waldron’s Locke and Locke’s Waldron: A Review of Jeremy Waldron’s God, Locke, and Equality” (with Gideon Yaffe), 49 Inquiry 186 (2006). - (PDF)
  • “Liberals and Libertines: The Marriage Question in the Liberal Political Imagination,” 42 San Diego Law Review 949 (2005). - (Hein)
  • “'Spiritual Custody': Religious Freedom and Coercion in the Family,” in The Jewish Role in American Life: An Annual Review, Volume 3, 1-39 (Barry Glassner & Hilary Taub Lachoff, eds., 2004). - (PDF)
  • “The Phantom of Integration, or the Uncanny Case of Kaadan,” in 2 The Jewish Political Tradition 554-561 (Michael Walzer, Yair Lorberbaum & Noam Zohar, eds.) (Yale U. Press, 2003). - (PDF)
  • “Bastard Daughters and Illegitimate Mothers: Burning Down the Courthouse” (co-authored with Hilary M. Schor) in REAL Yearbook of Research in English and American Literature: Law and Literature, Volume 18, 109-129 (2002). - (PDF)
  • “The Culture of Property,” in Engaging Cultural Differences: The Multicultural Challenge in Liberal Democracies (Richard Shweder, Martha Minow, & Hazel Rose Markus, eds., Russell Sage Foundation Press, 2002). - (PDF)
  • “The Return of the Repressed: Illiberal Groups in a Liberal State,” 12 Journal of Contemporary Legal Issues 897 (2002). - (Hein)
  • "What We Talk About When We Talk About Culture," 103 American Anthropologist 442 (June 2001).
  • "The Culture of Property," 129 Daedalus 169 (2000).
  • “Bentham’s Theory of Legal Fictions -- A ‘Curious Double Language’,” 11 Cardozo Studies in Law and Literature 223 (1999). - (Hein)
  • "Jiminy Cricket: A Commentary on Professor Hill's Four Conceptions of Conscience," in NOMOS XL: Integrity and Conscience (Ian Shapiro & Robert Adams, eds., New York University Press, 1998).
  • Book Review: "A Book of Laughter and Forgetting: Kalman's 'Strange Career' and the Marketing of Civic Republicanism," 111 Harvard Law Review 1025 (1998). - (Hein)
  • "Marriage As a Legal Metaphor: Commentary on Rachel Adler," 7 S. Cal. Review of Law & Women's Studies 203 (1998). - (Hein)
  • “A Tale of Two Villages (or Legal Realism Comes to Town,” in NOMOS XXXIX: Ethnicity and Group Rights (Ian Shapiro & Will Kymlicka, eds., New York University Press, 1997). - (PDF)
  • “The Puzzling Persistence of Community: The Cases of Airmont and Kiryas Joel,” in From Ghetto to Emancipation: Historical and Contemporary Reconsiderations of the Jewish Community (David N. Myers & William V. Rowe, eds., University of Scranton Press, 1997). - (PDF)
  • "Un-Covering the Tradition of Jewish 'Dissimilation': Frankfurter, Bickel, and Cover on Judicial Review," 3 Law & Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal 809 (1994). - (Hein)
  • "'He Drew A Circle That Shut Me Out': Assimilation, Indoctrination, and the Paradox of A Liberal Education,” 106 Harvard Law Review 581 (1993). - (Hein)
  • "Community, Constitution, and Culture: The Case of the Jewish Kehilah" (co-authored with David N. Meyers), 25 Michigan Journal of Law Reform 633 (1992). - (Hein)
  • Note, "Political Rights as Political Questions: The Paradox of Luther v. Borden," 100 Harvard Law Review 1125 (1987). - (Hein)


West Central Tribune
September 7, 2021
Re: Susan Estrich

Susan Estrich wrote an op-ed about the hypocrisy of certain laws in Texas. "You have to hand it to those Texans," she wrote. "On one hand, they believe in liberty — to not wear a mask. But for the victim of rape or incest to have control over her body? No way."


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