Ariela Gross

Professor of Law and History
Email Office LAW 406 Office Phone (213) 740-4793

Research & Practice Areas

US legal history; race, law, and culture in 19th century US; race, gender, and the law; comparative slavery studies; politics & history of memory.


Ariela Gross is John B. and Alice R. Sharp Professor of Law and History, and Co-Director of the Center for Law, History and Culture, at the University of Southern California, where she teaches History of American Law, Race & Gender in the Law, and Contracts. She has been a visiting Professor at Tel Aviv University and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, and will be in residence in June, 2010 at Kyoto University, sponsored by the Organization of American Historians and the Japanese Association of American Studies. Her most recent book, What Blood Won’t Tell: A History of Race on Trial in America (Harvard University Press, 2008), a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2009, was awarded the J. Willard Hurst Prize for outstanding scholarship in sociolegal history by the Law and Society Association, the Lillian Smith Book Award for a book that illuminates the people and problems of the South, and the American Political Science Association’s award for the best book on race, ethnicity, and politics.
Gross is also the author of Double Character: Slavery and Mastery in the Antebellum Southern Courtroom (Princeton University Press, 2000; ppb., University of Georgia Press, 2006), and numerous articles and book chapters, including most recently, “When is the Time of Slavery? The History of Slavery in Contemporary Legal and Political Argument” in the California Law Review (2008), and “The Constitution of History and Memory,” in Austin Sarat, et al., eds., Introduction to Law and the Humanities (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2009). Her research has been supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Frederick J. Burkhardt Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies, and an NEH Long-Term Fellowship at the Huntington Library. She is currently working on a study of law and the memory of slavery in the U.S., U.K. and France, as well as a comparative project on law, race and slavery in the Americas with Cuban historian Alejandro de la Fuente.


  • Ph.D. , Stanford University, 1/1996
  • J.D. , Stanford University, 1/1994
  • M.A. , Stanford University, 1/1991
  • B.A. , Harvard University, 1/1987
  • Tenure Track Appointments

    • John B. & Alice R. Sharp Professor of Law & History, USC, 09/01/2007 –
    • Professor of Law and History, University of Southern California, 01/01/2001 – 08/31/2007
    • Associate Professor, USC Law School, 01/01/1998 – 01/01/2001
    • Acting Assistant Professor of Law, Stanford Law School, 01/01/1996 –
    • Assistant Professor, USC Law School, 01/01/1996 – 01/01/1998
  • Summary Statement of Research Interests

    Professor Gross specializes in American legal history with an emphasis on race in the nineteenth century. She taught law and history at Stanford University prior to coming to USC.

    • USC Phi Kappa Phi Faculty Recognition Award, , 2002