Last week, at the American Society for Legal History’s annual meeting in Toronto, Ontario, UC Hastings Professor Reuel Schiller was given the John Phillip Reid Book Award for his book, Forging Rivals: Race, Class, Law, and the Collapse of Postwar Liberalism (Cambridge University Press, 2015).
The Reid Award is given annually by the Society for the best monograph by a mid-career or senior scholar, published in English in any of the fields defined broadly as Anglo-American legal history.
Forging Rivals uses a series of stories about labor struggles in the Bay Area to examine the development of labor law and fair employment practices law in the years after World War II. Professor Schiller demonstrates that the contradictions between these two legal regimes helped to set the two major interest groups at the heart of Democratic Party’s political coalition – African Americans and labor unions – against each other. This conflict, in turn, led to the collapse of liberalism’s political power in the 1970s.
In its award citation, the prize committee lauded Schiller for his “careful and wide-ranging research, strong argumentation, and beautiful writing, which masterfully synthesizes legal with intellectual, political, and social history in an important and readable narrative.” Forging Rivals, which was also given an honorable mention for the Law and Society Association’s J. Willard Hurst Prize, has received rave reviews in the American Historical Review, the Journal of American History, and California Legal History.
According to UC Hastings Associate Dean for Research Scott Dodson, “Professor Schiller’s award-winning book is yet another example of the immense breadth and depth of interdisciplinary scholarship at UC Hastings.”
The American Society for Legal History also announced the appointment of Professor Schiller as a co-editor of Studies in Legal History, the book series published jointly by the Society and Cambridge University Press.
Studies in Legal History has published award-winning legal history books since 1971. It is dedicated to the understanding of law as both a product of and contributor to history. Its books explore questions of how law shapes culture, power, and society, and vice versa, as well as the people who shape the law, and how laws shape human choices and how and why it reshapes them over time.
“I am deeply honored to become a co-editor of the Society’s Studies in Legal History series,” Professor Schiller said. “The series’ list is a tremendous one, and its role in nurturing young legal historians is exceptionally important. I appreciate the opportunity to advance the work of the series in this exciting time for our discipline.”