2022-2023 Rydell Professorship

Dr. Paul Finkelman

The Gustavus History Department is honored to welcome Dr. Paul Finkelman to serve as the 2022-2023 Rydell Professor. During the academic year, Dr. Finkelman will on campus on multiple occasions to be a part of classes, meet with students, and provide a public lecture.

Public Lecture - Thomas Jefferson: Apostle of Liberty or Father of American Racism?

Thomas Jefferson has been called the "Apostle of Liberty" because he was the author of the Declaration of Independence and supported religious liberty in Virginia. But he also owned many hundreds of enslaved African Americans throughout his adult life, including some of his own children, and he articulated "scientific" claims that Blacks could never be equal to Whites. So, how do we understand the third President. Should we revere him, hold up our hands in horror, or both? This lecture will explore these issues. The lecture from Monday, February 20 (Presidents' Day) may be found below.
Dr. Paul Finkelman's Background
Dr. Paul Finkelman is a specialist on American legal history, U. S. Constitutional law, race and law, American Jewish history, the law of American slavery, the First Amendment, religious liberty, the history of the Second Amendment, African American history, the American Civil War, and legal issues surrounding baseball.
He is former president of Gratz College and previously taught at the University of Saskatchewan, Duke Law School, the University of Tulsa Law School, the Albany Law School, the University of Ottawa School of Law, and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
He is author of more than 200 scholarly articles and more than fifty books. The United States Supreme Court has cited his work in four decisions and he has been cited in numerous decisions by other federal and state courts and in many appellate briefs.
He has lectured on slavery and human trafficking and on human rights issues at the United Nations, throughout the United States, and in more than a dozen other countries. In 2014 he was ranked as the fifth most cited legal historian in American legal scholarship in Brian Leiter’s “Top Ten Law Faculty (by area) in Scholarly Impact, 2009-2013.” He was an expert witness in the famous Alabama Ten Commandments Monument Case (Glassroth v. Moore) and in the law suit over the ownership of Barry Bonds’ 73rd home run ball (Popov v. Hayashi). In 2017 he held the Fulbright Chair in Human Rights and Social Justice at the University of Ottawa.

Professional Outreach

Professional appearances and articles by Dr. Finkelman during his time as the Rydell Professorship.
The Rydell Professorship at Gustavus Adolphus College is a scholar-in-residence program designed to bring Nobel laureates and similarly distinguished scholars to the campus as catalysts to enhance learning and teaching. The Rydell Professorship was established in 1993 by Drs. Robert E. and Susan T. Rydell to give students the opportunity to learn from and interact with leading scholars.

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