This is Alfred Brophy's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Alfred Brophy's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Alfred Brophy
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
I teach and write in property, trusts and estates, and legal history. I am completing an extensive book on jurisprudence in the old south, focusing around academics, property, and slavery.
Recent Activity
Owen, you are, of course, correct. Nicely done. I don't know the story of Justice Wilson, but this is where State v. Mann was tried, I believe. Sally Greene will know infinitely more about this than I do. And I think Martha also has a story about a manumission that took place here.... Really beautiful courthouse isn't it?
Yes, absurdly difficult, Owen. You've got the right political party (more or less) with Fenton. Further to the hints, it's not Dan Quail's house. That is, it's not the house of someone elected vice-president.
Very cool, Sarah. It never ceases to surprise me how much insight we can squeeze out of criminal law cases.
Hi Anon, You've raised some great issues, asked some important questions about legal education's commitment to reform in the Depression, and set out an ambitious research agenda. But you're asking the article to do more than it's attempting. Anders is focused on the changes in Llewellyn's thought as a gauge of changing attitudes towards professional education and interdisciplinary perspectives on law. Dealing with how, if at all, this affected lawyers' ability to get jobs is a different project -- also an enormously difficult one and can't be accomplished in one paper, I wouldn't think.
Welcome, Sarah! Go Sooners.
Congratulations, David!
I agree with everything you say, ajr.
Toggle Commented Sep 23, 2013 on The Invisible Man Disappears at The Faculty Lounge
Further thoughts here on the school board. I think the things we need to emphasize in response to Parson's complaint are, that the sex is an important part of the critique of racism; it's not gratuitous. (I wondered why the complaint doesn't she mention that naked white woman with the American flag painted on her body from chapter 1? But that's aside from the point right now.) Second, the novel is incredibly important as a historical document -- that is, it says a lot about American thought in the middle part of the twentieth century and it helps mark the whole-sale remaking of our attitudes towards equality; third, it continues to be among the most spoken-about novels in American history. And finally, it's quite a moderate book. I'd drive out to Asheboro for the meeting myself (I now realize it's only about an hour from Chapel Hill), but I'm headed out to the land of Ellison (Oklahoma City) at the end of the week for a conference. Ah, well. At least we know who the historians are on Wednesday and it's pretty clear how they'll put it down.
Toggle Commented Sep 22, 2013 on The Invisible Man Disappears at The Faculty Lounge
Thanks for this update, E. I'm delighted to hear it and I wish I could attend the meeting. Sounds like this ill-considered decision is going to be reversed.
Toggle Commented Sep 22, 2013 on The Invisible Man Disappears at The Faculty Lounge
Not at all, ajr. Thanks for asking. By way of background, one of the key themes of Ellison's work is the ways that we are bound together on issues that cross racial lines. While IM is often thought of as a novel of particular importance to the African American experience, it is also about how some things we think of as central to the American experience come from the African American experience. (I'm thinking here of the scene in the paint factory where black paint dropped into the white paint made the white paint even whiter. Wasn't it National Monument White or some such?) But Ellison was also interested in other unifying themes. He said at one point he hoped he'd live to see the first African American (maybe he said black) president, but that even if he did, that person would be more shaped by his American-ness than his blackness. I think he was right on in terms of President Obama. And that's been the cause of a lot of disappointment among many Obama supporters, I suspect. But to return to my statement: while I suspect that Ellison wouldn't have liked the banning one bit he would have enjoyed that it was the subject of controversy for something other than race. One further thought on this -- I actually think that the issues with sex are racial, but Ms. Parson isn't seeing them that way. I hope to have a lot more to say about this down the road.
Toggle Commented Sep 22, 2013 on The Invisible Man Disappears at The Faculty Lounge
Thanks for this, CM -- I didn't know any of those stories about Hackney. I agree that there's something about having spent a lot of time in the south that improves the focus of southern history. (I can't speak to the having been born in the south part of this, but I could see how that might very well be true.) There is the potential problem of too much fondness for a subject bending our perspective -- but being a part of (or at least immersed in) a culture is a huge benefit in studying it. And historians from the south can speak in terms and with nuance that can be heard by their audience. As to the Alabama sorority story: I predicted a week ago that whatever alumnae stood in the way of integration would be unceremoniously tossed off the boards of their sororities (or find that their work and/or family obligations prevented them from continuing on the board) and that next year we'd see progress on this. I'm glad to see that at least as to the progress part of this I was off by 11 months and 3 weeks. What's not clear to me -- and I very much hope that the Crimson White will continue its coverage of this -- is just how many people stood in the sorority door (so to speak). Some of the reporting I've seen suggests it was less than a handful. I like to think that was the case. I am grateful for every ray of sunshine and so am of course heartened by recent events in Tuscaloosa. I want to hear the story of how the administration fit into this picture and whether they were -- as I hope -- leading the push or were simply responding once it became clear that no one in power in the state supported the status quo.
Toggle Commented Sep 21, 2013 on Sheldon Hackney (1933 - 2013) at The Faculty Lounge
That's right, Charles. Nicely done.
Toggle Commented Sep 21, 2013 on Civil War Monument Trivia at The Faculty Lounge
Further to Bob Strasfeld's comment, I remember when I was in my first semester (must have been first week or two, actuall) of law school having a conversation with one of my classmates about how we didn't know that Oliver Wendell Holmes (whom we knew as a poet) was also a judge. Didn't take long to forget about the pre-law school Holmes. Though down the road I do want to talk a little bit about his 1859 novel, Elsie Venner, which has a subplot of division of property among heirs.
Congratulations to Kent and to Syracuse! Very exciting.
Congratulations, Brando!
Toggle Commented Sep 9, 2013 on It Can Soon Be Yours! at The Faculty Lounge
Michelle -- very interested in your thoughts on the political orientation of utiliarianism. I face similar questions with my 19th century thinkers/politicians/judges. We usually associate utilitarianism with Bentham and Mill -- both antislavery. Yet, a lot of the proslavery types employed utilitarian calculations. So often when I talk about the proslavery politicians and judges and how they were employed considerations of utility I get people asking (in essence), how can that be? Utiliarians are anti-slavery. And some of my proslavery southerners explicitly criticize Bentham and/or Mill. A lot of the explanation is what values one plugs into the calculations of utility.
That's interesting and I guess disturbing if we think that peer review for books is less rigorous than articles.
Larry, I'm confused by your first paragraph. Are you saying Stuntz' claims were made in a book? I'm guessing so, given that Schulhofer reviewed it in the Michigan book review issue. Certainly the book undergo peer review. Or are you suggesting that books get a different (and perhaps less rigorous) peer review than articles?
I think we're going to be hearing a lot about this book. It has lot of themes that are important -- slavery, commerce, universities (particularly elite northern schools). I'm very much looking forward to September 17.
Toggle Commented Sep 2, 2013 on Wilder on Ebony and Ivy at The Faculty Lounge
You are, as always, correct, Jason. Nicely done!
Toggle Commented Aug 26, 2013 on Antebellum Courthouse Trivia at The Faculty Lounge
Really interesting work, Sarah. I haven't thought much about this, at all. But I can think of two examples of audience-oriented crime that might be related to this. The first are the tar and feather mobs of the Revolutionary era (I guess I'm thinking about this because I pulled Pauline Maier's From Resistance to Revolution off the shelf to spend a little time thinking about how when I heard she'd passed away a few weeks back.) I guess the mob mentality amplified the desire to tar and feather. But I'm not sure whether there was ever criminal liability for the audience. I'd be curious to know that. Seems like there would have been a good incentive to punish those who witnessed as well as those who participated actively in the crime as a deterrent. (And now that I'm thinking about this, I think these kinds of questions came up in New York's anti-rent movement in the 1830s/1840s. Need to pull Chuck McCury's outstanding book off the shelf to check how/if that was handled.) As to the presence of witnesses who maybe could have intervened but didn't, in the twentieth century some states had anti-lynching legislation that made municipalities/counties liable for lynchings in their jurisdiction. The idea was to impose liability without fault to encourage local officials to do what they could to prevent lynchings. I'm thinking that's a somewhat stronger version of the spectator liability that you refer to. That is, even if local officials weren't spectators, the local government had civil liability.
Toggle Commented Aug 25, 2013 on Audience-Oriented Wrongs at The Faculty Lounge
This is proving tougher than I'd expected. Are Owen and Jason on vacation?
Toggle Commented Aug 25, 2013 on Antebellum Courthouse Trivia at The Faculty Lounge
Eric, I don't know the breakdown of 2L and 3L enrollment in his seminar on current issues in racism and the law. My guess is it tended towards 3Ls. I take President Obama's proposal was off-the-cuff, though I'd be very interested if there was some discussion behind the scenes about this. I know virtually nothing about the operation of the White House, but I would have suspected that pretty much everything Obama says is scripted. Maybe I'm wrong on this? Or maybe there's some serious discussion in the White House about higher education policy that's focused on law schools. I'd be interested in other people's thoughts here.
They are both quite similar houses. Lots of stone! I thought I'd asked about Washington's headquarters at Brandywine a while back, back I can't seem to find that. So maybe that's one to use down the road.
You got it, Juliet. Very nicely done. I'm not sure there are any photographs (at least none that seem easily accessible) taken from this vantage -- the front is much more popular. I think the front is actually one of the most-photographed images/buildings related to the Revolutionary war. There's a real distinct style to southeastern Pennsylvania architecture, isn't there? I had the chance to spend a lovely couple of hours at Valley Forge last time I was home in Philadelphia. I'd last been there as a child, so my memory of the park wasn't great. They've done a really nice job interpreting the winter from all sorts of perspectives -- the forge, the soldiers, the military objectives. I was particularly interested in the reconstructed soldiers' cabins -- they weren't grand, to say the least. Wouldn't want to have to winter in them. Even Washington's headquarters seemed far from sumptuous. The park makes some interesting (to me) interpretation of the law at Valley Forge (court martials), which surprised/intrigued me. I certainly didn't expect talk of a gay soldier drummed out of camp or of prosecutions of deserters.