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Serena Mayeri

Professor of Law and History

Serena Mayeri

Serena Mayeri’s scholarship focuses on the historical impact of progressive and conservative social movements on legal and constitutional change. Her book, Reasoning from Race: Feminism, Law, and the Civil Rights Revolution (Harvard University Press, 2011) received the Littleton-Griswold Prize from the American Historical Association and the Darlene Clark Hine Award from the Organization of American Historians. Continue reading…


REASONING FROM RACE: FEMINISM, LAW, AND THE CIVIL RIGHTS REVOLUTION (Harvard University Press, 2011; paperback edition, 2014).
[Available Here]

Articles and Book Chapters

After Suffrage: The Unfinished Business of Feminist Legal Advocacy, 129 YALE L. J. F. 512 (2020).

Un-Dueing Roe: Constitutional Conflict and Political Polarization in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, in REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS AND JUSTICE LAW STORIES (Reva B. Siegel, Melissa Murray, and Katherine Shaw eds., Foundation Press 2019).

Intersectionality and the Constitution of Family Status, 32 CONST. COMMENT. 377 (2017).

Foundling Fathers: (Non-)Marriage and Parental Rights in the Age of Equality, 125 YALE L.J. 2292 (2016).

Marriage (In)equality and the Historical Legacies of Feminism, 6 CALIF. L. REV. CIRCUIT 126 (2015).

Marital Supremacy and the Constitution of the Non-Marital Family, 103 CALIF. L. REV.1277 (2015).

Intersectionality and Title VII: A Brief (Pre-)History, 95 B. U. L. REV. 713 (2015) (Symposium: The Civil Rights Act at 50).

The Functions of Family Law, 163 U. PA. L. REV. ONLINE 377 (2015).

Queering the History of Sex Discrimination, Book Review of Phil Tiemeyer, PLANE QUEER: LABOR, SEXUALITY, AND AIDS IN THE HISTORY OF MALE FLIGHT ATTENDANTS, Jotwell, February 2015.

Pauli Murray and the Twentieth-Century Quest for Legal and Social Equality, 2 IND. J. L. & SOC. EQUALITY 85 (2014).

Historicizing the "End of Men": The Politics of Reaction(s), 93 B.U. L. REV 729 (2013).

A New ERA or an New Era? Amendment Advocacy and the Reconstitution of Feminism, 103 NW. U. L. REV. 1223 (2009), reprinted in WOMEN AND THE LAW (Jane Campbell Moriarty ed., 2010).

Reconstructing the Race-Sex Analogy, 49 WM. & MARY L. REV. 1789 (2008).

The Strange Career of Jane Crow: Sex Segregation and the Transformation of Anti-Discrimination Discourse, 18 YALE J. L. & HUM 187 (2006).

Constitutional Choices: Legal Feminism and the Historical Dynamics of Change, 92 CAL. L. REV. 755 (2004).

“When the Trouble Started”: Frontiero v. Richardson, in WOMEN AND THE LAW STORIES (Elizabeth M. Schneider & Stephanie M. Wildman, eds., 2011).

Civil Rights on Both Sides: Reproductive Rights and Free Speech in Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network of Western New York, in CIVIL RIGHTS STORIES (Foundation Press, 2008).

Filling in the (Gender) Gaps: A Response to Patricia Seith, Congressional Power to Effect Sex Equality, 36 HARV. J.L. & GENDER 1 (Feb. 2013).

Un-Dueing Roe: Constitutional Conflict and Political Polarization in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, in Reproductive Rights and Justice Law Stories (Melissa Murray, Kate Shaw, & Reva B. Siegel eds., 2019).
[Available Here]

The U.S. Women’s Jury Movements and Strategic Adaptation: A More Just Verdict. By Holly J. McCammon (2012), 100:1 J. AM. HIST. 247 (June 2013) (book review).

How Can the Marriage Equality Movement Reason from Race?, ACSBLOG (Sept. 8, 2011),

How and Why was Feminist Legal Strategy Transformed, 1960-1973? Women and Social Movements, 1600-2000 (website: Alexander Street Press, 2007--PennKey required).

Note, “A Common Fate of Discrimination”: Race/Gender Analogies in Legal and Historical Perspective, 110 YALE L. J. 1045 (2001).

More publications can be found here.

Working Papers

The Status of Marriage: Marital Supremacy Challenged and Remade, 1960-2000 (work-in-progress). (forthcoming)

The State of Illegitimacy After the Civil Rights Revolution, in INTIMATE STATES: GENDER, SEXUALITY, AND GOVERNANCE IN MODERN U.S. HISTORY (Margot Canaday, Nancy F. Cott, and Robert O. Self eds., University of Chicago Press, forthcoming). (forthcoming)

Race, Sexual Citizenship, and the Constitution of Nonmarital Motherhood, in HETEROSEXUAL HISTORIES (Rebecca L. Davis and Michele Mitchell eds., New York University Press, forthcoming 2021). (forthcoming)

Research Areas

  • Legal and constitutional history
  • Antidiscrimination law and policy
  • Family law and history
  • Civil Rights and Feminism
  • Marriage and its alternatives


Penn Law – Professor of Law and History (2011-); Assistant Professor (2006-11)

Law Clerk to the Hon. Guido Calabresi, U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit (2003-04)

New York University School of Law – Samuel I. Golieb Fellow (2004-06)

Professional Activities

Planning Committee, AALS Workshop on Women Rethinking Equality

Secretary, Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and the Humanities

Contributing Editor, Jotwell Legal History Section., 2010-present.

Peer Reviewer, Law and History Review, 2008-present; Oxford University Press, 2009- present.


  • Family Law
  • Law and Social Movements in Twentieth-Century America
  • Employment Discrimination
  • Gender and the Law in Recent American History
  • Feminist Legal Advocacy in the Twentieth-Century United States
  • Marriage: History and Law

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