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Brittany Farr

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Brittany Farr

Sharswood Fellow

Brittany Farr is a scholar of private law and race. With more than a decade of interdisciplinary training, her research draws on history, legal theory, and cultural studies to theorize how marginalized populations have availed themselves of otherwise inhospitable legal regimes. In particular, her research focuses on enslaved and free African Americans’ use of contract law during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Farr’s current works in progress—Unfreedom and Contract and Breach by Violence—illustrate how contract law mediated African Americans’ relationship to bodily autonomy, economic freedom, and legal agency both during and after slavery. Farr has also co-authored policy reports on mental health and banking, as well as on gender and mass incarceration.

Farr earned a J.D. from Yale Law School in 2019, and was a recipient of the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund’s Earl Warren Scholarship, which is awarded to law students with a demonstrated commitment to racial justice. Prior to law school, Farr earned a Ph.D. in Communication from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California. Her dissertation, Reproducing Fear Amid Fears of Reproduction: The Black Maternal Body in U.S. Law, Media, and Policy examined how persistent fears about black motherhood and reproduction have shaped certain laws, public health campaigns, and popular culture. Her first chapter, which theorizes slavery as a reproductive technology, received the Louise Kerckhoff Prize for Best Graduate Paper from USC’s Center for Feminist Research.

Farr’s interest in the interplay between law and culture was sparked as a Folklore & Mythology major while an undergraduate at Harvard College.


  • JDYale Law School19
  • PhD (Communication)University of Southern California16
  • ABHarvard College10