Penn Arts & Sciences has awarded one of three Klein Family Social Justice Grants to Sarah Barringer Gordon, Arlin M Adams Professor of Constitutional Law and Professor of History and Kathleen Brown, the David Boies Professor of History, for their project, Free State Slavery and Bound Labor: Pennsylvania.
Klein Family Social Justice grants are given to faculty-led projects that will contribute to the achievement of social justice through research and teaching, and through community engagement rooted in the arts and sciences.
Gordon and Brown’s project will create and launch a course examining slavery in Pennsylvania, where the effects of race-based bondage have long been underestimated. Undergraduate students will explore the legal history of enslavement and resistance through legal materials, newspapers, and other primary documents.
Gordon is well known for her work on religion in American public life and the law of church and state, especially for the ways that religious liberty developed over the course of American national history.
She is a frequent commentator in news media on the constitutional law of religion and debates about religious freedom. Her current book project is Freedom’s Holy Light: Disestablishment in America, 1776-1876, about the historical relationship between religion, politics, and law.
Klein Family Social Justice Grants are an annual grant program offering awards for academic activities that use the arts and sciences to contribute to positive social change in the United States, including in Penn’s engagement with its surrounding community. They are intended to stimulate scholarship and education on topics of anti-racism, inclusion, diversity, and social justice, and to promote additional opportunities for community engagement.