- Ph.D., 2008, University of Chicago
M.A., 2002, University of Chicago
A.B., 2000, University of Chicago
Gautham Rao is a legal historian of revolutionary America and the Early American Republic. He completed his undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Chicago. He has been a postdoctoral fellow at the Library Company of Philadelphia, Samuel I. Golieb Fellow of Legal History at the New York University School of Law, and has served as a visiting professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris. His first book, National Duties: Custom Houses and the Making of the American State was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2016. He is currently working on projects about the legal history of slavery and the law of conspiracy in American history. He is also co-authoring a historian's amicus brief on the meaning of the Foreign Emoluments Clause for the case Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) v. Donald J. Trump. In November, 2017 he became the Editor of Law and History Review, the leading scholarly journal of legal history.
At American University, Rao teaches a wide range of courses, including General Education courses Why Big Government?, American Encounters and Social Forces that Shaped America, as well as graduate offerings such as Colloquium in U.S. History 1, Research Seminar, and The Historian's Craft.
HIST-751 Graduate Research Seminar
HIST-898 Doctoral Continuing Enrollment
HIST-899 Doctoral Dissertation
Area of Expertise
early American history; early American legal history; legal history concerning U.S. slavery.
Prof. Gautham Rao's opinion articles have appeared in Slate, and he has been quoted on issues in contemporary politics in CQ Roll Call, WRC-NBC4 and Salon.