Thursday, April 30, 2009

Medieval scholar awarded Fulbright Fellowship

Mark S. Weiner, Professor of Law and Sidney I. Reitman Scholar at Rutgers School of Law-Newark, has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright Fellowship to teach and undertake research at the University of Akureyri, Iceland, for the fall term of the 2009-2010 academic year.

As a Fulbright Scholar, Weiner will teach an intensive course on U.S. constitutional law and conduct research for his new book on the transformation of clan identity and the development of the rule of law. Professor Weiner, a member of the Rutgers-Newark law faculty since 2001, is an award-winning legal historian and author. His first book, Black Trials: Citizenship From the Beginnings of Slavery to the End of Caste (Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), was selected a 2005 Silver Gavel Award winner by the American Bar Association. His latest book, Americans without Law: The Racial Boundaries of Citizenship (NYU Press, 2006), received the President's Book Award from the Social Science History Association.

The first chapter of Professor Weiner's new book will likely focus on Iceland, whose history provides a valuable case study of the relation between legal development and clan identity. Many of the country's popular medieval Sagas concern law and the legal process and, Weiner explains, generally law plays as central a symbolic role in Icelandic national identity as the Constitution does in the United States. He is especially interested in the medieval legal history of the island and the contemporary popular historical consciousness of that legal past.

The Fulbright Program is the most widely recognized and prestigious international exchange program in the world, supported for more than 60 years through an annual appropriation from the U.S. Congress and by the people of partner nations. The program - working with universities, schools, binational Fulbright commissions, government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector - actively seeks out individuals of achievement and potential who represent the full diversity of their respective societies and selects nominees through open, merit-based competitions.