Book cover for Laws Infamy Edited by Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas, and Martha M. Umphrey
Law's Infamy: Understanding the Canon of Bad Law

“From the murder of George Floyd to the systematic dismantling of voting rights, our laws and their implementation are actively shaping the course of our nation. But however abhorrent a legal decision might be―whether Dred Scott v. Sanford or Plessy v. Ferguson―the stories we tell of the law’s failures refer to their injustice and rarely label them in the language of infamy. Yet in many instances, infamy is part of the story law tells about citizens’ conduct. Such stories of individual infamy work on both the social and legal level to stigmatize and ostracize people, to mark them as unredeemably other.”

“Law’s Infamy seeks to alter that course by making legal actions and decisions the subject of an inquiry about infamy. Taken together, the essays demonstrate how legal institutions themselves engage in infamous actions and urge that scholars and activists to label them as such. They highlight the damage done when law itself acts infamously and focus of infamous decisions that are worthy of repudiation. The authors ask when and why the word infamy should be used to characterize legal decisions or actions. This is a much-needed addition to the broader conversation and questions surrounding law’s complicity in evil.”

NYU Press: title to be released in December of  2021

Book cover for Law And The Visible Edited by Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas, and Martha M. Umphrey
Law and the Visible

Law and the Visible interrogates the broad set of ethical, jurisprudential, and epistemological questions tied to the increasingly universal presence of digital evidence. This is cutting-edge and very smart work by a highly qualified and careful group of scholars.”―John Gilliom, author of Overseers of the Poor: Surveillance, Resistance, and the Limits of Privacy

University of Massachusetts Press 2021

Book cover of Will He Go? Lawrence Douglas
Will He Go?: Trump and the Looming Election Meltdown in 2020

“It's not clear that American democracy can survive if Donald Trump is re-elected, and it's not clear it can survive if he isn't. WILL HE GO? is the most compelling sort of political thriller -- one whose outcome will affect us all.”―Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize-winning and New York Times bestselling author of The Sixth Extinction

“Part page-turning thriller, part elegant mystery novel, part savvy political roadmap, part sophisticated legal and historical primer, this marvelous book is the first to take seriously a question many are too scared to ask themselves: What happens when the president, who believes he won the 2016 election in a popular landslide and without any help from his Russian friends, is convinced the 2020 election was stolen from him by a deep state conspiracy? In what ways might everything we know about Donald Trump and his devoted followers lead to an unprecedented constitutional crisis in 2021? Clearly written and carefully researched, this exploration of the several catastrophes we might face is a must-read for anyone who cares about preserving America.”—Laurence H. Tribe, author of To End A Presidency: The Power of Impeachment

“This is a break-the-glass alarm not just for one election, but for our constitutional democracy.”―Richard Wolffe, New York Times bestselling author of Renegade

“As Douglas expertly shows, the principal constraint on ousted presidents behaving badly has historically been the collapse of support from within their own political party. But a far better solution would be to put our resources into making election results harder to dispute. It's unquestionably the right conclusion; one hopes only that it won't be too late.”―Professor Stephen I. Vladeck, University of Texas School of Law

“With characteristic acuity, Lawrence Douglas asks the question so many would rather avoid: what if President Trump loses the election but refuses to leave office? His answer may astound you. But the best defense is a good offense. Read and prepare!”―David D. Cole, national legal director, ACLU

Twelve 2020

Book cover for Guns In Law Edited by Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas, and Martha M. Umphrey
Guns in Law

“This edited volume makes a significant contribution to at least a couple of different scholarly literatures [including] recent originalist assumptions informing Second Amendment jurisprudence.”―William D. Rose, professor and chair of the Political Science Department at Albion College

“This collection of new research from leading scholars in the fields of history, sociology, public policy, and law offers no easy solutions but recognizes that the future of gun regulation in America will be as fraught as its past.”―Nathan Kozuskanich, coeditor of The Second Amendment on Trial: Critical Essays on District of Columbia v. Heller

“A collection of six essays by a diverse group of authors, Guns in Law . . . will be of interest not just to those studying Second Amendment law, but also to historians, political scientists, and sociologists seeking to explore the dynamic intersection of guns and the law.”―CHOICE

University of Massachusetts Press 2019 Douglas
The Right Wrong Man: John Demjanjuk and the Last Great Nazi War Crimes Trial

New York Times Book Review, Editors’ Choice

 “[A] masterful account of Demjanuk’s long, very strange case….deftly delivers disquisitions on nuanced legal questions as if they were plot points in a thriller...” Wall Street Journal

“…extraordinarily impressive,” Christopher Browning, Times Literary Supplement

“’The Right Wrong Man,’ from its summary title to its thoughtful postscript, is an impressive work, as well as a timely one in its demonstration of the power of legal systems to learn from past missteps.” Anthony Julius, New York Times Book Review

“Sophisticated and suspenseful, the book provides a trenchant analysis of the legal and moral dilemmas surrounding trials for genocidal crimes against humanity.”  Jerusalem Post

 “…a superb book,” Trouw (Netherlands)

 “[Douglas] deftly weaves the ongoing battle of Demjanjuk’s with the evidentiary trail being followed by the sleuths in the US Justice Department and elsewhere….The Right Wrong Man is an important read about the accountability those who do wrong ultimately face.” San Francisco Book Review

 “…Lawrence Douglas’s immensely readable book absorbs the reader in the twists and turns of the Demjanjuk saga, helping us understand both why justice required prosecuting Demjanjuk for his “egregious moral complicity,” and how the job got done.” Commonweal

“For Douglas, this last great Holocaust trial…enshrined a new form of memory, one which preserves the moral strength of survivors’ stories long after they are gone.” The New Republic

“…behind this story lies a fraught web of issues that Douglas untangles with exceptional skill…. a tour de force…” Foreign Affairs

Princeton University Press 2018

Book cover for Law And Mourning Edited by Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas, and Martha M. Umphrey
Law and Mourning

“These essays lead the reader progressively deeper into the relationship between law and mourning, considering last testaments that restrict a beneficiary's marriage, sperm preservation, public rituals of mourning (and their suppression), melancholic judges, and the lamentations of scholars who mourn the loss of justice itself.”―Linda Ross Meyer, author of The Justice of Mercy

“This volume demonstrates how varied and extensive the conjunction of mourning and law is, and it also makes a powerful case for how this intersection needs to be examined through an interdisciplinary lens. The contributors, all impressive and productive scholars, come from a broad range of fields, speaking across methodological and scholarly divides and opening avenues for further inquiry by inviting scholars to think creatively and ambitiously about our critical practices.”―Ravit Reichman, author of The Affective Life of Law: Legal Modernism and the Literary Imagination

University of Massachusetts Press 2018

book cover for Law And Performance Edited by Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas, and Martha M. Umphrey
Law and Performance

“Here is a pathbreaking law book that picks up on the emerging interest in affect theory, sensory studies (including forays in synesthesia studies) in conjunction with the cultural and political implications of law in action. It invites novel modes of analysis, and in the process brings into view previously unobserved phenomena pertaining to law, the perception of law, and law's efficacy and legitimation.”―Richard K. Sherwin, author of When Law Goes Pop: The Vanishing Line between Law and Popular Culture

“This collection is a must read for scholars of performance studies as well as legal studies researchers and practitioners.”―CHOICE

University of Massachusetts Press 2018

Book cover for Criminals and Enemies Edited by Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas, and Martha M. Umphrey
Criminals and Enemies

“A bold new collection of essays that weaves together political philosophy, legal analysis, and historical research.”―Laura A. Dickinson, author of Outsourcing War and Peace: Preserving Public Values in a World of Privatized Foreign Affairs

University of Massachusetts Press 2018

Book cover for Laws Mistakes Edited by Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas, and Martha M. Umphrey
Law's Mistakes

“The very question of what constitutes a legal error, as opposed to poor judgment or unjust law, lies at the crux of Law's Mistakes, which brings together an impressive range of scholarly perspectives. Rather than consigning errors to the realm of rare exceptions, the contributors to this volume insist that mistakes need to be engaged as part of the very fabric of law.”―Ravit Reichman, author of The Affective Life of Law: Legal Modernism and the Literary Imagination

University of Massachusetts Press 2016

Book cover of  Law and the Utopian Imagination Edited by Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas, and Martha M. Umphrey
Law and the Utopian Imagination

“This book of six essays on law and the utopian imagination is written by scholars from a wide array of disciplines, including English literature, fine arts, art history and cultural studies, political science, and legal philosophy and jurisprudence. The result is wide ranging and highly stimulating. Although the topics seem almost at odds with one other, the authors each pursue a unique tangent and tap into their particular areas of expertise to tease out exceptionally interesting logical constructions and conclusions as to the meaning and relationship of imagined utopias and legal strictures."”—Andrew Fair; H-Net

Stanford Law Books 2014

Book cover of  Law and War Edited by Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas, and Martha M. Umphrey
Law and War

Law and War offers deep, rigorous, and diverse reflections on the potential, and peril, for law's efforts to humanize war. This is a valuable addition in a field of growing significance to legal, political, and policy scholars, and beyond.”—David Mednicoff; University of Massachusetts, Amherst

“Enhanced with the inclusion of a comprehensive index, Law and War is a collective work of outstanding scholarship and a highly recommended addition to academic library Judicial Studies reference collections and supplemental reading lists.”—Midwest Book Review

Stanford Law Books 2014

Book cover of Imagining New Legalities Edited by Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas, and Martha M. Umphrey
Imagining New Legalities: Privacy and Its Possibilities in the 21st Century

Imagining New Legalities advances our thinking about powerful political and cultural challenges embedded in our efforts to improve our understanding of the law. This is a truly thoughtful, timely, and well-grounded collection of essays.”—William Lyons; University of Akron

Stanford Law Books 2012

Book cover of The Vices

Lawrence Douglas
The Vices

Finalist, National Jewish Book Award, 2011
New York MagazineBooks of the Year, 2011
New Statesman (UK) Books of the Year, 2011
Cobalt ReviewBooks of the Year, 2011, Great Books of 2011

“In its deft exploration of the way identity, especially Jewish identity, is constructed and performed, The Vices does justice to its elegant Nabokovian inspiration.”—Adam Kirsch, The New Republic and Tablet Magazine

“The second novel by Lawrence Douglas gave me delight on every page. I’m always careful about calling something Nabokovian, mostly because I’ll see that in a review and read the book in question and it’s fine but not as good as Nabokov, you know? But this one is Nabokovian—there is no other word.”—Ed Park, New York Magazine, Books of the Year, 2011

“sharp, stylish, suspenseful….an elegant parable about the allure of self-invention.”—New Statesman, Books of the Year, 2011

“This year [2011] brought some amazing fiction — Alan Heathcock’s dark, beautiful short story collection Volt and the brilliant novels Zasen by Vanessa Veselka, The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides, and, especially, The Vices by Lawrence Douglas.” --Michael Schaub,

“As dazzlingly constructed as it is limpidly told, The Vices is a duplicitous delight…”—Bookforum

“Smart...always fascinating….The novel’s biggest concern is how we construct personal narratives that accommodate slippery and unsteady acts of memory.” —Times Literary Supplement

“A resplendently accomplished work.”—Cynthia Ozick, author of Foreign Bodies

Other Press, 2011


Lars Arffsen (Lawrence Douglas)
The Girl with the Sturgeon Tattoo

“Sturgeon Tattoo is the kind of book Stieg Larsson might have dictated from beyond the grave to Mel Brooks…funny…ideal reading for their morning commute by car, bussen or sparvagnen (look it up).”— Nick Owchar The Los Angeles Times

"This hilarious little book (all 200 pages of it)…mischievously riffs off every nuance of that remarkable, if convoluted, series thriller, in much the same vein as Mel Brooks’s Springtime for Hitler played fast and loose with the Third Reich." — Roz Shea

"Chick lit? SO over. Police procedurals? Done to death. Sweet little cottages on Nantucket? They need renovating… It’s time to find new favorites. So English readers are being introduced to…Lars Arffssen — and that name should sound funny, since it’s attached to The Girl With the Sturgeon Tattoo, a nifty parody….Its Goth heroine, Lizzy Salamander, spends Wednesdays kickboxing, Thursdays doing Krav Maga and Fridays memorizing pi. Its muckraking journalist hero, Blomberg, has been asked to stop investigating “a vast ring of corruption, prostitution and ethnic cleansing involving the prime minister and the CEOs of Volvo, Saab and H&M” and instead write about Abba’s Christmas reunion concert."— Janet Maslin The New York Times

"…this parody of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” hits its mark."— Billy Heller The New York Post
St. Martin's Press, 2011
Book cover of Law as Punishment Edited by Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas, and Martha M. Umphrey
Law as Punishment Law as Regulation
“This is one of the best collections of essays I have encountered. The intersections between the pieces make it a truly exceptional resource. It will be a standard in the field.” -- Keally McBride ― University of San Francisco

“This book's broad range of approaches to the relationship between punishment and regulation is refreshing and engaging. There are no works that offer anything like the variety that this collection offers. The diversity of views, and the consequent appreciation of the complexity of the issues, makes this a truly valuable addition to the literature. —Carol Steiker; Harvard Law School
Stanford Law Book 2011

Book cover of Law without Nations Edited by Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas, and Martha M. Umphrey
Law without Nations

“This book is especially noteworthy given the current ascendance of international and regional alliances in global governance. It does an excellent good job of illustrating the reality of legal pluralism, the weakness of legal positivism, and the vitality of so-called non-state law.”― Kathleen Moore; University of California, Santa Barbara

“There is a great deal of novelty and insight in Law without Nations. The essays push thinking on the subject beyond simple trade-offs between international and national legal systems. The book draws on a dazzlingly diverse array of works and I find the interconnection of the contributors' arguments particularly engaging.”― David Mednicoff; University of Massachusetts 

Stanford Law Books 2010

Law and the Stranger Edited by Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas, and Martha M. Umphrey
Law and the Stranger

“This pioneering book directly addresses the leading legal issue of our day: how does the law deal (or not deal) with the stranger? By way of response, this question occasions a dazzling range of perspectives and approaches, fusing jurisprudence, philosophy, cultural studies, and politics under the rubric of 'strangeness.' A brilliant and rewarding work that promises a breakthrough in the interdisciplinary study of the law.”—William P. MacNeil ― Griffith University

“This is a brilliant and instructive book on the role of the stranger in law and culture. The individual essays demonstrate a rigorous engagement with the organizing themes and principles of the stranger debate from cosmopolitanism to human rights to hospitality and immigration. An amazing achievement.”—Nan Goodman; University of Colorado at Boulder

Stanford Law Book 2010

Lives in the Law

Edited by Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas, and Martha Merrill Umphrey
Lives in the Law

Lives in the Law” is a provocative collection of essays considering from a variety of perspectives and disciplinary backgrounds the myriad ways in which legal categories come to constitute the lives and identities of people and groups."—Paul Schiff Berman, University of Connecticut School of Law.

University of Michigan Press 2009

Book cover for Law and Catastrophe

Edited by Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas, and Martha Merrill Umphrey
Law and Catastrophe

“Law and Catastrophe is an edited collection that explores this inextricable and symbiotic relationship between these two concepts in the short span of five chapters. It presents to the reader a witty and often engaging group of literary essays that dissect various guises of how law and catastrophe interpenetrate.”—Law and Politics Book Review

“Law and Catastrophe offers a diverse and fascinating set of essays. There has never been a more urgent need for such a work on catastrophe and law.” —Anthony J. Sebok, Brooklyn Law School

“This cogent work is based on the insight that, even when it proves itself palpably unable to deal with catastrophe, law can yet reassert itself, reproducing the bases of its authority over and over again. Indeed, this very act of reassertion is revealed to be the basis of legal authority itself. This book is a must-read for any scholar interested in seeing the performance of law when its veneer of total control and stability have been stripped away.” —James R. Martel, San Francisco State University

Stanford University Press 2007

Book Cover of the Law and the Sacred

Edited by Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas, and Martha Merrill Umphrey
Law and the Sacred

“[An} interesting collection, worthy of attention by scholars in a variety of fields.”—CHOICE

“Law and the Sacred brings together original and stimulating interdisciplinary work on the complex interdependence of law and religion. Indeed, the authors expand well beyond simple categories of law and religion to explore the more interesting and novel nuances of laws of the sacred and the sacrilization of law.”—David Mednicoff, University of Massachusetts

“The essays in this volume push well beyond the boundaries of more familiar research on the relationship between politics and religion. Exploring topics as diverse as Islamic legal theory, the 2000 U.S. presidential election, Kafka's The Trial, and the contemporary constitution of sovereign political power, the contributors call into question any easy opposition between the sacred and the secular, and so unsettle a central myth of Enlightenment modernism.”—Timothy V. Kaufman-Osborn, Whitman College

Stanford University Press 2006 

  Book cover of The Catastrophist Lawrence Douglas
The Catastrophist

Kirkus, Best Books of 2006

 "…an American Lucky Jim: an acerbic comedy of manners with serious issues (responsibility and veracity in both marital and global relationships) at its solid core."— Kirkus Review, starred

 "Daniel Wellington, the manic clueless narrator of Douglas’ highly amusing debut, is a case study in male neurosis…That we enjoy the company of this walking disaster is a tribute to Douglas’ witty prose."— Entertainment Weekly, THE MUST LIST

 "…[ a] sublime comic creation."— Booklist

"…like John Updike and Richard Ford, with whose work this debut novel bears comparison, [Douglas] treats his readers to finely tuned prose well seasoned with humor, both subtle and slapstick."— Carolyn Maddux The Antioch Review

" …tantalizing….refreshingly unsanctimonious."— New York Times Book Review

"Hilarious…[ The Catastrophist] masterfully merges micro and macro, the grimness and occasional glory of everyday life with history writ large."— The Village Voice

"Deploying wit and humor and an acute, darker insight, Lawrence Douglas leads us through Freudian fields with an anti-hero we can’t help but fall for immoderately."— Boston Globe

"Douglas is an American. But it's British names Iris Murdoch, Malcolm Bradbury, Michael Frayn that come to mind as fellow purveyors of his brand of brainy comedy."— Seattle Times

The Other Press, May 2006

Book Cover of How Law Knows

Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas, and Martha Merrill Umphrey
How Law Knows 

“This work raises new questions while also reexamining standard socio-legal issues in refreshing ways. The result is a rich and innovative look at the routines of truth-seeking and fact-finding.”—Patricia Ewick, Clark University

“How Law Knows is a useful and interesting collection addressing law’s ways of knowing. The authors reveal that the establishment and organized use of legal facts is varied, historical, and amenable to a rich and diverse set of methods of inquiry.”—Jon Goldberg-Hiller, University of Hawaii, Manoa

Stanford University Press 2006

Law on the Screen

Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas, and Martha Merrill Umphrey
Law on the Screen

The proliferation of images of law, legal processes, and officials on television and in film is a phenomenon of enormous significance. Mass-mediated images are as powerful, pervasive, and important as are other early twenty-first-century social forces—e.g. globalization, neo-colonialism, and human rights—in shaping and transforming legal life. Yet scholars have only recently begun to examine how law works in this new arena and to explore the consequences of the representation of law in the moving image. Law on the Screen advances our understanding of the connection between law and film by analyzing them as narrative forms, examining film for its jurisprudential content—that is, its ways of critiquing the present legal world and imagining an alternative one—and expanding studies of the representation of law in film to include questions of reception.

Stanford University Press 2005


Book cover of the Limits of the Law Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas, and Martha Merrill Umphrey
The Limits of Law

This collection brings together well-established scholars to examine the limits of law, a topic that has been of broad interest since the events of 9/11 and the responses of U.S. law and policy to those events. The limiting conditions explored in this volume include marking law's relationship to acts of terror, states of emergency, gestures of surrender, payments of reparations, offers of amnesty, and invocations of retroactivity. These essays explore how law is challenged, frayed, and constituted out of contact with conditions that lie at the farthest reaches of its empirical and normative force.

Stanford University Press 2005

  Book Cover of the Memory of Judgment Lawrence Douglas
The Memory of Judgment: Making Law and History in the Trials of the Holocaust

His excellent book will be of great value to historians, legal scholars, and all those who want to understand the potential and limits of judging past and present crimes against humanity.”—Omer Bartov, American Historical Review

"… a brilliant study that should be required reading for anyone even remotely interested in the subject."—Jan Klabbers, European Journal of International Law

“In this superb book, Lawrence Douglas finds middle ground between critics who argue for a strictly legal approach to bringing the perpetrators to justice, and those that argue that legal forums and procedures mangle and distort a sophisticated understanding of such events. . ..”—Craig Pepin, H-Net Reviews

“An important, rigorous and insightful study of atrocity, memory, survivor testimony and their collectively fraught history of casting and judgment in legal process.”—Simone Gigliotti, International Affairs

“It is difficult to over-praise this book. Douglas combines rare gifts: he can tell a story marvelously well, and use it to furnish philosophical reflections of great insight and depth. His prose is beautifully flexible and precise, and he is virtuosic in his ability to tease out the multiple meanings of courtroom argument or testimony. . . . The Memory of Judgment deserves the widest possible readership.”— Jamie Mayerfield, Punishment and Society

The Memory of Judgment is an impressively thoughtful work, important not merely for what it reveals about how the Shoah has been figured in post-war Western jurisprudence, but more generally, about the possibilities and limitations of a criminal trial as an instrument of historical understanding and commemorative pedagogy.”—Michael A. Bernstein, Times Literary Supplement

Yale University Press, New Haven, 2005

Sense and Nonsensibility

Lawrence Douglas and Alexander George
Sense and Nonsensibility: Lampoons of Learning and Literature

"Hilarious...Most anyone who has spent any time in the worlds of literature and the academy will laugh..."

—Publishers Weekly

"Monty Python meets Imanuel Kant. Douglas and George have a delicious sense of the absurd."

—Anders Henriksson, author of Non Campus Mentis

Simon and Schuster, 2004

The Place of Law

Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas, and Martha Merrill Umphrey
The Place of Law

“Recent scholarship has rediscovered the spatial dimension of society. This volume brings together some of the leading lights of that revival with some of the most innovative scholars in sociolegal studies, to reconsider the place of law and law's capacity to put people in their place. At a time when power relentlessly promotes a generic version of the rule of law as a mandatory salvation for all peoples and places, The Place of Law offers a vital rejoinder.” —Jonathan Simon, University of California, Berkeley

“The Place of Law is a worthy successor to an outstanding series of edited collections on law and culture. The essays range from the Stalinist Soviet Union to the scientific laboratory, from the Internet to the nation-state and back; they explore why places and metaphors of places seem to matter so much to law, and how new structures of freedom may produce new forms of control.”—Jack M. Balkin, Yale Law School

University of Michigan Press 2003

Law's Madness

Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas, and Martha Merrill Umphrey
Law's Madness

“A thoroughly engaging collection of essays that plumbs the nuances of an important topic. While many have observed law's role as a bulwark against passion and chaos, the essays in Law's Madness suggest that law and madness actually constitute each other. Thus, what we think of as 'law' always emerges from the unstable effort to distinguish official legal doctrine from that which is repressed as something other than law. This book will be a 'must have' for numerous scholars interested in interdisciplinary examinations of law, from sociolegal studies to law and humanities to legal behavioralism.” — Paul Schiff Berman, University of Connecticut School of Law

University of Michigan Press 2003