April 4, 2006
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—Austin Sarat, the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought at Amherst College, has been awarded the James Boyd White Prize by the Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and the Humanities for “distinguished scholarly achievement” and in recognition of “outstanding and innovative” contributions to the humanistic study of law. The award recognized Sarat’s most recent work, Mercy on Trial: What It Means to Stop an Execution (2005).

Sarat, who has taught at Amherst since 1974, is author, co-author or editor of more than 50 books, including Mercy on Trial, When the State Kills and Law, Violence, and the Possibility of Justice. He was the co-author of Something to Believe In: Politics, Professionalism and Cause Lawyering (2004) and co-editor of Law on the Screen (2004). His teaching has been featured in The New York Times and on NBC’s Today Show. Sarat was the co-recipient of the 2004 Reginald Heber Smith Award given biennially to honor the best scholarship on “the subject of equal access to justice,” and has served as president of the Law and Society Association and of the Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities.

The Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities is an organization of scholars engaged in interdisciplinary, humanistically oriented legal scholarship. The association brings together a wide range of people engaged in scholarship on legal history, legal theory and jurisprudence, law and cultural studies, law and literature, law and the performing arts and legal hermeneutics. The ASLCH encourages dialogue about issues of interpretation, identity and values, about authority, obligation and justice and about law’s place in culture.

A 1960 graduate of Amherst College, James Boyd White is a law professor, literary critic, scholar, philosopher and the author of The Legal Imagination (1973). With that book he founded the “law and literature” movement. He is the preeminent proponent of the importance of studying law in the liberal arts.