Congratulations to the 2017 Law and Society Association Award Winners!

The awards are presented at the International Meeting
in Mexico City on Wednesday, June 21 at noon.


Winners and Basis for Award

Harry J. Kalven, Jr. Prize 

For empirical scholarship that has contributed to the advancement of research in law and society.




Neil Vidmar
Duke University

Professor Neil Vidmar has long specialized in the empirical study of law. Originally trained as a social psychologist, he has become the world's leading scholar on jury behavior and decision-making.  His empirical research has helped advance the understanding of social science evidence in law, medical malpractice litigation, punitive damages, dispute resolution, and psychological mechanisms of retribution and revenge. Professor Vidmar has published more than 200 articles in law reviews and social science journals, and the author of such influential books as American Juries: The Verdict (Prometheus Books, 2007, with Valerie Hans), Judging the Jury (1986, with Valerie Hans), and World Jury Systems (Oxford University Press, 2000). His work on the Arizona Jury Project, with Shari Diamond, carries forward Harry Kalven's early jury research by providing unprecedented and detailed empirical data on how juries behave and interact during deliberations. Drawing on his empirical rigor and expert theoretical formulation, Professor Vidmar has also contributed to the understanding of legal processes by testifying in numerous jury trials in the U.S., Canada, England, Australia, New Zealand, and Hong Kong.  Additionally, Professor Vidmar has helped draft amicus briefs on many controversial criminal and civil cases being litigated in numerous state supreme courts, as well as the United States Supreme Court and the Canadian Supreme Court. Professor Vidmar has made critical presentations on medical malpractice reforms and the evaluation of damage awards before the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives and other state legislatures and advocate groups.  Professor Vidmar's significant contribution to the advancement of the empirical study of law deserves the rich recognition afforded by the honor of receiving the 2017 LSA Harry Kalven prize.



David Engel
SUNY, Buffalo

Professor David Engel's research embodies distinguished interdisciplinary scholarship in the field of law and society. Throughout more than four decades, Professor Engel's fields of scholarly inquiry have expanded to include a wide array of issues in the U.S., Asia, and beyond, including the examination of disputing practices and behavior, legal consciousness and constructivist analysis of legal meaning making, rights as social practice, and the gap between official law and legal practice. His most recent book, The Myth of the Litigious Society: Why We Don't Sue (University of Chicago Press, 2016), challenges the assumption that U.S. culture is litigious and examines why most American injury victims never lodge a claim against their injurers. Professor Engel has authored numerous other books and monographs, including Tort, Custom, and Karma: Globalization and Legal Consciousness in Thailand (Stanford University Press, 2010, with Jaruwan Engel) and Rights of Inclusion: Life Stories of Identity, Disability, and Law (University of Chicago Press, 2003, with Frank W. Munger), as well as co-editing volumes and publishing articles on such themes as Asian and American legal cultures and the effects of American civil rights legislation on those with disabilities. The extraordinary impact of Professor Engel's early essay, "The Oven Bird's Song: Insiders, Outsiders, and Personal Injuries in an American Community" (Law & Society Review, 1984) was recently recognized with a conference and a forthcoming edited volume of essays (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming, edited by Mary Nell Trautner). His groundbreaking research in Thailand since the 1970s and his leadership in building an international research network has shaped the LSA's commitment to outreach in the Pacific Rim countries.  Professor Engel's work displays extraordinary originality, high quality, and intellectual impact, thus leading us to present Professor Engel as an eminently distinguished recipient of the 2017 Harry Kalven award.

J. Willard Hurst Prize 

For the best book in socio-legal history published in 2016.


Heather Thompson
University of Michigan

Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy
Pantheon Books, 2016

In Blood in the Water, Heather Thompson offers a searing account of the infamous 1971 Attica Prison uprising. In addition to reconstructing the protest and its violent aftermath, she traces the decades-long quest for justice by the victims of state violence. In doing so, she incorporates the voices and perspective of all the participants, rendering with equal power the voices and perspectives of prisoners, former hostages, families of the victims, lawyers, judges, state officials and law enforcement officers. The result is a rich account of law, policy, administration, legal consciousness, lawyering, legal process and truth, racial inequality, and communities that form around legal wrongs and lawsuits. Blood in the Water is a civil rights story that illuminates the epochal shift from rehabilitation to mass incarceration. It challenges readers to reckon with an abusive prison system and the persistent failures and lies of state officials.

An extraordinary feat of archival research distinguishes Blood in the Water. Thompson's brilliance lies in unearthing sources on the Attica prison riot that have never before been discovered, read, or analyzed. That research required not only more than a decade of effort, but persistence in the face of obstruction and restriction, and some lucky breaks. The payoff is new material on almost every facet of the uprising and its aftermath.

Blood in the Water stands out also as a powerful piece of writing. Thompson's prose is masterful and her storytelling is stunning. She succeeds in weaving together multiple voices, and restoring the humanity of the men, ordinary, poor and disfranchised, whose refusal to endure abuse and stay silent had seen them demonized. The epilogue is particularly powerful, serving to remind us that the lessons of Attica have yet to be fully learned. Her book will go a long way towards achieving this important goal.

Honorable Mentions

Risa Goluboff, Vagrant Nation: Police Power, Constitutional Change, and the Making of the 1960s
Oxford University Press, 2016

Michelle McKinley, Fractional Freedoms: Slavery, Intimacy, and Legal Mobilization in Colonial Lima, 1600-1700 Cambridge University Press, 2016

Herbert Jacob
Book Prize

For the best book in law and society scholarship published in 2016.


Tianna Paschel
University of California - Berkeley

Becoming Black Political Subjects:  Movements and Ethno-Racial Rights in Colombia and Brazil
Princeton University Press; 2016

The book was described by one member of the committee as "simply a game changer in how we understand the sociolegal construction of race and social movements." 

Paschel asks: how did black and indigenous social movements that are profoundly marginalized, under-resourced, and under-mobilized transform into institutionalized legal practices, state bureaucracy, and mainstream politics in a relatively short amount of time? Becoming Black Political Subjects focuses on a very small group of black political activists working in the context of domestic upheaval and the international community's interest in racial equality. No model of social movements could have predicted the rapid transformation that was about to occur.

Paschel uses comparative archival and ethnographic research to analyze these transformations in two Latin American states. The adoption of ethno-racial legislation began in the late 1980s and the book documents the journey from state "colorblindness" with minimal race-conscious advocacy to, eventually, race-conscious state policy in the areas of land, health, education, and development.  Becoming Black Political Subjects shows that this transformation resulted not only in symbolic recognition of indigenous and black populations, but also a more pluralistic model of citizenship. 

Using the theoretically rich concepts of ‘embedded political fields' and ‘political alignment', Paschel not only explains how these political transformations occurred, but she also analyzes the results including the social construction of blackness and indigeneity, the political restructuring in government and advocacy, and the emergence of reactionary movements.




Roberto Gonzalez
Harvard University

Lives in Limbo: Undocumented and Coming of Age in America
University of CA Press 2016 

This ambitious, eleven-year ethnography of some one hundred and fifty undocumented minors in the United States is theoretically rich and profoundly disturbing.

Using interviews and observation, Lives in Limbo provides a heart-wrenching window into the instability, confusion, and series of limited opportunities that make up these children's lives. Gonzales shows that this is a recursive social and legal process. The status of illegal (or, the lack of status itself) is not something that is conferred unilaterally by law. Rather, Lives in Limbo documents how status influences migrant youth's life possibilities, consciousness, emotions, and relationships. Interactions with teachers, administrators, mentors, family members, neighbors, and their peers shape how they come to understand their own "illegality."

Perhaps the most important findings are those that show unequivocally how the lack of legal status affects these young people's ability to envision their futures. Gonzales' unique developmental perspective contrasts with the more common social science frame of ‘enforced orientation to the present' to show how narrowed expectations come to exist for undocumented youth over the formational child and early teen years.  These barriers to imagining a fulsome future of possibilities come into being over time, gradually, through experiences with social barriers and continual reminders about lack of legal status. The limited future resulting from immigration status is, of course, compounded by the intersections with socioeconomic status, family relations, peer groups, school support systems, meritocratic values, feelings of belonging.

John Hope Franklin

For the best article on race, racism and the law, published within last two years.

Clair Winter
Matthew Clair Alix S. Winter

Matthew Clair and Alix S. Winter
Harvard University

How Judges Think About Racial Disparities: Situational Decision-Making in the Criminal Justice System
Criminology 54 (2):332-359

Nominated by Lawrence D. Bobo, Harvard University

In How Judges Think About Racial Disparities: Situational Decision-Making in the Criminal Justice System, Clair and Winter take on the timely question of how judges’ beliefs and decisions affect observed levels of racial disparities in the criminal justice system.  The authors utilize in-depth interviews with judges and field observations in upper and lower courts to help us better understand (1) how judges think about and understand racial disparities in the legal system and (2) how such beliefs may influence their decision-making at various stages of the court process including arraignments, plea hearings, jury selections, trials, sentencing, and parole hearings.  This research reveals that judges who routinely impose sentences with a differential racial impact sometimes intervene to mitigate the effects, and in many cases, justify decision making that continues to perpetuate disparities.   This article provides valuable new insights into the legal consciousness of elite actors and their thinking about the discriminatory impact of their decisions.  Well conceptualized, theoretically rigorous, and analytically nuanced, the article makes a critical contribution to the literature and also sets up clear questions for future research.

Honorable Mentions:

Angela Onwuachi-Willig, University of California, Berkeley, Yale University Sociology and African American Studies Ph.D. Candidate
The Trauma of the Routine: Lessons on Cultural Trauma from the Emmett Till Verdict
Sociological Theory 2016, Vol. 34(4) 335 –357. American Sociological Association.

Geoff Ward, University of California, Irvine
Microclimates of Racial Meaning: Historical Racial Violence and Environmental Impacts.
Wisconsin Law Review, 2016, 575-626.

Law and Society
Article Prize

For exceptional scholarship in socio-legal studies published as an article.


Forrest Stuart
University of Chicago

Becoming Copwise: Policing, Culture, and the Collateral Consequences of Street Level Criminalization,
Law & Society Review 50(2) (2016): 279-313

Nominated by: Issa Kohler-Hausmann, Yale University

In the tradition of law and society scholarship that de-centers the study of law and brings attention to its role in daily life, Stuart's innovative research explores how routine police stops, infraction citations and low level arrests shape the lives and legal consciousness of ordinary citizens. Drawing on five years of rich ethnographic data from the Skid Row district of Los Angeles, a community of approximately 15,000 people with a median income of $4,500, Stuart shows how community members become "copwise," learning how to anticipate and avoid police encounters.  Becoming copwise, however, comes at a cost of greater social isolation, animosity and stigma.  His article raises fundamental questions about the criminal justice system and its unintended social consequences—as well as current models of policing—and serves as an exemplar of scholarship that moves beyond the study of formal rules to understand the law's radiating effects.

Honorable Mention

Darryl Li, Jihad in a World of Sovereigns: Law, Violence and Islamism in the Bosnia Crisis
Law & Social Inquiry 41(2) (Spring 2016): 371-401
Nominated by Christopher Schmidt, Illinois Institute of Technology

Law and Society
International Prize

For significant contributions to the advancement of knowledge in the field of law and society.


John Braithwaite
Australian National University

Nominated by Terence Halliday, American Bar Foundation and Malcolm Feeley, University of California, Berkeley

John Braithwaite has championed the research field defined by the terms shame and reintegration, as well as research on Restorative Justice and white collar crime. His works have been translated and introduced in many countries, not only western countries but also Asian countries.  He has been very active in giving lectures and speeches at institutes all over the world, which had a strong effect on younger scholars interested in Sociology and Law, in many countries. Also, he has played many administrative or committee roles in various academic societies, bringing together different academic fields.




Nachman Ben-Yehuda
Hebrew University

Nominated by Joachim Savelsberg, University of Minnesota, John Hagan, Northwestern University, and Ron Levi, University of Toronto

Nachman Ben-Yehuda is a scholar with a truly international profile. His numerous publications on morals, deviance and law-breaking have great impact on research in many countries. For example, his work on techniques of neutralization is taught to criminology students whereever they are. Nachman Ben-Yehuda bridges political science with criminology and brings both to the field of socio-legal studies, with a focus on social and political conflicts.  His theorizing and research engage with the conflict in which his country finds itself, and he draws lessons for global perspectives.

Stanton Wheeler
Mentorship Award

As an outstanding mentor for graduate, professional or undergraduate students who are working on issues of law and society.


Lauren Edelman
University of California, Berkeley

Nominated by Shauhin Talesh, University of California, Irvine

Lauren Edelman's outstanding record of mentorship is evident across the entire field of law and society. She has been a critical force behind the development of so many sociolegal scholars, many of whom are now themselves leaders in the field. As one of her earliest mentees put it, "Laurie has a truly remarkable record of mentoring multiple generations of students and junior colleagues - at Wisconsin, where she began her career in Sociology, at Berkeley, where she has taught in the Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program for almost two decades, and throughout the Law and Society community, where she has contributed unstintingly to the formal and informal support of emerging scholars from across the globe." She has also been integral to the development of the field, especially through her contributions to methods training, both at her home institutions and within the broader LSA community, where she has been a force behind the "Methods Café" innovation.

There are several defining features of Lauren Edelman's mentorship that her many mentees highlight in their letters of support. First is her tireless devotion to mentoring junior scholars, well beyond her official role as advisor. She spends countless hours deeply engaging with her mentees' work, providing in-depth feedback and guidance.  And while providing enormous intellectual and emotional support, Lauren also challenges her mentees with very high standards for their work, pushing them to excellence while instilling confidence in them that they can succeed. Even years after getting their Ph.D.s, former advisees still view Lauren as "a trusted advisor"; and "someone I call for advice, critique and support."

She is also a generous collaborator with her mentees, treating her partners as co-equals, and giving them research and publishing opportunities that are otherwise nearly unattainable for emerging scholars. She does the kind of hands-on mentoring that ensures the success of her mentees, teaching them how to write for publication, draft successful grant proposals, present work at conferences, and navigate the academic job market and early career demands. As one mentee succinctly put it, "I would not be where I am without her mentorship."



Michael McCann
University of Washington

Nominated by Rachel Cichowski and George Lovell, University of Washington

Michael McCann has truly been an institution-builder in graduate training and education, while providing outstanding individualized mentorship to scores of junior scholars. He has "made graduate mentorship the focus of his career." Among his most notable contributions is leadership in developing an outstanding graduate training and mentorship program in comparative sociolegal studies at University of Washington. He spearheaded the development and implementation of UW's interdisciplinary CLASS (Comparative Law & Society Studies) graduate certificate program as well as UW's undergraduate Law, Societies and Justice program, and then he directed both programs for the first decade of operation.

Students who have come through the CLASS program are now emerging as important socio-legal scholars in their own right as they launch their academic careers. As one of his nominators described him, Michael is "a tireless graduate student advocate and institution builder making graduate diversity, socio-legal training, mentorship and funding core missions in the many leadership positions he has held, including both within the UW and beyond."

Michael's one-on-one mentoring has also been transformative for so many emerging scholars. In particular, he has been a committed and supportive mentor to scholars whose backgrounds are underrepresented in academia. One mentee shared that "Michael is a committed advocate for individuals like me. I am a working class, formerly undocumented, woman of color. Academia for individuals like me can be a jarring, unfulfilling and isolating experience. Throughout the recruiting and advising process, Michael has played a pivotal role in helping me navigate this new terrain and build community. Michael has, in many ways, radically altered the role and impact a faculty member can have on students and the broader community." In that regard, several mentees highlighted his identity as a scholar-activist as key to his passion and generosity as a mentor. They described Michael as someone who thinks broadly, but with depth and rigor, and who is excited to explore "outside-the-box" ideas with his students. Michael has the gift to "empathize with a wide range of economic, personal, and social struggles" because of his deep engagement in real-world social movements, especially regarding labor rights.

Ronald Pipkin
Service Award

For sustained and extraordinary service to the Association.


Doris Marie Provine
Arizona State University

Nominated by Carroll Seron, University of California, Irvine

In addition to her important intellectual contributions to law and society, Marie Provine has been an incredible LSA citizen throughout her career. Marie has served two terms on the Board of Trustees and one term as Treasurer. She co-chaired the Vail and Montreal Program Committees and served as a Program Committee member three other times. In addition, she has served on committees for Nominations, Membership, workshops, and at least three prizes. In recent years perhaps her most important contribution to LSA has been her active and enduring support of Collaborative Research Networks (CRNs).  Marie has worked tirelessly to insure that CRNs are an important part of LSA, and a helpful path for emerging scholars. In anticipation of the international meeting in Mexico City in 2017, Marie has continued this effort through service on the International Research Collaborative (IRC) initiative. 

Through this formal committee work and informally, she has collaborated with many scholars. Marie is a networker and bridge builder, across disciplines and countries.  She has played an important collaborative and mentoring role with younger and emerging scholars—a service contribution that has enhanced the careers of many.  At LSA meetings Marie is usually found meeting with any number of junior scholars who want to pick her brain about how to proceed on a project.  In this her commitments epitomize the values and goals of LSA.


For the dissertation that best represents outstanding work in law and society research in 2016.


Sarah Seo
Princeton University

The Fourth Amendment, Cars, and Freedom in Twentieth Century America

Nominated by Hendrik Hartog, Princeton University

Sarah Seo's dissertation is an imaginative and beautifully written study of how the advent of cars on American roadways presented new challenges for policing, while it altered conventional notions of freedom and ultimately resulted in a new legal doctrine around Fourth Amendment guarantees against unreasonable search and seizure. Through meticulous attention to a wide range of primary-source materials and extensive examination of court decisions, Seo shows that the new technology of the automobile changed expectations of mobility and freedom, while at the same time destabilizing notions of private space and regulatory authority.  Seo skillfully traces the way that these new realities shaped the development of legal doctrine and catalyzed a shift towards proceduralism in Fourth Amendment jurisprudence. In showing the links between technology, police practices, and legal change, Seo challenges long-standing explanations of the Warren Court's due process revolution.  The selection committee was impressed with the creativity of the study, the quality of the data that was marshaled, the intellectual depth of the argument, and the elegance of the prose.  Seo's dissertation makes a significant contribution to the literature on the Fourth Amendment and U.S. legal change more broadly.

Honorable Mention

Anjuli Verma,The Great Experiment: California's Prison Realignment and the Legal Reform of Mass Incarceration
University of California, Irvine
Nominated by Mona Lynch, University of California, Irvine

Student Paper Prize

For the undergraduate paper that best represents outstanding work in law and society research.


Mitchell Santos Toledo
University of California, Berkeley

Liminal Legality and Legal Consciousness: Undocumented Student Responses to DACA

Nominated by: Lauren Edelman & Leti Volpp, University of California, Berkeley 

Santos-Toledo's paper generated praise for its significance to socio-legal studies, access to hard to reach subject population and importance to current public policy. This is a significant field study focusing on the legal consciousness of undocumented youth who applied for DACA status, comparing those who were and those who were not granted DACA status. It is an important contribution to sociolegal literature, potentially publishable, and timely, relevant and important to today's policy debates.

Honorable Mentions

Anna Mikkelborg, Reframing Reform: Evaluating and Challenging Conversations around Campaign Finance in the US,
University of Washington
Nominated by: Michael McCann, University of Washington

Mahala Miller, I Treat Everyone with Respect: Legal Debt Collection Attorneys as Agents of Institutionalized Racism in a Color-Blind America, Macalester College
Nominated by: Erik Larson, Macalester College

Graduate Student
Paper Prize

For the graduate paper that best represents outstanding work in law and society research.


Erin Adam
University of Washington

Intersectional Coalitions: The Paradoxes of Rights-Based Movement Building in LGBTQ and Immigrant Communities

Nominated by: Michael McCann, University of Washington

We regard this top-tier work as an original contribution to rights mobilization, asserting that rights claiming concurrently unifies and fragments social movements. It is published in the latest issue of LSR (50:3 2016).

Erin Adam is a concurrent J.D./Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at the University of Washington. Her research delves into the relationship between law and social movements, with a focus on the formation of grassroots, intersectional coalitions across the LGBTQ, labor, and immigrant rights movements. She was an American Association of University Women (AAUW) fellow for the 2016-2017 academic year and has recently published articles in Law & Society Review and Law & Social Inquiry. Erin will be joining Hunter College, CUNY's political science department as an assistant professor in fall of 2017.

Honorable Mention

Stephen Wulff, Flipping the New Penology Script: Police Misconduct Insurance, Grassroots Activism, and Risk Management-Based Reform, University of Minnesota
Nominated by: Christopher Uggen, University of Minnesota