Seaman Family University Professor
Karen Tani, a renowned legal historian, will be the Seaman Family University Professor, with faculty appointments in Department of History in the School of Arts and Sciences and in the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, as of July 1, 2020.
Tani, the inaugural graduate of Penn’s JD/PhD Program in American Legal History, is currently Professor of Law at the University of California at Berkeley, where she has taught since 2011. Her landmark book, States of Dependency: Welfare, Rights, and American Governance, 1935-1972 (Cambridge University Press, 2016), which was awarded the 2017 Cromwell Book Prize from the American Society for Legal History, examines the evolution of welfare programs, across four decades beginning from the New Deal, as central to the logic of modern American governance.
Her award-winning scholarship also assesses such critical aspects of the American legal landscape as federalism, constitutional equal protection, and Title IX enforcement. Most recently, she has focused on the dramatic transformations in legal approaches to disability in the late twentieth century. She has been a visiting professor at Yale and Columbia Law Schools and clerked for Judge Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 2007-2008. She earned a PhD in History (2011) and JD magna cum laude (2007) from Penn and a BA summa cum laude in History from Dartmouth College (2002), with high honors as a Presidential Scholar.
About the Donor
The Seaman Family University Professorship is a gift of Julie Breier Seaman, a 1986 graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Jeffrey Seaman, a 1983 graduate of the Wharton School.