November 9, 2015

Contact: Annie Holmes

Cal Poly to Host ‘Race Citizenship in the Constitution’ Lecture Nov. 19

SAN LUIS OBISPO — USC law Professor Ariela Gross will present “Race Citizenship in the Constitution” from 11 a.m. to noon Thursday, Nov. 19, in the Advanced Technology Lab (No. 7) at Cal Poly in observance of Constitution Day.

Gross will discuss key aspects of her book, “What Blood Won’t Tell: A History of Race on Trial in America,” which unearths the legal history of race by recounting stories of racial identity trials in American courts, from the early republic into the 20th century. The racial identity trials — court cases that determined a person’s race as well as their rights and privileges — help explain the history of race and racism in America. Gross will sign books after her talk.

Constitution Day is celebrated Sept. 17, but because of Cal Poly’s academic calendar, the university is recognizing it in November.

The public is invited to the free event, which is sponsored by Cal Poly’s Office of University Diversity and Inclusivity, and the College of Liberal Arts.

About Ariela Gross 

Ariela Gross has taught contracts, history of American law, and race and gender in the law at USC Gould School of Law since 1996.  She earned a B.A. from Harvard University, a J.D. from Stanford Law School, and a doctorate in history from Stanford University. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Frederick J. Burkhardt Fellowship of the American Council of Learned Societies, and a National Endowment for the Humanities Huntington Library Long-Term Fellowship. In 2010, she was appointed a distinguished lecturer by the Organization of American Historians.  

Her research and writing examine race and slavery in the U.S. Her book “What Blood Won’t Tell: A History of Race on Trial in America” has won several awards, including the 2009 J. Willard Hurst Prize for the best book in socio-legal history from the Law and Society Association; the 2009 Lillian Smith Book Award for the best book on the South from the Southern Regional Council; and the American Political Association’s prize for the Best Book on Race, Ethnicity, and Politics. Gross is also the author of “Double Character: Slavery and Mastery in the Antebellum Southern Courtroom” and numerous law review articles and book chapters. She has co-authored several history textbooks, including “America Past and Present.”


Office of University Diversity and Inclusivity:

College of Liberal Arts:

Ariela Gross:


# # #