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Introduction to Symposium on “Critical Legal Histories”: Robert W. Gordon. 1984. Critical Legal Histories. Stanford Law Review 36:57–125


Hendrik Hartog is the Class of 1921 Bicentennial Professor in the History of American Law and Liberty and the Director of the Program in American Studies at Princeton University. He can be reached at


This introduction to a symposium on Robert Gordon's classic article “Critical Legal Histories” (1984) suggests that the article should be read in the first instance as a response to the distinctive historical and jurisprudential currents of the 1980s, even as it also remains a work that continues to challenge legal historians working today, a generation later.