Mark S. Weiner

Biography

In ViennaEver since I can remember, I have been interested in how people across the world have used law to organize their communities in profoundly different ways. My love of law and its development grew while I was in school, at Stanford and Yale, and in time I wrote three books on the subject: The Rule of the Clan, Black Trials, and Americans without Law.

In 2001, I got married, bought a house, and began teaching at Rutgers School of Law in Newark, New Jersey. I adored my students, and I relished the opportunity to introduce them to the American constitutional tradition. But my commute to work was three hours door-to-door, and my life was getting out of balance. What’s more, I was continually taken away from the basic questions that had drawn me to a scholar’s life to begin with.

A Fulbright Fellowship through the U.S. Department of State brought me and my wife, Stephanie, to a small town in northern Iceland. For five months, we lived a much slower, simpler life—it was beautiful—and the lack of institutional obligations freed me to share my passion for the study of legal differences far more than I ever could as a harried professor with an extreme commute. I asked myself, why not try to reproduce this life at home?

After some years of scrimping and saving, we made the leap. In 2012, I let my Dean know that I would not be returning the following year (thanks to his generosity, I am still formally on the faculty), and I moved my books from my office in New Jersey to our home in Connecticut.

This website is a forum in which I’ll be sharing my interest in law around the world and exploring issues I could only consider at a glance as a professor. I’ll be telling stories, commenting on contemporary events, and musing about legal history in ways that I hope you’ll find exciting even—in fact, especially—if you have no previous knowledge about law. I’ll also be experimenting with ways to write about and present global legal ideas to a general audience, including through the audio and video resources of the Web.

I hope that in time my posts will lead me to the subject of my next book—which is why your comments or questions are warmly welcome.

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Update, March 4, 2013. I’ve created a small autobiographical photo essay for my publisher’s website. You can read it here. It describes who I am through some of the objects I see every day.