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Gautham Rao Assoc Professor Department of History

Send email to Gautham Rao
(202) 885-6745
CAS - History
Battelle Tompkins - 157
Tuesday 1-2 pm; 8-9 pm; Fridays 1-2 pm; and by appointment
Ph.D., 2008, University of Chicago
M.A., 2002, University of Chicago
A.B., 2000, University of Chicago

Gautham Rao is a legal historian of revolutionary America and the Early American Republic. He completed his undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Chicago. He has been a postdoctoral fellow at the Library Company of Philadelphia, Samuel I. Golieb Fellow of Legal History at the New York University School of Law, and has served as a visiting professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris. His first book, National Duties: Custom Houses and the Making of the American State was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2016. He is currently working on projects about the legal history of slavery and the law of conspiracy in American history. He is also co-authoring a historian's amicus brief on the meaning of the Foreign Emoluments Clause for the case Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) v. Donald J. Trump. In November, 2017 he became the Editor of Law and History Review, the leading scholarly journal of legal history.

At American University, Rao teaches a wide range of courses, including General Education courses Why Big Government?, American Encounters and Social Forces that Shaped America, as well as graduate offerings such as Colloquium in U.S. History 1, Research Seminar, and The Historian's Craft.
For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.


Spring 2022

  • HIST-296 Selected Topics:Non-Recurring: The Crisis of Amer Law/Dmcrcy

  • HIST-727 Colloq in U.S. Hist I:to 1865

  • HIST-898 Doctoral Continuing Enrollment

  • HIST-899 Doctoral Dissertation

Summer 2022

  • HIST-751 Graduate Research Seminar

Fall 2022

  • HIST-899 Doctoral Dissertation

AU Experts

Area of Expertise

early American history; early American legal history; legal history concerning U.S. slavery.

Additional Information

Prof. Gautham Rao's opinion articles have appeared in Slate, and he has been quoted on issues in contemporary politics in CQ Roll Call, WRC-NBC4 and Salon.

For the Media

To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.

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