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Andrea McDowell   

Professor Andrea McDowell

Professor of Law

Professor Andrea McDowell specializes in legal history and property, particularly testing theories about the origins of property against the evidence.

Professor Andrea McDowell is a Senior Fellow at the Rothermere American Institute at Oxford University for the current academic year. She is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School, and holds a Ph.D. in Ancient History from the University of Pennsylvania. She is an expert on the legal and social history of Ancient Egypt; her many publications in that area include a book on Ancient Egyptian legal procedure as well as a more general work on Village Life in Ancient Egypt. Professor McDowell has taught Egyptology at Leiden, Oxford, and Johns Hopkins universities.

In recent years, Professor McDowell has turned to American legal history, particularly to the emergence of new kinds of property rights. Her article “Legal Fictions in Pierson v. Post,” which will appear in the Michigan Law Review, focuses on property rights in wild animals. She is currently working on a multi-part study of law in the California gold mining camps before they came under the jurisdiction of state government.

Professor McDowell clerked for Judge Morris S. Arnold on the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. Before coming to Seton Hall, she was a visiting assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and held research fellowships at the University of Wisconsin and Yale Law Schools. Here primary teaching interests are Torts, Trusts & Estates, and American Legal History.



Chapter 5, "Law", in Village Life in Ancient Egypt, in Oxford, 1999 (1999)


Criminal Law Beyond the State: Popular Trials on the Frontier, 2007 Byu L. Rev. 327 (2007)

Legal Fictions in Pierson v. Post, 105 Michigan Law Rev. 735 (2007)

From Commons to Claims: Property Rights in the California Gold Rush, 14 Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities 1 (2002)


Real Property, Spontaneous Order, and Norms in the Gold Mines, 29 Law & Social Inquiry 771 (2004)

An Incised Heiratic Ostracon (Ashmolean HO 655), 81 JEA 221-225 (1995)


Jurisdiction in the Workmen's Community of Deir el-Medina, Egyptologische Uitgaven 5 (Leiden, 1990)


Capital and Corporal Punishment in the California Gold Mines to appear in Capital Punishment (Gordon Bakken ed.)