I am Associate Dean and Grady Rosier Professor in the Sorrell College of Business at Troy University, where I also direct the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy. My books include Literature and Liberty: Essays in Libertarian Literary Criticism (2014), Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Pragmatism, and the Jurisprudence of Agon: Aesthetic Dissent and the Common Law (2017), Of Bees and Boys: Lines from a Southern Lawyer (2017), The Southern Philosopher: Collected Essays of John William Corrington (2017), Writers on Writing: Conversations with Allen Mendenhall (2019), The Three Ps of Liberty: Pragmatism, Pluralism, and Polycentricity (2020), and Shouting Softly: Essays on Law, Literature, and Culture (2021). My novel, A Glooming Peace This Morning, is scheduled for release in 2023.
I hold a B.A. in English from Furman University, M.A. in English from West Virginia University, J.D. from West Virginia University College of Law, LL.M. in transnational law from Temple University Beasley School of Law, and Ph.D. in English from Auburn University.
Before joining Troy University, I was Associate Dean and Founding Executive Director of the Blackstone & Burke Center for Law & Liberty at Faulkner University Thomas Goode Jones School of Law in Montgomery, Alabama. I edited Southern Literary Review for over a decade and was a visiting scholar at the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER), an adjunct legal associate at the Cato Institute, a Mises Emerging Scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute Canada, an associate of the Abbeville Institute, a Humane Studies Fellow with the Institute for Humane Studies, a staff attorney for Chief Justice Roy S. Moore of the Supreme Court of Alabama, and Assistant Attorney General in the State of Alabama Office of Attorney General Luther Strange. I am an AmPhil Fundraising Fellow with American Philanthropic for 2023 and 2024, an elected member and former trustee of the Philadelphia Society, an associated scholar at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, a policy adviser for the Heartland Institute, former president of the Alabama Association of Scholars, president of the Montgomery Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society, and Chairman of the Board of Managers of the Alabama Center for Law & Liberty. In 2023, I was an inaugural recipient of the Freedom and Opportunity Academic Prize from the Heritage Foundation.
I have taught in university English departments, business schools, a humanities department, a law school, a Japanese private school, and a penitentiary, and I serve or have served on numerous boards of organizations as wide-ranging as the Alabama Public Television Foundation Authority, the Young Professionals Board of the Alabama Humanities Foundation, the Society for Law and Culture (a division of the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal), Trinity Christian School, and the Philadelphia Society. I am on the advisory council of the Ludwig von Mises Institute’s Master of Arts degree and Certificate Program in Austrian Economics. While in private practice in Atlanta, I represented non-profit corporations and litigated cases involving real property, contracts, collections, foreclosures, restrictive covenants, and real-estate transactions. I am a graduate of Leadership Lee County (Alabama), the Alabama State Bar Leadership Forum (Class 14), and the Atlas Leadership Academy of Atlas Network. I have authored hundreds of publications, including fiction and poetry, and studied under the creative writers Gilbert Allen, Michael Blumenthal, William Aarnes, and Chantel Acevedo.
My academic writing has appeared or is forthcoming in such peer-reviewed journals and law reviews as The Journal Jurisprudence, The Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, The Political Science Reviewer, The Texas Review of Law and Politics, European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy, Contemporary Pragmatism, The South Carolina Review, Academic Questions, The Independent Review, Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, Modernist Cultures, and The British Journal of American Legal Studies.
My writing for popular media has appeared in Newsweek, Fox News, Fox Business, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, The American Spectator, Pacific Standard, The Hill, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The American Conservative, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, Public Discourse, Law & Liberty, The Freeman, Liberty, RealClearMarkets, The University Bookman, The Daily Signal, Chronicles, The Christian Lawyer, The Conversation, and elsewhere. I have spoken at Harvard University, Brown University, Georgetown University Law Center, Francisco Marroquín University, Furman University, George Mason University, University of British Columbia, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Auburn University, West Virginia University, the Alabama State Capitol, the Alabama Supreme Court, and other universities and locations.
I have been quoted or cited in Fox Business, Fox News, Forbes, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The National Review, The Daily Caller, Times Higher Education, The College Fix, Campus Reform, Inside Higher Education, and U.S. News and World Report, and published by such organizations as the Ludwig von Mises Institute, the Ludwig von Mises Institute Canada, the Mercatus Center, the Foundation for Economic Education, the American Institute for Economic Research, the Charlemagne Institute, the Independent Institute, the Rockford Institute, the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal, the American Ideas Institute, Atlas Society, the Heartland Institute, the Abbeville Institute, the National Association of Scholars, the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, and the Libertarian Alliance. I frequently appear on radio and television on networks as wide-ranging as Fox News, Alabama Public Television, Al-Jazeera, C-SPAN, Bill O’Reilly’s No Spin News, and BBC World News.
Any views or opinions expressed on this website are my own and do not reflect the views or opinions of my current or past employers.
Praise for scholarly work
Mendenhall has focused our attention on the serious misconception that lawyers can teach writing skills. No doubt many a young associate can testify to a supervisor’s writing or editorial ineptness. It doesn’t bear much repeating that most lawyers are not inclined to treat the English language with kindness. And even good writers may not have the time or temperament to teach others how to write. (It’s easier to rewrite the darn thing themselves.) … Mendenhall is on to something. The legal profession could make much better use of those who teach writing for a living and those who would like to
Jeffrey ShulmanProfessor of Legal Research and Writing, Georgetown University Law Center
Allen Mendenhall offers a compelling analysis of the Dred Scott decision, positing Chief Justice Roger B. Taney’s initial opinion as a deathblow to Scott’s humanity that released a haint, which would haunt all future references to the case. It is appropriate, then, that Mendenhall cites Toni Morrison’s Beloved, a novel that imagines the return of history through the body of a child dealt a deathblow by her mother’s own hand. Consistent with Mendenhall’s interest in recorporealization, the baby that Sethe kills returns to the present in bodily form and this has various interpretations.
Michelle S. HiteProfessor of English, Spelman College
[B]ehind the stories we love to tell are the more insistent stories that are the real driving forces of a nation that was structured around the system of slavery. These are stories that resist a neat outline or a clean telling, and more often than not they are stories marked by a revealing incoherence. Allen Mendenhall explores one of the most important examples of those subterranean tales, a Supreme Court case that led to a devastatingly simple conclusion—the denial of African American rights to citizenship—but a conclusion that follows from an incoherent mess of conflicting and partial stories, more than 500 books that together add up to a haunting presence in American legal, political, and cultural history. … Mendenhall does important work in uncovering the history surrounding and obscuring the Dred Scott decision. He reminds us that legal decisions are often the product of complex, competing, and sometimes nearly incomprehensible stories, and he demonstrates that we can learn a great deal about U.S. racial history by studying the stories told to bolster legal decisions informed by prejudice. The twisted and competing tales he discovers behind the scenes and in the aftermath of Dred Scott are revealing, but they would not be terribly surprising to African Americans of the time, who understood well both the foreground and the implications of the decision.
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