Lauren Benton

A comparative and world historian, Benton writes about global legal history and the history of European empires, especially British and Iberian empires. She completed her Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University and holds an A.B. from Harvard University. 
Benton’s research gauges the effects of legal conflicts on global and international orders. Her most recent book, They Called It Peace: Worlds of Imperial Violence, analyzes imperial violence between 1400 and 1900. Previous works examine constitutionalism in empires, histories of imperial sovereignty, law in slavery and abolition, and legalities of piracy. Before focusing on global legal history, Benton conducted ethnographic research on the informal sector and economic development in Latin America and Spain.
Benton is a recipient of the Toynbee Foundation Prize for significant contributions to global history. In 2022, she delivered the George Macaulay Trevelyan Lectures at the University of Cambridge. Other honors and awards include a Berlin Prize fellowship, a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, and membership in the Institute for Advanced Studies.
Before coming to Yale, Benton held faculty appointments at New York University and Vanderbilt University. She served as dean of humanities and dean of the graduate school at NYU and dean of arts and sciences at Vanderbilt. Benton was president of the American Society for Legal History in 2019-2020.