Jennifer W. Reiss is a Ph.D. student focusing on the North Atlantic in the long eighteenth century. She is particularly interested in early American women and gender, and in the middle colonies; as well as early modern medicine and disability, popular and material culture, British and early American legal history, and Loyalism during and after the American Revolution.
As an undergraduate, an internship in the Penn Archives led to her B.A. thesis, “The Schemes of Public Parties:” Provost Smith, Dr. Franklin and the Struggle for Control of the University of Pennsylvania, which questioned the University's iconic elevation of Benjamin Franklin in light of evidence he worked to undermine the institution in its early years. Her M.Phil. dissertation entitled “By My Own Experience:” Women, Medicine and Knowledge in the Eighteenth Century Anglo-Atlantic World looked at eighteenth-century female-led domestic medical practice in the context of globalization, Enlightenment learning, and ideas of authority in the English Atlantic. Jenny's first research project in the Ph.D. program, currently titled “Pity That So Fine a Man Has Lost His Leg:” Gouverneur Morris and the Nuances of Physical Disability in Early America, attempted to understand the how Morris, the early American statesman and diplomat, negotiated his multiple physical impairments alongside class and gender expectations in the early Republic. Her current project, building on initial research conducted as a J.D. / LL.M. student, explores the eighteenth-century antecedents of the right to publicity (i.e., name, image, and likeness).
In August 2020, Penn Today interviewed Jenny about her work on Gouverneur Morris, the complexities of impairment in the eighteenth century, and how she discovered American history: https://penntoday.upenn.edu/news/gouverneur-morris-founding-father-disabled-american .
Prior to embarking on a career in history, Jenny practiced as an attorney in New York and London, including as an associate at the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at New York University School of Law, where she supervised student clinical projects and worked on the Center’s initiatives on corporate human rights abuses and racial profiling. On a pro bono basis, she worked with a Council of Europe legal team on the reorganization of the European Court of Human Rights and has represented asylum seekers in both the U.S. and U.K. She has published on European law, human rights law and intellectual property law, and continues to maintain an interest in the history of human rights and the impact of law on art and culture.
Advisor: Kathleen M. Brown
M.Phil., American History, with Distinction, University of Cambridge (Corpus Christi College), 2019
J.D., Harvard Law School, 2011
LL.M., University of Cambridge (Sidney Sussex College), 2010
B.A., History (with Honors) and Political Science, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Benjamin Franklin Scholar, University of Pennsylvania, 2007
Atlantic World; Early America; women and gender; cultural history; history of medicine; disability history; legal history; human rights; Early Modern Britain
- Teaching Assistant, HIST161/ECON014: American Capitalism (Fall 2020)
- “Reconsidering the History of Domestic Medicine.” Doing History in Public, August 20, 2019, www.doinghistoryinpublic.org/2019/08/20/reconsidering-the-history-of-domestic-medicine/ . [blog post]
- “Innovative Governance in a Federal Europe: Implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.” European Law Journal 20, no. 1 (2014): 107-125. [refereed international publication]
- “The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in a Post-Lisbon European Union.” Human Rights Brief 19, no. 2 (2012): 18-23. [published by American University Washington College of Law]
- “Commercializing Human Rights: European Trademarks after Anheuser Busch.” Journal of World Intellectual Property 14, no. 2 (2011): 176-201. [refereed international publication]
- “Recent Development – Protocol No. 14 ECHR and Russian Non-Ratification: The Current State of Affairs.” Harvard Human Rights Journal 22 (2009): 293-317. [published by Harvard Law School]
- New York State Bar
- McNeil Center for Early American Studies
- Omohundro Institute for Early American History and Culture
- Society for Historians of the Early American Republic