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Ken Turchi
Maurer School of Law
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IU Maurer School of Law professor wins Society for U.S. Intellectual History annual book award

Aug. 19, 2014


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A professor at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law has been named the winner of the Society for U.S. Intellectual History 2014 annual book award.

Ajay K. Mehrotra, associate dean for research, Louis F. Niezer Faculty Fellow and adjunct associate professor of history, was selected for his recent work "Making the Modern American Fiscal State: Law, Politics, and the Rise of Progressive Taxation, 1877-1929" (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013).

Calling the book “important and ambitious” and "a history of ideas in action," the society cited Mehrotra’s analysis of the shift from the 19th-century "regime of indirect, hidden, partisan and regressive taxes” to today’s "direct, transparent, professionally administered and progressive tax system.

"A book on taxation may well seem a curious choice for an intellectual history prize," the society's editors said, "but we were struck by how successfully Mehrotra weaves together the intellectual, legal, administrative threads of his argument. (He) takes ideas seriously."

Mehrotra teaches tax law and legal history at the IU Maurer School of Law, and his research focuses on the historical relationship between taxation and American state formation.  In addition to his most recent book, he is the co-editor (with Isaac William Martin and Monica Prasad) of "The New Fiscal Sociology: Taxation in Comparative and Historical Perspective" (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009). 

His writings have also appeared in student-edited law reviews and interdisciplinary journals, including Law and Social Inquiry, Law and History Review, and Law and Society Review. His scholarship and teaching have been supported by grants and fellowships from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the William Nelson Cromwell Foundation and the Social Science Research Council.

Founded in 2007, the Society for U.S. Intellectual History promotes intellectual history through conferences and panels throughout the United States. It also sponsors an award-winning blog on intellectual history topics.