Katherine Unterman is a historian of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, whose work brings together legal history and the history of American foreign relations.
Her 2015 book, Uncle Sam’s Policemen: The Pursuit of Fugitives across Borders, tells the history of the evolution of extradition law in the late 19th century. In a broader sense, it is an examination of changing views about America’s connection to the rest of the world, the nature of threats from abroad, and the extension of U.S. power beyond its borders.
Her next book, The Colonial Constitution: Law and Empire in the U.S. Territories, focuses on the Insular Cases, a series of Supreme Court decisions about the legal status of “unincorporated” territories like Puerto Rico, Guam, and American Samoa. This book examines how these cases have affected territorial residents for the last century and how they have responded, legally and politically, to the notion that they have fewer rights than other citizens under the U.S. flag. This project has received funding from the ACLS and the NEH.
Her articles have appeared in Law and History Review and the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, among other places. She has also contributed chapters to the Wiley-Blackwell companions to U.S. Foreign Relations and the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.