Professor Pitts received her Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 2006. Her book titled Family, Law, and Inheritance in America: A Social and Legal History of Nineteenth Century Kentucky and was published Spring 2013 by Cambridge University Press. It explores the tensions and contradictions in the standard of sanity required to write a valid will. Focusing on nineteenth century Kentucky as a legal and geographical border state, it examines questions of moral obligation, free will, and how ordinary people understood their most intimate relationships. Traversing the histories of property, disability, insanity, and women, it analyzes how ordinary people and legal elites understood family and used law to make claims on each other.
Her current research interests include exploring how legal capacity was a disputed standard which was antecedent to the rights of citizenship, including suffrage. She is in the early stages of a project on how understandings of property evolved before and after the Civil War, focusing on nuisance law, vagrancy, and land. Professor Pitts teaches courses in U.S. constitutional history, the history of sexual regulation, race and the law, and American legal culture.
Family, Law, and Inheritance in America: A Social and Legal History of Nineteenth Century Kentucky, by Yvonne Pitts, Cambridge University Press, 2013
Dr. Pitts is teaching a Study Abroad course in Trans-Atlantic History of Sexuality in Summer 2014. Follow her students and their travels on their class blog. https://www.purdue.edu/lgbtqabroad14/