Saturday, October 21, 2017

Weekend Roundup

  • UVA Law is digitizing "the 336 legal texts catalogued by the University librarian in 1828."  They are “part of a group of roughly 8,000 legal texts deemed critical for education in law by Thomas Jefferson.”  H/t: The Cavalier Daily.
  • The first panel at this week’s annual meeting of the ABA Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice was organized around Josh Chafetz’s Congress’s Constitution.  Quoting from the organizer Chris Walker’s post on Notice & Comment: “This timely book details the historical foundations for a number of powerful tools at Congress’s disposal—the power of the purse, the contempt power, freedom of speech and debate, and other oversight tools—to rein in the federal bureaucracy and to resolve Congress’s conflicts with the other branches of the government. This panel will discuss how Congress has used and can better utilize these tools to reassert itself in the modern administrative state.”  More.
  • We noted the Harvard Law School's Diversity and U.S. Legal History Series as it transpired during the last academic year.  The lectures are now available on the "HLS Talks" webpage
  • John A. Ferejohn, NYU Law School, has posted Financial Emergencies, “a study of the use of emergency powers to deal with financial emergencies in revolutionary France and Weimar.”
  • ICYMI: A report of a discussion after a screening of “Marshall” at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, in the Washington Post Historians explain that access to documents at Indonesia’s National Archives isn’t what it should be.
  • Update: For anyone working on the history of criminal law, the new Annual Review of Criminology has a special interdisciplinary article collection on Crime and Society. It includes articles like Malcolm Feeley and Hadar Aviram's "Social Historical Studies of Women, Crime, and Courts." Free access to the issue until Nov. 30, 2017 is available here.
Weekend Roundup is a weekly feature compiled by all the Legal History bloggers.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Postdocs with Foundations of European Legal Culture

[This just in from a Finnish friend.]

We are excited to begin work with the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence that will continue to work of the Revisiting the Foundations of European Legal Culture 1934-1964 project. The CoE will begin its activities on January 1st, 2018, but we will begin recruitment for researcher positions already now. In the first phase, we are hiring 3-4 post docs for a period of four years each and three doctoral candidates also for a four year period. For the post docs, the main rule is that one should not have more than five years of research activity behind her or him. The doctoral student positions will be opened next month.

What we would like to ask you is to distribute the job ad to your networks and especially to people who would be suitable candidates. For more information about the CoE and its different subprojects, check out our fledgling website.

Each of the subprojects (Law and the uses of the past, Discovering the limits of reason and Migration and the narrative of Europe) has a different focus, but they are tied thematically. Legal historians, lawyers, intellectual historians, philosophers, anthropologists, political scientists and the like are strongly encouraged to apply! The ads are here, [here, and here.]

Thank you very much for your help! We look forward to having you as our guest in one or more of our events.

With all the best,

Kaius Tuori, Reetta Toivanen and Pamela Slotte
Directors, CoE for Law, Identity and the European Narratives

Kickman and Kerska on the Civil War Origins (and Later History) of the Anti-Injunction Act

Kristin E. Hickman and Gerald Kerska, University of Minnesota School of Law, have posted Restoring the Lost Anti-Injunction Act, which is forthcoming in the Virginia Law Review:
Should Treasury regulations and IRS guidance documents be eligible for pre-enforcement judicial review? The D.C. Circuit’s 2015 decision in Florida Bankers Association v. Treasury puts its interpretation of the Anti-Injunction Act at odds with both general administrative law norms in favor of pre-enforcement review of final agency action and also the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the nearly identical Tax Injunction Act. A 2017 federal district court decision in Chamber of Commerce v. Internal Revenue Service, appealable to the Fifth Circuit, interprets the Anti-Injunction Act differently and could lead to a circuit split regarding pre-enforcement judicial review of Treasury regulations and IRS guidance documents. Cases interpreting the Anti-Injunction Act in general are fragmented and inconsistent. In an effort to gain greater understanding of the Anti-Injunction Act and its role in tax administration, this Article looks back to the Anti-Injunction Act’s origin in 1867 as part of Civil War-era revenue legislation and the evolution of both tax administrative practices and Anti-Injunction Act jurisprudence since that time.

Kolla on International Law & the French Revolution

Out this month by Edward James Kolla (Georgetown University) is Sovereignty, International Law, and the French Revolution in the "Studies in Legal History" series with Cambridge University Press. From the publisher:

Sovereignty, International Law, and the French RevolutionThe advent of the principle of popular sovereignty during the French Revolution inspired an unintended but momentous change in international law. Edward James Kolla explains that between 1789 and 1799, the idea that peoples ought to determine their fates in international affairs, just as they were taking power domestically in France, inspired a series of new and interconnected claims to territory. Drawing on case studies from Avignon, Belgium, the Rhineland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Italy, Kolla traces how French revolutionary diplomats and leaders gradually applied principles derived from new domestic political philosophy and law to the international stage. Instead of obtaining land via dynastic inheritance or conquest in war, the will of the people would now determine the title and status of territory. However, the principle of popular sovereignty also opened up new justifications for aggressive conquest, and this history foreshadowed some of the most controversial questions in international relations today.
Praise for the book:

“When the right of peoples to self-determination creates an international law immediately to the advantage of the French Revolution and ultimately for our present world, a brilliant paradoxical book explaining how the French Revolution was a key experiment for our modernity.” -Jean-Clément Martin

“In this brilliant and thoughtful study of international law during the French Revolution, Kolla presents a fascinating history of the principle of national self-determination, as it developed over a century before Woodrow Wilson brought this idea to Versailles. Kolla’s book will be of great interest to historians of modern Europe, political theorists, and legal scholars.” -Dan Edelstein

“Kolla's bold and thought-provoking study transforms our view of the French Revolution's importance for international law. Kolla persuasively argues for positive advances, rooted in the doctrine of popular sovereignty, and for an indirect 'ripple' effect which provided an important foundation for the decisive nineteenth-century advance in international law.” –Hamish Scott

Further details are available here.

Call for #ASLH2017 Panel Reports and Twitter Updates

If you are attending the American Society for Legal History meeting next week in Las Vegas, the Legal History Blog welcomes your guest posts about any panels you attend. Examples of panel reports from previous meetings are here, here, here and here.  The 2017 program is here.

Twitter updates would also be appreciated. We suggest the hashtag #ASLH2017. And do say hello if you see us at the meeting!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The NYS Constitutional Convention of 1938

To inform New Yorkers in advance of next month’s referendum on whether to convene a state constitutional convention, the Historical Society of the New York Courts has posted on its website A Global Context: The New York State Constitutional Convention of 1938, by Peter J. Galie, emeritus professor of history at Canisius College, and Christopher Bopst.  An expanded version appeared in New York Archives Magazine 17 (Summer 2017): 24-27.  The 1938 convention's adoption of an “antibureaucracy clause” figures in chapter 4 of my Tocqueville’s Nightmare.

Nicoletti's "Secession on Trial"

We know Secession on Trial: The Treason Prosecution of Jefferson Davis is out, because we saw a copy when Cynthia Nicoletti, Virginia Law, drew upon it in delivering her  Leon Silverman Lecture (a series sponsored by the Supreme Court Historical Society) at the Supreme Court last night.  The book appears in the ASLH series Studies in Legal History, published by the Cambridge University Press.
This book focuses on the post-Civil War treason prosecution of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, which was seen as a test case on the major question that animated the Civil War: the constitutionality of secession. The case never went to trial because it threatened to undercut the meaning and significance of Union victory. Cynthia Nicoletti describes the interactions of the lawyers who worked on both sides of the Davis case - who saw its potential to disrupt the verdict of the battlefield against secession. In the aftermath of the Civil War, Americans engaged in a wide-ranging debate over the legitimacy and effectiveness of war as a method of legal adjudication. Instead of risking the “wrong” outcome in the highly volatile Davis case, the Supreme Court took the opportunity to pronounce secession unconstitutional in Texas v. White (1869).
Here are some endorsements:
“Cynthia Nicoletti tackles a hugely important topic: the post-Civil War resolution of the legal status of the Confederacy. The prosecution of Jefferson Davis squarely posed the question whether the Confederacy had become a separate country by seceding. If it had, southerners insisted there could be no treason. If it had not, many of the war powers asserted by the North would be called into question. Nicoletti brilliantly tracks the efforts of jurists and politicians to work through momentous questions about the American constitutional order.”

John Fabian Witt - Yale Law School, Connecticut, and author of Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History

“Nicoletti’s beautifully written book studies a crucially important trial that never happened. She situates Davis’s treason case in the wider context of public discussions about how to treat officials of the former Confederacy and what to do about secession. Law, as Nicoletti argues, was not separate from other aspects of life in this period; it was deeply implicated within them and, thus, inseparable from them.”

Laura Edwards - Peabody Family Professor of History, Duke University, North Carolina and author of A Legal History of the Civil War and Reconstruction: A Nation of Rights

Brunson on Brigham Young v. BIR

Samuel D. Brunson, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, has posted Brigham Young vs. The Bureau of Internal Revenue:
Brigham Young (LC)
In 1871, Brigham Young, the president and trustee-in-trust of the Mormon church, decided to end the church’s practice of tithing, a significant source of revenue for the Mormon church. This decision was the culmination of more than a year of conflict with the Bureau of Internal Revenue, which had decided that tithing was taxable under the Civil War income tax.

At the time, Mormons distrusted the federal government, and the federal government, in turn distrusted the Mormons. The question of taxation was a small part of a larger legal and existential battle between the Mormons and the government. This Article situations the question of the taxability of tithing in the broader legal and relational conflict. More important, it tells the story of how the income tax threatened to fundamentally change the Mormon church, and how Mormon leaders reacted to that threat, both with an increasingly sophisticated legal argumentation and, in the event their legal argumentation failed, with planning to take the tax law into account.

Camp on FDR's Earned Income Tax Credit

Bryan Camp, Texas Tech University School of Law, has posted Franklin Roosevelt and the Forgotten History of the Earned Income Tax Credit, which appeared in The Green Bag, 2d ser., 20 (Summer 2017): 337-349:
On his 1934 income tax return, Franklin Roosevelt claimed an "earned income credit" of $1,400. We usually think of the Earned Income Tax Credit (ETIC) as a subsidy for the poor. This article recovers the original history of the credit back when it was a subsidy for the rich, or at least wealthy taxpayers who earned their wealth through their labor. The purpose of this credit, which lasted up until WWII, was to offset the huge tax preference given to wealthy taxpayers whose income came from capital. The article traces the credit from its inception to its demise and then links it to the current EITC to show some surprising connections between the two credits over time and social change. Both are linked to the foundational tax policy concept of "ability to pay" although in different ways.

Backhouse on L'Heureux-Dubé

Claire L’Heureux-DubéOut this month with UBC Press is Claire L'Heureux-Dubé: A Life by Constance Backhouse (University of Ottawa). From the publisher:
Both lionized and vilified, Claire L’Heureux-Dubé has shaped the Canadian legal landscape – and in particular its highest court. The second woman appointed to the Supreme Court, and the first Québécoise, she was known as “the great dissenter,” making judgments that were applauded and criticized in turn.

Who was this energetic, risk-taking woman? L’Heureux-Dubé stands out as one of the most dynamic and controversial judges on a controversial court. Did she consciously position herself for success in a discriminatory milieu, or was she oblivious to power?

L’Heureux-Dubé anchored her innovative legal approach to cases in their social, economic, and political context. Constance Backhouse employs a similar tactic. Rather than focusing exclusively on jurisprudential legacy, she explores the rich sociopolitical and cultural setting in which L’Heureux-Dubé’s career unfolded, while also considering her personal life.

This compelling biography covers aspects of legal history that have never been so fully investigated. Changing gender norms are traced through the experience of a francophone woman within the male-dominated Quebec legal profession – and within the primarily anglophone world of the Supreme Court. Claire L’Heureux-Dubé enhances our understanding of the Canadian judiciary, the creation of law, the Quebec socio-legal environment, and the nation’s top court.

Claire L’Heureux-Dubé will interest students and scholars of law, Canadian and Quebec history, and women’s studies, as well as legal professionals such as lawyers, judges, and law clerks. More generally, those who enjoy Canadian biography will find compelling reading in this study of a highly influential woman with a formidable legal intellect.
Praise for the book:

“A compelling book about a compelling judge by a compelling author. Claire L’Heureux Dubé is a bold, brilliant, and brave woman who transformed Canadian law. Constance Backhouse is also a bold, brilliant, and brave woman who has transformed Canadian legal history. This is a meeting between two giants, the ebullient and forceful Québec legal mind and the eminent Anglo-Canadian feminist scholar. I laughed, I cried, I debated, and I reflected. I read it in two days. So should you.”  -Nathalie Des Rosiers

“This book is a tour de force. Constance Backhouse has created a new genre, one that masterfully combines socio-legal history and riveting biography, giving insight not just into the life of an individual but also into Canadian history. In its weaving together of public and private events, this book makes visible the costs borne by those who were breaking paths ahead of their time.” -Rebecca Johnson

“Professor Backhouse has taken her legal expertise, stirred in prodigious amounts of research, added some spicy feminist analysis, iced the whole with her inimitable writing style, and served up a magnificent biography. For many English Canadians this detailed portrait will be an eye-opener, one that may well contribute to a greater understanding of Quebec history and culture through its comprehensive, intimate, and insightful portrait of Claire L’Heureux-Dubé herself. This book is a triumph.”  -Philip Girard

Further information is available here.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

(Another) Festschrift for Paul Brand

We've received word of the publication of a second festschrift for Paul Brand.  It is Law and Society in Later Medieval England and Ireland: Essays in Honour of Paul Brand, published by Routledge and edited by Travis R. Baker,  a private scholar living in San Diego, California.
Law mattered in later medieval England and Ireland. A quick glance at the sources suggests as much. From the charter to the will to the court roll, the majority of the documents which have survived from later medieval England and Ireland, and medieval Europe in general, are legal in nature. Yet despite the fact that law played a prominent role in medieval society, legal history has long been a marginal subject within medieval studies both in Britain and North America. Much good work has been done in this field, but there is much still to do. This volume, a collection of essays in honour of Paul Brand, who has contributed perhaps more than any other historian to our understanding of the legal developments of later medieval England and Ireland, is intended to help fill this gap. The essays collected in this volume, which range from the twelfth to the sixteenth century, offer the latest research on a variety of topics within this field of inquiry. While some consider familiar topics, they do so from new angles, whether by exploring the underlying assumptions behind England’s adoption of trial by jury for crime or by assessing the financial aspects of the General Eyre, a core institution of jurisdiction in twelfth- and thirteenth-century England. Most, however, consider topics which have received little attention from scholars, from the significance of judges and lawyers smiling and laughing in the courtroom to the profits and perils of judicial office in English Ireland. The essays provide new insights into how the law developed and functioned within the legal profession and courtroom in late medieval England and Ireland, as well as how it pervaded the society at large.
Table of Contents after the jump.

Seidler on Bureaucrats and Institutional Transplants in the British Empire

Valentin Seidler, University of Vienna, has posted Colonial Bureaucrats, Institutional Transplants, and Development in the 20th Century, which appeared in Administory: Zeitschrift für Verwaltungsgeschichte 1 (2016): 155-172:
The article presents a new research agenda which links the composition of the British colonial administrations in the mid-20th century with the economic development of former colonies. It presents the first findings taken from the biographical records of over 14,000 senior colonial officers which served in 46 colonies between 1939 and 1966. Legal transplanting, i.e. the practice of copying foreign law into countries lacking them, is discussed as a common practice in international development efforts and as new approach in understanding long-term economic development. The approach puts emphasis on the senior bureaucrats who are in charge of institutional copying. Successful transplanting requires very specific training and personal experience in the receiving society. Colonial officers with such characteristics served in the British colonial administrations while decolonization provides a historic period of intensified legal and institutional transplanting.

Clay v. US to Be Reenacted at SCOTUS

This year the Supreme Court Historical Society’s Frank C. Jones Reenactment will be of Clay v. United States.  It will take place in the Chamber of the Supreme Court of the United States at 6:00 on November 8, 2017.  The Honorable Sonia Sotomayor will preside. Thomas G. Krattenmaker, who clerked for Justice Harlan when the appeal was argued, will provide an historical overview.  In the reenactment, Theodore V. Wells, Jr., will appear on behalf of Muhammad Ali, and Donald B. Ayer will appear on behalf of the United States.  Tickets may be purchased here.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Kuklík and Petráš's "Minorities and Law in Czechoslovakia"

Jan Kuklík, Charles University, and René Petráš, Masaryk University, have published Minorities and Law in Czechoslovakia, 1918-1992, with the Karolinum Press, which is distributed in the United States by the University of Chicago Press:
Across the whole of modern Czech history—from 1918, through World War II, and into the postwar years—ethnic and minority issues have been of the utmost prominence. Moreover, Czechoslovakia has in the past been held up as a model for solving problems related to ethnic and minority tensions through legal regulations—regulations that played a key role in delineating minority status. Primarily intended for an international, non-Czech audience, this book takes a long-term perspective on issues related to ethnic and language minorities in Czechoslovakia. Bridging legal and historical disciplines, Jan Kuklík and René Petráš show that as ethnic minority issues once again come to the forefront of policy debates in Europe and beyond, a detailed knowledge of earlier Czech difficulties and solutions may help us to understand and remedy contemporary problems.

Lustig on Governance Histories of International Law

Doreen Lustig, Tel Aviv University Buchmann Faculty of Law, has posted Governance Histories of International Law:
During virtually the same period in which international lawyers began to critically explore the history of their discipline, historians turned to the forgotten pasts of international legal institutions such as the League of Nations, the United Nations, the international human rights system, and related systems of global governance as subjects of historical inquiry, while engaging in a vibrant debate over the meaning of their historiographical shift. Historians describe the turn to the international as a challenge to methodological nationalism. At the same time, international lawyers’ turn to history has been criticized for remaining locked within statist constraints, provoking repeated calls for a ‘global history’ of international law.

This paper explores the link between these statist constraints and the centrality of history of ideas in the history of international law. Studying the history of international law from a history of ideas perspective involves decisions on questions of agency that draw from theoretical predispositions on what international law is. International legal histories often share a vision of international legal history as a history of ideas and, in various ways, the history of ideas as they were advocated and developed by international lawyers. Analyzing the history of international law through the study of the work and thought of prominent international lawyers is tuned to telling a history of law through their theoretical, cultural, and sociological perspectives. This approach therefore remains loyal to their understanding of what international law is and the set of ideas, practices, and institutions they deem relevant for its understanding. The questions they are interested in and the concepts they develop become the questions and concepts we are studying. This methodological perspective provides an intriguing critical window onto international lawyers’ imagined legal world at a particular time and place. However, it also carries important pitfalls. The choice to tell the history of international law through the eyes of those who embrace a particular jurisprudential perspective on the international law field (such as a view that recognizes nothing but states as relevant to their oeuvre) could easily conflate between the historical perspective and the jurisprudential assumptions underpinning the historical inquiry. This could lead to an account of the international legal order as irrelevant to the fate of non-state actors such as corporations, NGOs, minorities, or stateless persons or to ‘non-statist’ aspects of social life such as economic relations or the family. Furthermore, it may be oblivious to ideas about law that may not be confined to such mandarin legality and appear in non-traditional sites and texts.

This paper highlights the relevance of two particular facets in the writings on the history of international law. The first relates to the scholar’s underlying assumptions on the theory of the law, and the second is the theory of law of the agents whose work, ideas, and practices the scholar studies. Bearing in mind the relevance of these theoretical perspectives to our understanding of the history of international law, I wish to explore the link between, on the one hand, the agent we choose to study and her/his theory of the law and, on the other, our own. It further inquires into how studies that move beyond the dominant traditional imagery of the international lawyer as the pre-eminent agent in international legal historiography could change our understanding of international legal history and how might such a shift in understanding, in turn, inform our theoretical predispositions on international law.

University of Minnesota Legal History Workshop 2017-18

[We have the following announcement from our friends at the University of Minnesota. Barbara Welke is leading this year's workshop.]


FALL 2017

Mondale Hall 473, Thursday, 4:05 – 6:00 pm

As in past years, we will circulate papers one week in advance of the workshop/ seminar.   The culture of the workshop is one of reading in advance.  We ask our guests to take only a few minutes as the outset to contextualize the paper for us.

Th. Sept. 21 Sarah Seo, Associate Professor of Law, University of Iowa ( “From the Foot Patrolman to the Motor-Mounted Policeman”
 (from book manuscript in progress Policing Everyman: How Cars Transformed American Freedom)

Th. Sept. 28 Laura Edwards, Peabody Family Professor of History in Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, Duke University (, Only the Clothes on Her Back: Textiles, Law, and Governance in the Nineteenth-Century United States

Th. Oct. 5 Nathaniel (Nate) Holdren, Assistant Professor, Program in Law, Politics, and Society, Drake University (,  “The Value of Injury: Workplace Accidents, Capitalism, and Law in the Progressive Era” (from book manuscript in progress Blood Money: Law, Commodification, and the Human Truths of Injury in the Long Gilded Age (under contract with Cambridge University Press)

Th. Oct. 12 Amy Dru Stanley, Associate Professor of History and Law, University of Chicago (, “The Sovereign Market and Sex Difference: Human Rights in America” (final chapter in book manuscript in progress From Slave Emancipation to the Commerce Power: An American History of Human Rights (Harvard University Press), and in essay form for Chris Desan and Sven Beckert, eds., New Histories of Capitalism (Columbia University Press))

Th. Oct. 19 Rohit De, Associate Research Scholar Yale Law School and Assistant Professor of History, Yale University (, "The Kenyatta Trial as an International Legal Event: Decolonization, Civil Liberties and a Global History of Rebellious Lawyering" (from book manuscript in progress titled Rights from the Left: Decolonization, Civil Liberties and a Global History of Rebellious Lawyering )

Th. Nov. 2 Will Hanley, Associate Professor of History, Florida State University (,  Identifying with Nationality: Europeans, Ottomans, and Egyptians (Columbia University Press, 2017)(Introduction, Part I (ch. 1-2), Part II (ch. 3 and 6))

Th. Nov. 9 Margot Canaday, Associate Professor of History, Princeton University (, “‘The Ones Who Had Nothing to Lose’:  Days and Nights in the Queer Work World”
Th. Nov. 16 Richard J. Ross, Professor of Law and History, Co-Director, Program in Legal History, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Law (, “The Rule of Law and the Estado de Derecho in British and Spanish America”

Th. Nov. 30 Rowan Dorin, Assistant Professor of History, Stanford University (, “Scribes, Synods, and Sermons: Legal Diffusion and the Rise of Mass Expulsion in Late Medieval Europe”

T. Dec. 5 Susanna Blumenthal, Julius E. Davis Professor of Law and Professor of History, University of Minnesota, “Accounting for Insanity: The Paper Economy of the Bloomingdale Asylum”

Journal on European History of Law

[We spotted the following on H-Announce.]

The association The European Society for History of Law is the publisher of the Journal on European History of Law which is published 2x per year. It is assigned for law-historians and Romanists that want to share with their colleagues the results of their research in this field.

At the same time, reviews of books with historical themes are being published. You can also find there information about the happenings in the field of law-history.

Articles in the journal are published in English or in German, according to the authors wish. The articles must fulfill the criteria written in the guidelines for authors. The executive editor decides on whether to publish the articles and in which order.

All the works must be reviewed. The executive editor decides on whether to publish the materials and in which order. After the review, the decision will be sent to the author by email.

The authors are held responsible for the lingual and formal level of the papers submitted. These levels are checked by the editor’s office and some small necessary changes can be done by the editor.  The Journal on European History of Law is included in ERIH PLUS.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Pearlston on Canadian Judicial Interpretations of Lesbian Sex under the Divorce Act

Karen Pearlston, Faculty of Law, University of New Brunswick, has published "Avoiding the Vulva: Judicial Interpretations of Lesbian Sex Under the Divorce Act, 1968," which appears in the Canadian Journal of Law and Society 32 (2017): 37-53.  It's gated, but here is the abstract.
The Divorce Act, 1968, provided no-fault divorce for the first time. It also included a list of fault-based grounds for divorce. In addition to the traditional grounds, a spouse whose wife or husband had “engaged in a homosexual act” during the marriage could petition for divorce. This novel provision was aimed at giving husbands a way to divorce their lesbian wives. A close reading of the resulting jurisprudence and surrounding context shows not only that courts struggled to define the homosexual act between women, but also that the legal history of lesbian women differs from that of gay men in a number of respects. Notably, male homosexuality was regulated primarily through criminal law. In contrast, when parliamentarians specifically addressed lesbians, they turned their minds to the family and family law.

O'Kelley reviews Lamoreaux & Novak, "Corporations and American Democracy"

Writing for JOTWELL's Corporate Law section, Charles O'Kelley (Seattle University School of Law) has posted an admiring review of Corporations and American Democracy (Harvard University Press), edited by Naomi R. Lamoreaux (Yale University) and William J. Novak (University of Michigan Law School). Here's a taste:
Lamoreaux & Novak contains the work of 16 scholars, organized as an introductory essay and ten chapters, which together provide a coherent and enlightening look at the nature of the corporation and corporate law from the founding of America to the present. At the same time, Lamoreaux & Novak also provides a provocative look at the nature of democracy, viewed in the context of the nation’s ongoing struggle over the proper relationship between corporations and government. Whether your interest lies in better understanding the corporation at the turn of the 19th century, in the early stages of the industrial revolution, during the pre-first-World-War reform era, in the early days of the New Deal, or as the corporation later evolved, Lamoreaux & Novak has something for you. For me, the highlight was Chapters 2 and 3, which provide a much needed clarification of the standard account of our understanding of the corporation as it evolved in the nineteenth century.
Read on here.

Call for applications: American Bar Foundation visiting position in "diversity and law"

Via the Faculty Lounge, word of a visiting position at the American Bar Foundation:
The American Bar Foundation (ABF) invites applications for its William H. Neukom Fellows Research Chair in Diversity and Law. This is a one-year, visiting position for the 2018-19 academic year. The ABF anticipates that the Neukom Chair will become a long-term position in the future. 
We seek an outstanding scholar with a distinguished record of scholarship in law and the social sciences who is conducting empirical research on diversity and law, broadly conceived. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, diversity in the legal profession and other institutions of justice; the impact of diversity on legal processes, legal institutions, and public policy; the roles of race, gender, disability, and sexuality in legal institutions and legal processes; and the interaction between legal processes and inequalities of race, gender, disability, and sexuality. Applicants from all social science fields, history, and law will be considered. 
In addition to pursuing the Research Chair’s own research, the Neukom Fellows Research Chair will participate in the ABF’s expanding program of research in diversity and law. The Neukom Chair is expected to be in residence at the ABF during the visit, and to make at least one formal presentation on the scholarly work they are doing at the ABF. 
The ABF is an independent, scholarly research institute committed to social science research on law, legal institutions, and legal processes. Its faculty consists of leading scholars in the fields of law, sociology, psychology, political science, economics, history, and anthropology. The ABF is strongly committed to diversity in hiring. Review of applications will begin on December 15, 2017, but the search will be ongoing until the position is filled.
We ask that applicants submit a letter of application, a curriculum vitae, a brief (no more than 2-page) description of current research and a list of three references. Application letters should be addressed to Robert L. Nelson, Chair, Search Committee, and sent in electronic form to Holly Gitlin, Executive Assistant, at with the subject line “Faculty Search.” Queries about the application process can be directed to Ms. Gitlin at (312) 988-6582. 
The American Bar Foundation encourages diversity in its workforce and seeks to provide equality of opportunity for all applicants and employees. All persons are considered for positions on the basis of job-related requirements. All decisions regarding recruiting, hiring, promotion, assignment, training, termination, and other terms and conditions of employment will be made without unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, age, disability, veteran status, pregnancy, or marital status, in accordance with the ABF’s commitment to equal opportunity and all governing laws.

HLS Opens Surrey (and Other) Papers

From Et Seq., the blog of the Harvard Law School Library, comes word that Historical and Special Collections at HLS has opened several new collections to researchers.  The big one is the  papers of Stanley S. Surrey, the “dean of the academic tax bar.”  (The temptation to write, “Oh, great: just in time to be ignored by congressional tax reformers,” is overwhelming.)  The other collections are the Lloyd L. Weinreb Papers; the Gary J. Greenberg Papers (Senior Trial Attorney in DOJ’s Civil Rights Division,1967-1969; the Andrzej Henryk Wojcik Collection of Cuban criminal and civil court documents from 1881 and 1890, the David Charny Papers; and Jeffrey Toobin research for his book “the kidnapping, crimes and trial of Patty Hearst.”  Et Seq. also reports that an original letter written by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. to Lady Clare Castletown will be opened to researchers "after conservation work has been completed," which certainly sets our pulses racing.  H/t: David Warrington.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sunday Book Review Roundup

Richard Aldous' Schlesinger: The Imperial Historian appears to be garnering significant attention.  The new biography is reviewed in The Nation, The Washington Post and the Boston Review

Michael Kazin's War Against War: The American Fight for Peace, 1914-1918  is reviewed in The Nation

Greater Gotham: A History of New York City from 1898 to 1919 by Mike Wallace has recieved a glowing review in The New York Times.

In The Washington Post is a review of Ron Chernow's Grant.

Robert Paxton thoughtfully reviews Benjamin Martin's The Nazi-Fascist New Order for European Culture in The New York Review of Books.

At H-Net is a review of legal historian Michelle McKinley's Fractional Freedoms: Slavery, Intimacy, and Legal Mobilization in Colonial Lima, 1600-1700

In the New Republic Nell Irvin Painter reviews Toni Morrison's The Origin of Others.

At Salon Nancy MacLean speaks about her Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America.

In Dissent's fall issue is a review of Noam Maggor's Brahmin Capitalism: Frontiers of Wealth and Populism in America’s First Gilded Age.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Weekend Roundup

  • Earlier this week, Susanna Blumenthal, Minnesota Law, presented the paper “Counterfeiting Confidence: The Problem of Trust in the Age of Contract” at Emory Law, and Rebecca Scott, University of Michigan, presented  “Luisa Coleta and the Capuchin Friar: Slavery, Salvation, and the Adjudication of Status (Havana, 1817)” to the American Studies Workshop at Princeton University.  H/t: Legal Scholarship Blog
  • Congratulations to Michael Schoeppner, University of Maine, Farmington, for winning the 2017 Hines Prize awarded by the Carolina Lowlands and Atlantic World program of the College of Charleston for the best new scholarly publication by a first-time author relating to any aspect of the Carolina Lowcountry and/or the Atlantic World.  He received it for his manuscript “Regulating Moral Contagion: Black Atlantic Sailors, Citizenship, and Diplomacy in Antebellum America."  H/t: UMF's press release.
  • Legally Insane, a new podcast, apparently plays legal history for yuks. 
  • The Commission on Legal Pluralism will hold its biennial conference in Ottawa, Aug.22-24, 2018, featuring the theme, "Citizenship, legal pluralism, and governance in the age of globalization." Beforehand (Aug.17-20), there will be a short course on legal pluralism. Details on how to apply are here (deadline: Nov.1, 2017).
  • G. Edward White, Virginia Law, will deliver the 2017 William M. Acker Jr. Visiting Lecture at Birmingham-Southern College on Thursday, November 2, at 7 p.m.  His subject will be “The Marshall Court as a Premodern Institution.”  And on October 17, Hauke Brunkhorst, University of Feinsburg, will lecture on the Evolutionary Sociology of Constitutionalism at Boston College of Law in the Clough Distinguished Lectures in Jurisprudence series.
 Weekend Roundup is a weekly feature compiled by all the Legal History bloggers.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Call for Applications: Princeton Postdoc in "Law and Difference"

We have the following call for applications, from Princeton University:
“Law & Difference” Postdoctoral Research Associate 
Position Description 
Princeton University’s Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Study is pleased to announce one residential Postdoctoral Research Associate or more senior position, renewable for a second year contingent upon satisfactory performance. During the academic years 2018–2019 and 2019–2020, the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies will focus of the topic of “Law & Legalities.” In conjunction with our program of residential fellowships, we invite recent Ph.D's to apply for a postdoctoral position focused on the more specific topic of “Law & Difference.” The successful candidate will work on some aspect of how the social construction and lived experience of difference—such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, ability/disability, or age—intersect with legal, illegal, quasi-legal, and extra-legal forms of social order. We invite candidates working on any time period or geographical area, and especially encourage applicants whose work ranges beyond the twentieth-century United States. 
The Postdoctoral Research Associate will be engaged in full-time work on the proposed historical project during the first year, and may teach up to one undergraduate course per semester in the second year (if renewed) pending need, enrollments, and the approval of the Office of the Dean of the Faculty. The “Law & Difference” position is strictly residential, as the Postdoctoral Research Associate will also participate in all of the Davis Center’s weekly activities (along with the Center’s other fellows). The program is designed to nurture the academic career of an emerging scholar by providing opportunities to pursue research and possibly teach while gaining mentoring from Princeton faculty and the resident Davis Center fellows. 
The initial expected term of appointment is July 1, 2018–June 30, 2019, with renewal possible for a second year contingent upon satisfactory performance. The Postdoctoral Research Associate will receive a competitive salary along with University benefits and an annual research fund of $5,000.
More information is available here.

Mosvick on the Law and Judicial Politics of Conscription in the Civil War

Nicholas M. Mosvick, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Mississippi, has posted Courtroom Wars: Pennsylvania Judges and Popular Constitutional Discourse in the Civil War North, which appears in the Faulkner Law Review 8 (2017): 269-348 (2017):
In November 1863, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a temporary injunction in the case of Kneedler v. Lane by a vote of 3-2 which declared the Enrollment Act of 1863 or the Conscription Act unconstitutional. This article seeks to describe how, over the course of 1863, Pennsylvania judges confronted the constitutional arguments over the Conscription Act amidst a background of Judge Woodward's campaign for governor and the push by Democratic newspapers and party members to share constitutional critiques of the Conscription Act with the public. The article also accesses newly unearthed evidence in the form of briefs, interrogatories, and oral arguments before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in the case of Kneedler, showing the meticulous ways in which anti-administration lawyers crafted their arguments against the constitutionality of the Conscription Act. The robust debate that emerges from these cases and legal arguments reflects the constitutional discourse among Northern citizens, which reflects their trepidation over expanding federal power and changing notions of sovereignty.

Landauer on Nagendra Singh & international law

Carl Landauer has published "Passage from India: Nagendra Singh's India and international law" in the Indian Journal of International Law (2016) 56 (3-4): 265-305. Here's an abstract:

This article engages the effort by the eminent Indian international lawyer, Nagendra Singh, to establish the role of Indian international law--going back to ancient Indian interstate law--in the development of modern international law, particularly in his book of 1969, India and International Law. The article begins by examining Singh's narrative of this special role with his focus on the growth of Indian law in terms of particular Indian sources and legal doctrines. The article also puts Singh in the context of other scholars both early in the twentieth century and in the 1950s and 1960s. Because Singh asserts the precedence of Indian international law, the article addresses not only his view of the unity of India but also which "India" he identifies--especially with a narrative that continues through Mughal lndia, and even through British India--and how his vision relates to a Nehruvian vision of India. The article then discusses the tension between the importance of peace and armed defense in Singh's writing. Finally, the article addresses Singh's approach to the colonial world and the position of the "new states" in the postwar international legal order. It places Singh within Chirnni's epithet for Indian scholars - coping with dualism. Overall, Singh worked very much within the existing international framework as represented in two volumes of Oppenheim's classic treatise. 

The Federal Courts Web Archive

In Custodia Legis, the blog of the Law Library of Congress, has recently announced a new archive of websites of the federal judiciary.  From the post:
The Federal Courts Web Archive, recently launched by the Library of Congress Web Archiving Team and the Law Library of Congress, provides retrospective archival coverage of the websites of the federal judiciary. The websites in this archive include those of the Supreme Court of the United States, as well as federal appellate courts, trial courts, and other tribunals.  These sites contain a wide variety of resources prepared by federal courts, such as: slip opinions, transcripts, dockets, court rules, calendars, announcements, judicial biographies, statistics, educational resources, and reference materials. The materials available on the federal court websites were created to support a diverse array of users and needs, including attorneys and their clients, pro se litigants seeking to represent themselves, jurors, visitors to the court, and community outreach programs.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

CFP: Regulating Age of Consent and Child-Marriage in the British Empire

Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV & Rana Prathap Kumari (wiki)
[We have the following call for papers.] 

Comparative perspectives on regulating age of consent and child-marriage in the British Empire, 1880 to 1930.  June 15, 2018.  SOAS University of London.

This is a call for proposals for a one-day interdisciplinary conference which aims to explore the debates that led to the reform of age of consent laws around the British Empire during the years 1880 to 1930. The conference is particularly interested in exploring the issues of age of consent and child marriage through interdisciplinary and comparative perspectives in law and history.

Intertwined within these debates are notions of gender, women's rights, biology, and attempts to understand the native psyche. These compete with tropes of cultural relativism, orientalism, the female victim, and the white man's burden amongst other concerns. For the purpose of this conference, consent is interpreted widely to include physical and intellectual consent to sexual activities as well as marriage.  The conference aims to bring together the growing number of scholars who are currently working on the histories of age of consent in the British Empire.

Recognising that the development and history of the age of consent debate is transnational, international, and multi-layered one, the conference is conceived of as a starting point for forming an international network of scholars working in the area.

Themes of the conference include but are not limited to notions of consent-physical and/or intellectual; age of consent campaigns and national movements; religion/class/region based perspectives on consent; comparative or regional studies on age of consent/marriage; age of consent for males; consent, female body, and nationalism/imperialism.

Please send 300-word abstract with a short bio to The deadline is 08 January 2018.  Bursaries might be available for PG students.  Organisers: Dr Kanika Sharma (SOAS) and Dr Laura Lammasniemi (Anglia Ruskin University).

CFP: Legal History and Empires: Perspectives from the Colonised (Updated)

[Here is the updated CFP for a conference we noted earlier.  Please note that the due date for submitting proposals is January 15, 2018.]

The conference "Legal History and Empires: Perspectives from the Colonised" will be held at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, in Barbados from July 11 to 13, 2018. The conference is jointly sponsored by the Faculty of Law and Faculty of Humanities and Education of The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, and an international group of legal historians and historians of the law.  [The keynote speaker is] Dr. Maya Jasanoff, Coolidge Professor of History, Harvard University.

This conference follows the successful conference on the Legal Histories of the British Empire held at the National University of Singapore in 2012, and is similarly designed to bring together senior and emerging scholars working in the fields of imperial and colonial legal history. We invite paper or panel proposals addressing legal histories of empires broadly, and encourage participants to think in particular how their research connects with the theme of the conference: perspectives from the colonized.  Without in any way limiting the range of proposals topics and themes might include: relations between Empires; histories from the peripheries of empire; mobilities, networks and transplants; law and gender; Indigenous histories and the law; slavery and indentured labour; regulation of labour; histories of immigration law; administration of justice and rule of law; histories of public or private law; colonial law and local circumstances; settler colonialism; crime; the professions.

Individual paper proposals should be maximum 300 words (and include a bio of no more than 100 words); panel proposals should consist of an overall panel theme (300 words), the titles of individual papers and short bios (no more than 100 words) of each presenter. Panels may include commentators. Proposals should be sent to Prof Shaunnagh Dorsett, University of Technology Sydney ( by 15 JANUARY 2018.

General inquiries about the Conference should be addressed to Dr. Asya Ostroukh, UWI, Cave Hill (  The Conference website is [here.]  (Information, including accommodation options and additional optional activities on July 10 and 14 will be available soon.)

Zhang, "The Laws and Economics of Confucianism"

Out today from Cambridge University Press: The Laws and Economics of Confucianism: Kinship and Property in Preindustrial China and England, by Taisu Zhang (Yale Law School). The book is part of the series Studies in Economics, Choice, and Society. A description from the Press:
Tying together cultural history, legal history, and institutional economics, The Laws and Economics of Confucianism: Kinship and Property in Pre-Industrial China and England offers a novel argument as to why Chinese and English pre-industrial economic development went down different paths. The dominance of Neo-Confucian social hierarchies in Late Imperial and Republican China, under which advanced age and generational seniority were the primary determinants of sociopolitical status, allowed many poor but senior individuals to possess status and political authority highly disproportionate to their wealth. In comparison, landed wealth was a fairly strict prerequisite for high status and authority in the far more 'individualist' society of early modern England, essentially excluding low-income individuals from secular positions of prestige and leadership. Zhang argues that this social difference had major consequences for property institutions and agricultural production.
A few blurbs:
"In this lucid and thought-provoking study, Taisu Zhang creatively and empirically reinterprets the causal relationships among cultural norms, property institutions, and socioeconomic behavior in early modern China and England. This holds profound implications for the study of global economic history, Sino-Western comparison, and Chinese law and society. This important book will not fail to stimulate new inquiries and debates for many years to come."-- Li Chen 
"Marrying cutting-edge historical archival work with remarkable cross-disciplinary theoretical breadth, Taisu Zhang boldly and brilliantly raises vitally important questions about the interplay of culture, law, and economic institutions in pre-industrial China and England. Anyone interested in global economic history or in today’s China will want to engage this powerful but inviting book." -- William P. Alford
More information, including the TOC, is available here.

We are also excited to report that Taisu Zhang will be joining us as a guest blogger for the month of December. We look forward to hearing more about this project!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

CFP: LSA 2018 (Toronto)

[We have the following for the organizers of legal history panels at the annual meeting of the Law and Society Association.]

The Law & History [Collaborative Research Network] (CRN 44) offers to help organize legal history panels for the annual Law & Society Association annual meeting (this year June 7 - 10, 2018 in Toronto). The LSA submission deadline is coming up quickly - Oct. 18 - so if you have a paper you'd like to present, please send your abstracts to us (email addresses below) by Oct. 15, so that we have enough time to quickly organize papers into panels by the deadline. Please also go ahead and submit your paper in the system as an individual paper and let us know that you have; the submission system requires that panels be constructed from those papers already in the system. 

And if you are putting together a panel yourself, and would like us to sponsor it, please let us know (so that we can add it to our list, and advertise it among CRN members as the conference approaches). Feel free to note it as a CRN 44 panel in the LSA submission process.

Joanna Grisinger
Associate Professor of Instruction
Center for Legal Studies, Northwestern University

Kimberly Welch
Assistant Professor 
Department of History, Vanderbilt University

Logan Sawyer
Associate Professor
University of Georgia Law School

Kathryn Schumaker
Assistant Professor
Department of Classics and Letters, University of Oklahoma

Mayeux on the Idea of the Criminial Justice System

Sara Mayeux, Vanderbilt University Law School, has posted The Idea of “The Criminal Justice System,” which is forthcoming in the American Journal of Criminal Law:
The phrase “the criminal justice system” is ubiquitous in discussions of criminal law, policy, and punishment in the United States — so ubiquitous that almost no one thinks to question the phrase. However, this way of describing and thinking about police, courts, jails, and prisons, as a holistic “system,” dates only to the 1960s. This essay contextualizes the idea of “the criminal justice system” within the rise of systems theories more generally within intellectual history and the history of science. The essay first recounts that more general history of systems thinking and then reconstructs how it converged, in 1967, with the career of a young systems engineer working for President Johnson’s Crime Commission, whose contributions to the 1967 report The Challenge of Crime in a Free Society launched the modern and now pervasive idea of “the criminal justice system.” Throughout, the essay reflects upon the assumptions and premises that go along with thinking about any complex phenomenon as a “system” and asks whether, in the age of mass incarceration, it is perhaps time to discard the idea, or at least to reflect more carefully upon its uses and limitations. For instance, one pernicious consequence of “criminal justice system” thinking may to be distort appellate judges’ interpretations of Fourth Amendment doctrine, because they imagine their rulings to be hydraulically connected in a “system” with crime rates.

Sugarman on C.W. Brooks and the “Legal Turn” in Early Modern English History

A few years back, we were indebted to David Sugarman, Lancaster University Law School, for the sad news of Christopher W. Brooks’s death.  Now Professor Sugarman has posted an assessment of Professor Brooks’s contribution to legal history.  It is Promoting Dialogue between History and Socio-Legal Studies: The Contribution of Christopher W. Brooks and the “Legal Turn” in Early Modern English History and is out in a special issue (44: 5) of the Journal of Law & Society, entitled "Main Currents in Contemporary Sociology of Law."   Professor Sugarman dedicates the paper to the memory of another English legal historian, John Beattie.  Here is the abstract:
This paper argues that the work of socio-legal scholars and historians would benefit from greater dialogue, and from taking the social history of law itself more seriously. It points up the benefits and the difficulties that might arise from greater cross-fertilization. By way of a case study, it focuses on the ‘legal turn’ in recent history writing on early modern England, particularly, Christopher W. Brooks’s ground-breaking analysis of the nature and extent of legal consciousness throughout society, and the central role of law and legal institutions in the constitution of society. The paper critically reviews Brooks’s principal ideas and findings, the contexts within which they arose, their theoretical underpinnings, and their larger significance. It highlights Brooks’s engagement with diverse scholars, including John Baker, Marc Galanter, Jürgen Habermas, Robert W. Gordon, J.G.A. Pocock and E.P. Thompson. It is proposed that Brooks investigated both elite and popular legal consciousness on an almost unparalleled scale, adopting top-down and bottom-up approaches that revealed the trickle-up, as well as trickle-down, diffusion of legal ideas, transcending the boundaries of social, political, and legal history. More generally, the paper seeks to demonstrate that the turn to law in early modern English history has enlarged the field in terms of subject-matter, methodologies and the range of sources utilised, deepening understanding of the workings of law and its wider importance. Indicative subject areas and topics enhanced by the legal turn are outlined including: law, gender, agency and social hierarchy; legal consciousness; trust, contractual thinking, and capitalism; governance and the growth of state power; and the decline in the participation of ordinary people in the legal system, and the so-called ’vanishing trial’. The paper concludes that a convergence between history, legal history and socio-legal studies has been underway in recent decades, that it provides opportunities for greater cross-fertilization, and that this would enhance our understanding of the role of law in society, and of society. For that greater dialogue to happen there would need to be better institutional support, changes in the cultures and mind-sets of history, socio-legal studies and legal history, and greater self-reflexivity. It would also generate difficult questions and controversy as to what sort of rapport might be appropriate, when, how and to what effect

Jaffe on the jury in India

James Jaffe, University of Wisconsin, has published "After Nanavati" in the Economic and Political Weekly 53:32 (12 Aug. 2017). Here's an abstract:
Image result for nanavati blitz
The famous Nanavati case of 1959 gave birth to two myths: that it was the last jury trial in India and that it was the prurient sensationalism of the new tabloid press, Blitz in particular, that corrupted the jury system and made its abolition necessary. It was actually the refusal of the government and the legal profession to confront class and caste differences in the courtroom, and not the popular press, that led to the abolition of the Indian jury.

Witt's Hands Lecture: "Adjudication in the Age of Disagreement"

The published version of John Fabian Witt's Hands Lecture, delivered for the special session of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in celebration of the 125th Anniversary, is now available online. It is titled "Adjudication in the Age of Disagreement." Here's a taste:
What explains all the praise for this court? What makes a tribunal strong? What role do judges play in our system of governance such that the Second Circuit’s particular virtues hold such a distinctive place in the tradition of adjudication? In the time I have here with you today I would like to offer the beginnings of an answer. It does not lie in the distance between the court’s traditions and [Judge Martin] Manton’s conduct. [Manton was convicted of bribery in 1939.] That would be too easy. At base, I think the answer lies in something far more subtle and interesting: the relationship between a central tradition of the Second Circuit and one of the great questions we face as a society today. That question is how to deal with disagreement.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

AHA Book Prizes to Garfinkel, Goluboff and Haley

The American Historical Association has announced its book prizes for 2017.  The Littleton-Griswold Prize in "US law and society, broadly defined” goes to Risa Goluboff, Virginia Law, for Vagrant Nation: Police Power, Constitutional Change, and the Making of the 1960s (2016).  Other award of interest to legal historians include the Joan Kelly Memorial Prize for women’s history and/or feminist theory to Sarah Haley, UCLA, for No Mercy Here: Gender, Punishment, and the Making of Jim Crow Modernity (2016) and the Helen and Howard R. Marraro Prize in Italian history or Italian-American relations to Paul Garfinkel, Simon Fraser University, for Criminal Law in Liberal and Fascist Italy (2016).

Update: UVA Law's press release on Vagrant Nation is here.

Stanford Center for Law and History & Inaugural Graduate Student Paper Prize

[We have the following announcement.]

We are pleased to announce the creation of the new Stanford Center for Law and History (SCLH). SCLH brings together faculty, postdocs, and students from across Stanford University’s many schools and departments—and beyond—to participate in a broad range of conferences, workshops, and lectures devoted to examining the multifaceted interrelationships between law and history (without geographic, temporal, or other subject-area limitations).

On April 20, 2018, SCLH will host its inaugural one-day conference, titled “Legal Histories of Policing and Surveillance.” The event will include a keynote address by Professor Michael Willrich and three panels featuring a range of prominent legal historians entitled: “Broadening the State’s Criminal Oversight Power,” “Surveillance Technologies and Legal Culture,” and “Policing Intimate and Family Life.”

The conference organizers will select one graduate student as the inaugural winner of the SCLH Graduate Student Paper Prize. This student will be added to one of the three panels—alongside distinguished faculty working on related topics—based on the fit between the proposed paper and the three panel themes. Funding for travel and housing will be provided.

To apply, submit the following in a single PDF here. The deadline is Friday, December 1, 2017.
  • CV
  • 500 word paper abstract
  • Briefly describe (75 words or less) which of the three panels is the best fit for your paper and why.
The organizers will inform the selected graduate student by early January 2018. The prize winner must circulate a fifteen to twenty page paper to the organizers by Monday, April 9, to share with other conference attendees.

For any questions, please email: and