Thursday, September 18, 2014

Criminal Law and Emotions in European Legal Cultures

[Via H-Law, we have this call for papers for “Criminal Law and Emotions in European Legal Cultures: From 16th Century to the Present,” a conference to be held at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Center for the History of Emotions in Berlin in May 2015.  It will include keynotes by Elizabeth Lunbeck (Vanderbilt University) and David Sabean (UCLA) and a roundtable discussion by Dagmar Ellerbrock (MPIB/TU Dresden) and Terry Maroney (Vanderbilt University).]

Legal institutions and jurists have often perceived themselves and promoted an image of their role and activity as essentially 'rational'. Yet, emotions have always been integral to the law, particularly in the case of criminal law. Emotions were and are taken explicitly or implicitly into consideration in legal debates, in law-making, in the codified norms and in their application, especially in relation to paramount categories such as free will, individual responsibility and culpability, or the aggravating and mitigating circumstances of a crime. Emotions could directly or indirectly play a role in defining what conduct was legally relevant, worthy of legal protection or in need of legal proscription; in why and how it was necessary to punish, and what feelings punishment was meant to evoke.

Legal scholars in the past did not shun the complex relationship between law and emotions. Yet it is in the last two decades that specialists from different disciplines, from law theory to psychology, from philosophy to history, have shown an increasing and lively interest in unravelling the role played by passions, feelings and sentiments in criminal law. Special attention has been focused on three key areas: norms, practices and people.

This two-day conference seeks to historicize the relationship between law and emotions, focusing on the period from the sixteenth century to the present. It aims to ask how legal definitions, categorizations and judgments were influenced by, and themselves influenced, moral and social codes; religious and ideological norms; scientific and medical expertise; and perceptions of the body, gender, age, social status. By examining the period between the sixteenth century and the present day, this conference also seeks to challenge and problematize the demarcation between the early modern and the modern period, looking at patterns and continuities, as well as points of fissure and change, in the relationship between law and emotions. In particular, it seeks to question the extent to which ideas about law and emotions fundamentally shifted around the eighteenth century-the traditional marker of the 'modern' period.

This conference will explore how legal professionals, as judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys and other legal officials, handled different forms of knowledge about emotions in the practice of law, in accordance with, or in opposition to, general social and cultural attitudes and public opinion. It will further investigate the presence and absence-and their meanings-of emotions in the courtroom, as a fundamental aspect of criminal law practices. It will take into consideration not only the emotions which were shown, expected and provoked but also the ones which were repressed, controlled or proscribed by different legal actors and the public. Finally it will also include analysis of how legal understandings of emotions were portrayed in the media and in the wider society.

We invite submissions from scholars of different historical disciplines, working on early modern and modern periods and particularly encourage proposals from scholars working on Northern, Central and Eastern European countries, and the non-Western world.  The conference will be held in English.

Accommodation and travel expenses for those presenting will be covered by the Max Planck Institute for Human Development. If you are interested in participating in this conference, please send us a proposal of no more than 300 words and a short CV by 1 October 2014 to Papers should be no longer than 20 minutes, in order to allow time for questions and discussion.

Dr. Laura Kounine, Center for the History of Emotions, Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin

Dr. Gian Marco Vidor, Center for the History of Emotions, Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin

Law in Transition: Association of Young Legal Historians Annual Forum

The XXIst Annual Forum of Young Legal Historians, and 6th Berg Institute International Conference, with the theme Law in Transition, will take place at Tel Aviv University March 1-3, 2015.

The upcoming XXIst Annual Forum of the Association of Young Legal Historians aims at a comprehensive discussion of law in transition. A wide variety of transitions of historical significance can be explored: political, economic, social, cultural, and more. “Law”—legal symbols, discourses, players, institutions, theories, and texts—has played a significant role in historical transitions, and legal historians have been crucial in exploring its multiple and contradictory effects. The stakes are not just historical, but current: these studies encourage transitions in the way law itself is conceived, theorised, and researched.

We invite young legal historians to present papers dealing with any aspect of law in transition. (Proposals on other topics will also be considered.) Papers can explore specific events or periods in a particular region or state, or provide a comparative analysis of different periods or multiple locations. Papers can focus on local questions or deal with transnational legal justice. We welcome papers combining legal transitions with political, economic, social, and cultural ones. Methodological reflections are also welcome:  Have legal transitions been “top-down” or “bottom-up”? What have been the legal sources of transition? What are the relationships between legal and non-legal histories of transition? What conceptions of law, its forms of operation, its effects, and its significance inform the analysis of transition?

The conference's discussion formats will vary to include panels of 3-4 independent papers, roundtables, panels dedicated to a specific book (including author-meets-readers if authors can attend), and panels dedicated to a canonical article. The organising committee encourages the submission of proposals for all of these formats, and will also welcome new and exploratory formats.

Presentations may be given in any major language, but English-language presentations are likely to receive the widest audience.

The deadline for proposals is 1 November 2014; please email Decisions will be made quickly.

Proposals for individual papers should include an abstract of up to 350 words and a short c.v.

Proposals for full panels should include, in addition to individual paper proposals, an abstract introducing the theme of the panel.

Proposals for roundtables should include an introduction of theme, abstracts of presenters’ intended comments (up to 100 words for each presenter), and a short c.v. for each participant.

Proposals for panels discussing a single book or article should include a full citation of the book or article, an explanation of its significance, abstracts of the papers, and a short c.v. for each participant.

The conference fee will be ILS 450 (approximately 95 Euro). The program will include social events and tours.

Discounted conference fees and accommodation at a nominal charge will be available for participants with no institutional funding. Applicants requesting such support should explain their request in a document accompanying their submission.

The Call for Papers can be found here. Further information about the Association of Young Legal Historians and past Annual Forums can be found [here].  Please direct any questions about the conference to

The conference is sponsored by the David Berg Foundation Institute for Law and History, Buchmann Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University, with the support of the TAU Office of the Vice President, Cegla Center for Interdisciplinary Research, Entin Faculty of Humanities, and Yavetz Graduate School of Historical Studies.

We look forward to welcoming you to Tel Aviv.

The Organising Committee: Omer Aloni, Yael Braudo-Bahat, Doreen Lustig, Dina Moyal, Anat Rosenberg, David Schorr.

Volk's "Moral Minorities"

Although Emily has already noted the publication of an excerpt on Slate, we ought to have fully noticed the publication by Kyle G. Volk, University of Montana, of Moral Minorities and the Making of American Democracy (Oxford, 2014).  Here is a summary:
Should the majority always rule? If not, how should the rights of minorities be protected? In Moral Minorities and the Making of American Democracy, historian Kyle G. Volk unearths the origins of modern ideas and practices of minority-rights politics. Focusing on controversies spurred by the explosion of grassroots moral reform in the early nineteenth century, he shows how a motley but powerful array of self-understood minorities reshaped American democracy as they battled laws regulating Sabbath observance, alcohol, and interracial contact. Proponents justified these measures with the "democratic" axiom of majority rule. In response, immigrants, black northerners, abolitionists, liquor dealers, Catholics, Jews, Seventh-day Baptists, and others articulated a different vision of democracy requiring the protection of minority rights. These moral minorities prompted a generation of Americans to reassess whether "majority rule" was truly the essence of democracy, and they ensured that majority tyranny would no longer be just the fear of elites and slaveholders. Beginning in the mid-nineteenth-century, minority rights became the concern of a wide range of Americans attempting to live in an increasingly diverse nation.
Volk reveals that driving this vast ideological reckoning was the emergence of America's tradition of popular minority-rights politics. To challenge hostile laws and policies, moral minorities worked outside of political parties and at the grassroots. They mobilized elite and ordinary people to form networks of dissent and some of America's first associations dedicated to the protection of minority rights. They lobbied officials and used constitutions and the common law to initiate "test cases" before local and appellate courts. Indeed, the moral minorities of the mid-nineteenth century pioneered fundamental methods of political participation and legal advocacy that subsequent generations of civil-rights and civil-liberties activists would adopt and that are widely used today.
Here’s the TOC:
1. Making America's First Moral Majority
2. Sunday Laws and the Problem of the Christian Republic
3. The License Question and the Perils of "Pure Democracy"
4. Mixed Marriages, Motley Schools, and the Struggle for Racial Equality
5. "Jim Crow Conveyances" and the Politics of Integrating the Public
6. America's First Wet Crusade and the Sunday Question Redux
Epilogue: Making Democracy Safe for Minorities

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Call for Applications: Assistant Professor of Public Law, California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo

Via H-Law, we have the following job announcement:
POLITICAL SCIENCE - The Department of Political Science in the College of Liberal Arts at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California invites applications for a full-time, academic year, tenure-track position as Assistant Professor with a specialization in Public Law, to begin September 14, 2015. The successful candidate will have research expertise and the ability to teach courses in law and society, including such courses as Mock Trial, Judicial Politics, Constitutional Law, and others on the American legal system. The typical teaching assignment is 12 units per quarter.
Cal Poly is committed to the teacher-scholar model in which faculty are expected to be excellent teachers, produce quality scholarship, and provide service to the institution. Preference will be given to applicants with an ability to engage in creative teaching methods, potential for a strong contribution to research, and superb communication skills. The successful candidate must have the ability to work effectively with students, staff and faculty from diverse ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Faculty should build collaborative relationships across the University and with colleagues at other universities. Ph.D. in Political Science is required at time of appointment. Evidence of strong teaching skills is required. Salary is commensurate with qualifications and experience.
For more information, follow the link.

Szto on Real Estate Agents as Agents of Social Change

Mary Szto, Hamline University School of Law, has posted Real Estate Agents as Agents of Social Change: Redlining, Reverse Redlining, and Greenlining, which appeared in the Seattle Journal for Social Justice 1 11 (2013): 1.  Here is the abstract:
This article examines the role of US real estate agents in redlining, reverse redlining, and greenlining practices. Redlining was the practice of the Federal government, private banks, and other institutions to deny credit to neighborhoods based on race. Reverse redlining is marketing inferior credit and other products to those same neighborhoods. Greenlining is incenting investment in previously redlined neighborhoods. This article argues that although many real estate agents used practices that unjustly excluded access to neighborhoods, all can be faithful agents of inclusion to global, flourishing communities. That is, while real estate agents took leading roles in redlining and reverse redlining in the past, they can now lead in greenlining efforts. Moreover, those who want to effect greater access to global flourishing communities should consider becoming real estate agents.

Lipartito on the "Antimonopoly Tradition"

In the most recent Weekend Roundup, we briefly noticed The Antimonopoly Tradition by Kenneth Lipartito, Florida International University, which is downloadable from the University of St. Thomas Law Review 10 (2014): 991-1012.  The essay is a very nice synthesis of the literature of antitrust history, supplemented with some original research and focused on the language of antimonopolism, from Andrew Jackson to the recent past.  To elaborate: Lipartito nicely summarizes the antimonopolism of the nineteenth century, which attacked combinations of economic and political power that disrupted the normal workings of democracy and economic life in America.  He does not claim that the antimonopolists’ program was “correct or desirable,” but “it nonetheless offered a systematic critique that is now missing, on the dangers of corporate size, the corrupting influence of great wealth in politics, and the fundamentally antidemocratic consequences of a vastly unequal distribution of income.” 

Even if antimonopoly language “did not move the economy back to a smaller scale nineteenth century model,” its “distrust of technocracy, bureaucracy, and concentrated capital” “contributed significantly to a more egalitarian and open political economy” by causing corporations to “embrace notions of social welfare and social responsibility.”  This was true despite the New Deal’s turn to a more consumerist justification of antitrust under Thurman W. Arnold, Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice.  Arnold “established a strong, resourceful, and capable antitrust expertise in the federal government”; his vigorous antitrust and later efforts in the the 1950s and 1960s kept Big Business public minded.  Only “with the triumph of a narrower consumer welfare view of antitrust in the 1980s” did “the older antimonopoly concerns about power and responsibility” decline.  The result has been an erosion of “the corporate commitment to social responsibility” and an increase in “the concentration of wealth and power in the private sector, much as nineteenth century antimonopolists had feared.”

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Michael Weiner Scholarship for Labor Studies

[Not strictly speaking a legal history fellowship, but we're posting this announcement from the Major League Baseball Players Association anyway.]

It is my honor to inform you about a scholarship program created by all Major League baseball players, through the Major League Baseball Players Trust, to honor the life of former MLBPA Executive Director, Michael Weiner. 

The “Michael Weiner Scholarship for Labor Studies,” seeks to recognize and support the efforts of graduate and/or law students dedicated to improving the lives of workers, by awarding up to five $10,000 scholarships annually.

Michael spent 25 years, nearly his entire professional career, with the MLBPA working in support of the Players – past, present and future.  Despite being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in August of 2012, Michael waged an inspiring battle against his disease as he continued to work on behalf of the Players right up to the time of his passing last November, at the age of 51.

I imagine there are several students enrolled in your program who share Michael’s passion for protecting workers’ rights, and, with that in mind, I encourage you to let your students know about this great opportunity.

To be eligible for an award, individuals must be graduate or law students enrolled in an accredited educational institution in the United States or Canada and must have a demonstrated interest in, and wish to make a career out of, working in the labor movement and on behalf of workers’ rights. To receive an award, eligible candidates must meet a combination of criteria identified below:
• A strong academic record
• Demonstrated commitment to the labor movement
• A strong recommendation from an academic or a labor/workers’ rights practitioner
• Strong written and oral communication skills
Preference will be given to those who can demonstrate financial need through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) scores or otherwise.

Scholarship applications are being accepted through Monday, November 10, 2014. Each student selected as a Michael Weiner Scholarship for Labor Studies recipient will receive a $10,000 scholarship. Up to five awards will be presented annually, and the first winners will be notified in January 2015.

For more information, please visit here. Should you have any questions or require additional information, please feel free to call the Players Trust at (212) 826-0809.  Thank you for your consideration and support.

de la Rasilla del Moral on International Law before Wilson

Ignacio de la Rasilla del Moral, Brunel Law School, has posted The Ambivalent Shadow of the Pre-Wilsonian Rise of International Law, which is to appear in a special issue of the Erasmus Law Review 7 (2014), entitled“The Great War and Law: The Lasting Effects of World War I on the Development of Law.”  Here is the abstract:    
The generation of American international lawyers who founded the American Society of International Law in 1906 and nurtured the soil for what has been retrospectively called a “moralistic legalistic approach to international relations” remains little studied. A survey of the rise of international legal literature in the U.S. from the mid-19th century to the eve of the Great War serves as a backdrop to the examination of the boosting effect on international law of the Spanish American War in 1898. An examination of the Insular Cases before the US Supreme Court is then accompanied by the analysis of a number of influential factors behind the prewar rise of international law in the U.S. The work concludes with an examination of the rise of natural law doctrines in international law during the interwar period and the critiques addressed .by the realist founders of the field of “international relations” to the “moralistic legalistic approach to international relations.”

Sixty Years After Bolling v. Sharpe: Public Education and the D.C. Federal Courts

[We have the following announcement from the Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit.]
The special relationship between the Courts of the D.C. Circuit and the D.C. public schools was the subject of the Society's most recent program, "Sixty Years After Bolling v. Sharpe." The program can be viewed in its entirety on the Society's website. Listen as James Forman of Yale Law School moderates a discussion among Judge David S. Tatel; Kaya Henderson, Chancellor of the D.C. Public Schools; Rod Boggs, Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs; and Brian W. Jones, General Counsel of Strayer University on the significance of Bolling v. Sharpe and Brown v. Board of Education as well as key public education issues and challenges presented by the twin goals of achieving integration and improving education in public schools. Listen also to Eloise Pasachoff of Georgetown University Law Center as she highlights the history of the Courts' engagement with the D.C. schools, and read the full text of her remarks. The program can be viewed here.

Gallanis on the Judical Notes of Sir Dudley Ryder

We heard that the librarians at Iowa Law have launched a series of short videos highlighting the scholarship and research of the faculty.  In the first, Thomas Gallanis
Thomas Gallanis (credit)
speaks briefly about his forthcoming book for the Selden Society: an edition of the judicial notes of Sir Dudley Ryder. Ryder served as Chief Justice of the Court of King’s Bench in England from 1754 to 1756. The notes and diaries Ryder kept during his tenure as Chief Justice have never been published, but they provide an invaluable window on the history of English law and legal institutions in the middle of the eighteenth century. The sources are valuable for many reasons, including that Ryder knew shorthand. His notes and diaries capture a wealth of detail that no other surviving set of judges’ notes has been able to match. In this short video, Professor Gallanis discusses “The History of the Common Law: What Can We Learn from the Ryder Sources?"

An Oral History of Stephen J. Pollak

Stephen J. Pollak (credit)
One of the best things about being on the Board of Directors of the Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit has been the opportunity to work with its president, Stephen J. Pollak.  Mr. Pollak has had a long and important career, including service in many governmental positions, but historians are most likely to have encountered him because of his service in the Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Justice, where he was John Doar’s first assistant (1965-67) and then Assistant Attorney General in his own right (1967-69).  The Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library holds a lengthy oral history Mr. Pollak gave at the end of LBJ’s presidency.  Now the Historical Society of the DC Circuit has posted another as the latest in an extensive series.

Among the oral history’s appendices is Mr. Pollak’s recollection, dictated shortly after the event, of a trip to LBJ’s ranch in September 1967, during which he and other legal nominees met with the president.  Johnson was especially appreciative of Mr. Pollak’s success in steering the Reorganization Plan for the District of Columbia through Congress.  Johnson confessed to feeling sheepish about how the Reorganization Plan had “bypassed the District Committees,” but he then remarked “in a humorous vein that he had campaigned for Congress on the court-packing plan and then when he got to Congress, it had already been defeated.  He drew from this the parallel that it was not wrong to proceed by the Reorganization Plan if this was the only way to get the job done.”

Monday, September 15, 2014

How to Get a Fellowship: Advice?

It's fellowship application season -- for aspiring history professors, aspiring law professors, and established scholars. The Legal Scholarship Blog recently posted a link to Mary Dudziak's 2007 LHB post on "How to Get a Fellowship: Tips for Law Faculty," which reminded us that we ought to update the post. Readers: what additional advice do you have to offer? What advice would you offer graduate students applying for post-doctoral fellowships or J.D. graduates interested in a fellowship like the Climenko or Sharswood?

If you have lots of ideas, or a good collection of links from around the web, send us an email and we can talk about scheduling a guest post. We'll also compile the comments into a follow-up post.

Conference: "The Highest Tribute: The Michigan Journal of Race & Law at Twenty"

Later this week, the Michigan Law Program in Race, Law & History will host a conference in honor of the Michigan Journal of Race & Law. Here's the program for "The Highest Tribute: The Michigan Journal of Race & Law at Twenty":
Friday, Sept. 19, 2014

All sessions to take place in 1225 South Hall

Breakfast and Registration
8:30-9:00 A.M.

Panel I: Beginnings
9:00-10:15 A.M.

Moderator: Matthew Fletcher, '97, Professor of Law and Director if the Indigenous Law & Policy Center, Michigan State University College of Law
Todd Aagaard, '97, Associate Professor of Law, Villanova University School of Law
Emily M.S. Houh, '96, Gustavus Henry Wald Professor of the Law of Contracts, University of Cincinnati College of Law
Travis Richardson, '96, Richardson & Mackoff
Hardy Vieux, '97, Martin & Gitner PLLC

Panel II: Changes
10:30-11:45 A.M.

Moderator: Matthew Tannenbaum, Associate Editor, Race and Curriculum Committee
Regulating Brands: Disparaging Trademarks
Jasmine Abdel-Khalik, '00, Associate Professor of Law, University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law

The Declining Utility of "Hate Crime"
Jeannine Bell, '99, Professor of Law, Indiana University Maurer School of Law

The Shadows of the Roberts' Court Selective Racial Memory: Reclaiming History for a Multiracial Metropolitan America
Tom I. Romero, II, '04, Assistant Provost of IE Research and Curricular Initiatives and Associate Professor of Law, University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Lunch Break
12:00-1:15 P.M.

Panel III: Futures
1:30-2:45 P.M.

Moderator: Britney Littles, Associate Editor, Race and Curriculum Committee
Mainstreaming Equality in Federal Budgeting: Addressing Education Inequalities with Regard to the States
Elizabeth K. Hinson, '11, King & Spalding

Functionally Suspect: Reconceptualizing "Race" as a Suspect Classification
Lauren Sudeall Lucas, Assistant Professor of Law, Georgia State University College of Law

Blackness as Character Evidence: The Strategic Use of Racial Stereotypes in Establishing an Individual's Propensity for Violence
Mikah K. Thompson, Adjunct Professor of Law, University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law; Osman & Smay, LLP

Panel IV: Legal Academia
3:00-4:15 P.M. 

Moderator: Emily M.S. Houh
Empirically Investigating Law Professors and Leaders of the Future
Meera E. Deo, '00, Associate Professor of Law, Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Law Reviews and the New Counterrepublics
Luis E. Fuentes-Rohwer, '97, Associate Professor of Law, Indiana University Maurer School of Law
Guy-Uriel Charles, '96, Charles S. Rhyne Professor of Law, Duke University School of Law

Justice and Law Journals
Adam Wolf, '01, Wolf Law
Gabriel "Jack" Chin, '88, Professor of Law and Martin Luther King, Jr. Research Scholar, University of California Davis School of Law;  

Keynote Address
4:30-6:00 P.M.

Historical Myopia, Excessive Individualism and Remedies for Race Discrimination: The Work that Must be Done
Mary Frances Berry, '70, Ph.D. '66, Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania​​​

ASLH Annual Meeting Program

And, while we're at it, we should note that the preliminary version of the program for the annual meeting if the American Society for Legal History is now up available through the ASLH's website.  The meeting will be in Denver, November 6-9.

ASLH Elections Now Open

[We have the following announcement from the folks at the American Society for Legal History.]

The election slate and ballot for the American Society for Legal History (ASLH) board of directors and members of the nominating committee is now posted here.  Simply scroll down the front page and you will find this news item and the directions to follow for submitting your ballot. The election ends at midnight, October 6. Get your ballot in, and have your voice be counted!

CFP: Marriage’s Global Past

[We have the following CFP.]

This special issue of Gender & History explores marriage's global past from the medieval to the modern era. We solicit contributions that examine aspects of the history of marriage in societies and cultures throughout the world, with special attention to ideas and practices of monogamy and polygamy. Of particular interest is the role of gender in the construction and reconstruction of marriage. We also solicit papers that interrogate the relationship of marriage to various forms of power, including those of state, religious, and colonial institutions as well as the complicated dynamics of authority within households. We welcome both broad, comparative studies and more narrowly-focused ones.

Many imagine marriage as a timeless institution. In fact, as William Alexander wrote in 1779, in his History of Women, From the Earliest Antiquity, to the Present Time, “Marriage is so far from having been an institution, fixed by permanent and unalterable laws, that it has been continually varying in every period, and in every country.” This historian thus acknowledged both the shifting nature of marriage as an institution in a global context, as well as the ways that marriage profoundly shapes, and is shaped by, the role and status of women and men. This special issue similarly assumes varieties of marriages, in terms of both chronology and geography.

This special issue will also interrogate the profound interconnection of gender and marriage, especially with reference to issues of rank, race, age, nationality, culture, religion, and sexuality. Indeed, what might constitute “traditional” marriage in one context might appear radical in another. Indeed, while many contemporary scholars and advocates have called for a redefinition of what is termed “traditional marriage,” recent scholarship has also emphasized how very little is traditional about what is currently described in the Oxford English Dictionary as: “the formal union of a man and a woman, typically as recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife.”

One of the goals of this special issue is to explore how the idea of so-called “traditional marriage” took root and spread in many cultures. Often, of course, it did so even as local social practices deviated, sometimes notably, from this norm. Christian teachings beginning in the first millennium endorsed a particular model of marriage that became not only a centerpiece of Christian faith but also a potent political and social force across the world. In this model, marriage had to be exclusive and indissoluble, a monogamous and enduring commitment between one man and one woman. At that time and in subsequent centuries, as Christian teachings spread throughout the world, this model of marriage came into contact with cultures that had a variety of different ideas about the best ways to marry, and the purpose of marriage. Clashes between different practices of marriage lay at the heart of many early modern and modern encounters.  This special issue of Gender & History hopes to offer new interpretations of this complex and fascinating history.

The volume will begin with a colloquium to be held 18-20 March 2016 at Cambridge University. Paper proposals (750 words maximum) are to be submitted by 15 January 2015. Invitations to present at the colloquium will be issued in February 2015. All those presenting must submit articles for pre-circulation by 15 January 2016. Participants will also be expected to read all the other articles and to participate fully in the two-day colloquium. This participation will include commenting on the paper of another participant, as well as more general discussions.  After the colloquium, participants will be invited to submit their revised papers for publication. Those accepted by the editors for publication will be expected to submit their manuscripts by 1 September 2016. This timeframe will allow the editors to work with authors to produce the final text of the issue for publication in 2017.

Please send paper proposals to by 15 January 2015, with "Marriage’s Global Past” in the subject heading.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Amar to Lecture on "Magna Carta and the American Constitution"

[From the Library of Congress's press release.]

Constitutional law scholar Akhil Reed Amar will discuss Magna Carta and its historical connection to the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 16 at the Library of Congress

The lecture, titled "Magna Carta and the American Constitution," will serve as the annual Constitution Day lecture presented by the Law Library of Congress. Amar will speak at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 16, in the Montpelier Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.

Sponsored in part by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress, the event is free and open to the public. Tickets are not needed. . . . Amar’s lecture also is part of the Magna Carta lecture series held in conjunction with the Library’s upcoming exhibition "Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor," which opens Nov. 6, 2014, and runs through Jan. 19, 2015.

Amar will base his lecture on his two most recent books, "America's Constitution: A Biography" (2005) and "America's Unwritten Constitution" (2012), and will offer an overview of the grand project of American constitutionalism, past, present and future. Amar will highlight the ways in which the American constitutional experience has both drawn upon and broken with English constitutional precursors such as Magna Carta and the English Bill of Rights of 1689. [More.]

Sunday Book Roundup

It is a shorter list of book reviews this weekend. Justin Driver reviews Scalia: A Court of One by Bruce Allen Murphy (Simon & Schuster) for the New Republic.
"Instead of his influence being confined to a discrete set of writings or narrow doctrinal categories, Scalia has shaped modern American law in ways more overarching and even elemental. Elena Kagan, when she was dean of Harvard Law School, expressed this point vividly while presiding over Scalia’s return to his alma mater in 2007. “His views on textualism and originalism, his views on the role of judges in our society, on the 
practice of judging, have really transformed the terms of legal debate in this country,” Kagan said. “[Scalia] is the justice who has had the most important impact over the years on how we think and talk about the law.” This statement can be understood to identify Scalia’s influence as occurring within at least three distinct arenas, each requiring some elaboration."
Last weekend we noted a few reviews of Edward Baptist's The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism  (Basic Books). This week Baptist was interviewed on New Books in History. Baptist has also shared an excerpt of the book in Salon.

Over on New Books in Law, Jeremy Lipschultz is interviewed about his book, Social Media Communication: Concepts, Practices, Data, Law, and Ethics (Routledge).

H-Net adds a review of Phillip Deery's Red Apple: Communism and McCarthyism in Cold War New York (Fordham University Press).
"Deery concludes with a discussion of the career of New York lawyer O. John Rogge in chapter 5. Considered by historians to be “one of the country’s most prominent radical lawyers,” Rogge is perhaps best known for his role in the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg conspiracy to commit espionage case, as legal counsel to David Greenglass (p. 135). Rogge also provided counsel for the defense in the Smith Act case of 1949, and defended the JAFRC. He left the Democratic Party in 1947, shifting to the progressive American Labor Party (ALP) and running on the ALP judicial slate in 1948, but he never joined the CPUSA. Considered a left-wing, radical, fellow traveler, he publicly repudiated communism in 1951 and took on the case of Greenglass."
If you haven't had your fill of reviews for Henry Kissinger's World Order (Penguin Press), you can read two in The New York Times this weekend: one by Michiko Kakutani titled "Long View of History Includes Today", and a second by John Micklethwait titled "As the World Turns."

Also in The New York Times this weekend is a review of Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David (Knopf) by Lawrence Wright.
"Wright reminds us that Carter’s Camp David was an act of surpassing political courage. At a time of double-digit inflation, sluggish economic growth, soaring gas prices and a real-time revolution in Iran, he dropped everything for two weeks and took a long shot at creating peace. He won his treaty, but lost his presidency because most Americans blamed him for not doing more to address the things they really cared about."
The Nation reviews two books in the piece, "Language and Blood: In 1941, genocide broke out in Croatia, and we still cannot explain way," including 1941: The Year That Keeps Returning by Slavko Goldstein (NYRB) and The Racial Idea in the Independent State of Croatia: Origins and Theory by Nevenko Bartulin (Brill).

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Weekend Roundup

  • American Constitutionalism: Powers, Rights, and Liberties, by Howard Gillman, Mark A. Graber, and Keith E. Whittington, is now out as a single-volume edition for Oxford University Press.  
  •  A symposium on the history of law and corporate responsibility is available ungated on the website of the University of St. Thomas Law Journal.  It includes The Antimonopoly Tradition by Kenneth Lipartito.
  • Vermonters love their legal history.  Another review of Paul S. Gillies’s Uncommon Law, Ancient Roads, and Other Ruminations on Vermont Legal History is here.
  • The topic for the 2015 David A. Garfinkel Essay Scholarship, sponsored by the Historical Society of the New York Courts, is LGBT: The Road to Equality.
  • Hart Publishing is offering LHB readers a 20% discount on Re-Interpreting Blackstone's Commentaries, edited by Wilfrid Prest. To receive the discount: "write ref: AY3 in the special instructions field. The discount will not appear on your order confirmation but it will be applied when your order is processed."
Weekend Roundup is a weekly feature compiled by all the Legal History bloggers. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Law in Postcards: An Exhibit at BC Law

[We have the following announcement.]

Boston College Law Library has a new exhibit on display in the Daniel R. Coquillette Rare Book Room for the fall semester. It features a collection of law-related postcards and trade cards that were given to the law library by Michael H. Hoeflich, John H. & John M. Kane Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Kansas School of Law. Previously, Professor Hoeflich donated two generous gifts of antiquarian and modern Roman law books to the library.

The cards featured in the exhibit were the basis of Professor Hoeflich's book, The Law in Postcards and Legal Ephemera 1890-1962 (The Lawbook Exchange, 2012). It's a fun and colorful exhibit, and interested parties are invited to visit in person! [A “sneak preview” is here.]

Laeuchi's "Bibliographical Catalog of William Blackstone"

Ann Jordan Laeuchli has published Bibliographical Catalog of William Blackstone, with a foreword by Morris L. Cohen.  The bibliography, edited by James E. Mooney, is out from William S. Hein.
In 1938, Yale University Press published for the Yale Law Library Catherine Spicer Eller’s catalog of its William Blackstone Collection. This new catalog, built on Eller’s work, covers not only the Yale additions to the original Blackstone publication but also includes works by and about Blackstone printed in the roman alphabet held by other libraries, American and foreign. The number of entries here are more than twice the number of those in Eller and have a much more expanded entry format: complete title transcription with line endings; modern collation indicating size, signatures, leaves, and pagination; contents; notes; copy seen; and citation to bibliographic and electronic resources. In addition to Eller’s arrangement of the collection into nine categories (English, American, and other editions of Blackstone; abridgments and extracts; the Comic Blackstone; works founded on the Commentaries; biography and criticism; and other works by Blackstone), there are two brief new additions, one on catalogs, commemorations, exhibitions, and prospectuses and one on microtexts and electronic resources. There are also three appendixes (a full description of entry no. 1, the first edition; an excerpt from Eller’s Introduction; and a correlation of Eller and Laeuchli numbers) and three indexes (to authors, editors and translators; to places, publishers and booksellers; and to dedications).
Download the brochure!

New Release: Arnold, "Secrecy in the Sunshine Era: The Promise and Failure of U.S. Open Government Laws"

New from the University Press of Kansas: Secrecy in the Sunshine Era: The Promise and Failure of U.S. Open Government Laws (August 2014), by Jason Ross Arnold (Virginia Commonwealth University). The Press explains:
A series of laws passed in the 1970s promised the nation unprecedented transparency in government, a veritable “sunshine era.” Though citizens enjoyed a new arsenal of secrecy-busting tools, officials developed a handy set of workarounds, from overclassification to concealment, shredding, and burning. It is this dark side of the sunshine era that Jason Ross Arnold explores in the first comprehensive, comparative history of presidential resistance to the new legal regime, from Reagan-Bush to the first term of Obama-Biden.

After examining what makes a necessary and unnecessary secret, Arnold considers the causes of excessive secrecy, and why we observe variation across administrations. While some administrations deserve the scorn of critics for exceptional secrecy, the book shows excessive secrecy was a persistent problem well before 9/11, during Democratic and Republican administrations alike. Regardless of party, administrations have consistently worked to weaken the system’s legal foundations.
The book reveals episode after episode of evasive maneuvers, rule bending, clever rhetorical gambits, and downright defiance; an army of secrecy workers in a dizzying array of institutions labels all manner of documents “top secret,” while other government workers and agencies manage to suppress information with a “sensitive but unclassified” designation. For example, the health effects of Agent Orange and antibiotic-resistant bacteria leaking out of Midwestern hog farms are considered too “sensitive” for public consumption. These examples and many more document how vast the secrecy system has grown during the sunshine era.
Rife with stories of vital scientific evidence withheld, justice eluded, legalities circumvented, and the public interest flouted, Secrecy in the Sunshine Era reveals how our information society has been kept in the dark in too many ways and for too long.
More information is available here.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Lowe on Beard's Ideas That Matter

The SSRN papers from that symposium on Beard’s Economic Interpretation of the Constitution keep on coming.  The latest is Ideas that Matter: Parting Thoughts on Charles Beard on the 100th Anniversary of an Economic Interpretation, by Jessica Lowe, University of Virginia School of Law.  Here is the abstract:
Charles Beard's work is best known for advocating that material interests, not ideas, played the pivotal role in shaping the founding of the United States. But Beard was, in his own way, an idealist who saw history as a moral force. This brief essay, the conclusion to the publication of the October 2013 Miller Center/University of Virginia Law School symposium on the 100th Anniversary of Beard's An Economic Interpretation, sums up the conference and argues that Beard's real legacy is as a historian who believed in the power of ideas to create social change -- and in history as the pursuit of truth.

Legal History at AALS: Gender, Sexuality, and Equality

[James W. Fox, Jr., Stetson University College of Law, chairman of the Association of American Law School’s Section on Legal History, announces two sessions at this year’s annual meeting of the AALS.  Both take place on Saturday, January 3, 2015.]

Co-Sponsored Program, Liberty-Equality:  Gender, Sexuality, and Reproduction—Griswold v. Connecticut Then and Now, 8:30 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.

Presented by the Section on Constitutional Law and co-sponsored by the Sections on Women in Legal Education and Legal History,  this program marks the 50th anniversary of Griswold v. Connecticut, the ground-breaking Supreme Court decision recognizing a right to privacy that protected individuals in making decisions about the use of contraceptives from the reach of state criminal law, but spoke implicitly to the constitutional underpinnings of an individual’s rights or interests in intimacy, marriage, procreation, sexuality, and sexual conduct.  Panelists will place the case in historical context, and explore the development of the Griswold doctrine, as well as its implications for current constitutional controversies over access to reproductive health care, marriage, sexuality and sexual conduct.

Cary C. Franklin, The University of Texas School of Law
Melissa E. Murray, University of California, Berkeley School of Law
Doug NeJaime, University of California, Irvine School of Law
Neil S. Siegel, Duke University School of Law
Co-Moderator: M. Isabel Medina, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law
Co-Moderator Speaker: Reva B. Siegel, Yale Law School

Joint Program:  Engendering Equality:  A Conversation with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the United States, and New Voices in Legal History, 1:30 – 3:15 p.m.

This Section on Legal History and Women in Legal Education Joint Program, co-sponsored by the Section on Constitutional Law, explores the history of women’s equality and the legacy of Justice Ginsburg.  The first portion of the program will, through a conversation between Justice Ginsburg and Wendy Williams, consider the ideas and strategies shaping Justice Ginsburg’s efforts as an advocate, an academic, and a Justice to achieve equal citizenship for women.   The second portion of the program will present a panel of new voices in Women’s Legal History who study the complex and often contradictory ways in which social, political, and legal actors have appealed to gender and equality in movements of the past, and suggest how such studies might engender/inform equality’s future.

The Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court of the United States
Wendy W. Williams, Georgetown University Law Center
 Co-Moderator: Reva B. Siegel, Yale Law School

Deborah Dinner, Washington University in St. Louis School of Law
Lynda Dodd,  City College of New York, Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership
Mary Ziegler, Florida State University College of Law
Co-Moderator: Tracy A. Thomas, University of Akron, C. Blake McDowell Law Center

Boston College Law School Legal History Roundtable

In the fall of 2014, the Boston College Law School Legal History Roundtable started its 13th successful year. The Roundtable draws on Boston College Law School's and Boston College's strength and interest in legal history. The Roundtable offers an opportunity for Boston College faculty and faculty from other area institutions, students, and members of the Boston College community to meet and discuss a pre-circulated paper in legal history. Meeting several times each semester, the Roundtable seeks to promote an informal, collegial atmosphere of informed discussion.

For the 2014-2015 academic year, Professor Mary Sarah Bilder, Professor Daniel R. Coquillette, Professor Frank Herrmann and Professor James S. Rogers are conveners.

With the exception of the Constitution Day lecture (see below), the Roundtable meets in the afternoon at 4:30 in the Library Conference Room of the Boston College Law School Library. Refreshments are available beginning at 4:15 pm.

Papers will be available on the website shortly before each presentation. For more information, please contact Judy Yi by calling the administrative assistants' office at (617) 552-4125 or emailing

Wednesday, September 17, 2014: John Fabian Witt, Allen H. Duffy Class of 1960 Professor of Law, Yale Law School
 "Two Humanitarianisms" (3:30, Room 120, public lecture), co-sponsored with BC Law School Legal History Roundtable and the BC Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy

Wednesday, October 22, 2014: Daniel J. Sharfstein, Professor of Law, Co-director, Social Justice Program, Vanderbilt Law School
"The Administrative State in the Wilderness: Chief Joseph's Advocacy for Nez Perce Tribal Land, 1872-1875"

Tuesday Nov 11, 2014: Stewart Jay, Pendleton Miller Endowed Chair of Law, University of Washington School of Law
"Original Error: The Lasting Consequences of Early Judicial Misinterpretations of the Privileges and Immunities Clause"


Thursday January 22, 2015: Elizabeth Papp Kamali
"Mens Rea and the Meaning of Felony in Medieval England"

Wednesday March 25, 2015: Tomiko Brown-Nagin, Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law, Harvard Law School; Professor of History, Harvard Graduate School of Arts & Sciences; Co-Director, Program in Law and History
"Constance Baker Motley: Race and Gender at Work"

Call for Applications: 2015 Yale Law Library Rare Book Fellowship

Via the Yale Law Library Rare Books Blog we have the following announcement:
Applications are now being accepted for the 2015 Yale Law Library Rare  Book Fellowship. Here are the details.
FIXED DURATION POSITION: 6 months from date of hire; non-renewable
EXPECTED START DATE: Jan/Feb 2015 (flexible start date)
POSITION FOCUS: The Lillian Goldman Law Library has established this fellowship to train the next generation of rare book librarians to serve the growing number of special collections departments in academic law libraries. The Rare Book Fellow will be trained in special collections librarianship including acquisitions, collection development, cataloging, reference services, exhibit preparation & design, bibliographic instruction, preservation, and digital projects. The Fellow will be charged with completing a major project involving our Kuttner Institute Library materials, focusing on medieval canon law. The Kuttner Institute Library has been placed on deposit at the Yale Law Library by the Stephan Kuttner Institute of Medieval Canon Law.
RESPONSIBILITIES: Under the direction of the Rare Book Librarian, the Rare Book Fellow will spend time learning special collections librarianship with an emphasis on law material. The Fellow will: follow a curriculum designed by the Rare Book Librarian that includes a general orientation to Yale University, librarianship, and rare law book librarianship; gain experience in collection development and management, preservation, reference and outreach, exhibition planning, and cataloging rare books; contribute to ongoing digital initiatives; develop and complete a special project pertaining to the Kuttner Institute Library materials in consultation with the Rare Book Librarian; participate in professional activities, Law Library committees, policy discussions, and other library-wide activities. The Fellow will be fully integrated into the Law Library’s professional staff. More information about the Fellowship can be found here:
QUALIFICATIONS: The Rare Book Fellowship will be open to those who have (or will have by Jan. 2015) a Master’s degree from an ALA-accredited program for library and information science (or foreign equivalent), and who are in the initial stages of a career as a librarian. Candidates must have excellent written and oral communication skills, and must be able to work in a complex and changing environment with diverse staff and users. It is imperative that candidates have reading knowledge of Latin and a demonstrated interest in rare books. (Please note this is not an archivist position).
Preference will be given to candidates with knowledge of and/or experience working with canon law, legal history, and/or medieval history; preference will also be given to candidates with skills in the foreign languages most heavily represented in Yale Law Library special collections (Italian, German, French, Spanish, Dutch).
For more information about the salary and application process, follow the link.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Special Issue: The ERA in the 21st Century

[H-Law has circulated a call for papers that we want to note as well.  It is for a special issue of Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies, to be entitled "The ERA in the 21st Century."  The Guest Editor is Laura Mattoon D’Amore.  The due date for receipt of papers is October 1, 2014.]

The failure of the Equal Rights Amendment links generations of feminists across nearly a century of activism.  In 1923, Alice Paul introduced the Equal Rights Amendment to Congress for the first time, demanding equality of rights under the law, regardless of sex. The amendment was introduced unsuccessfully to every Congress since 1923. Though it became a central rallying point for Second Wave feminism, passing both houses of Congress in 1972, it ultimately failed to receive enough state ratifications before its deadline in 1982. Despite its repeated failure the ERA has served as a symbolic torch carried by generations of feminists fighting for women’s rights.

The ERA serves as a conduit for critical dialogues about equal rights, because while the cultural, legal, political, and intellectual heritage of the United States is rooted in the “self-evident” precept of equality, it has prevented the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment for 90 years.  Furthermore, the topic of the ERA sometimes alienates supporters of equal rights who criticize its complicity in marginalizing race, class, gender, and sexuality through its heteronormative focus on women’s rights. The subject of the ERA has also caused some intergenerational conflict. Some activist feminists who have been working on the ERA for decades—who were in the trenches when it failed in 1982—believe that they have a more true idea of the significance of the loss.  Other activist feminists see the amendment as less relevant today than ever before, and are ready to rally efforts in other spaces.  Academics are highly critical of the political, economic, and legal shortcomings of the past, of the failure to unite in the present, and of the ways that the rhetoric of women’s equality that is so tightly intertwined with the ERA is, in turn, marginalizing others (particularly in terms of its lack of connection to intersections of race, class, gender identity, and sexuality).

This Special Issue about The ERA in the 21st Century seeks to bring together an interdisciplinary array of scholars from such academic disciplines as women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, American studies, history, law, literature, and political science with practitioners from the legal and political professions and activists from grassroots organizations to discuss the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  Proposals may explore past, present, and future implications of the fact that the ERA is still not in the Constitution, 90 years after it was first proposed in 1923, and consider how the ERA’s legacy in the 20th century positions the amendment in the popular, social, political, and legal consciousness of the 21st century. Using the ERA as a frame for dialogues across academic, legal, political, and public spheres, this call for papers especially encourages perspectives that engage with theories of, and/or experiences with intersectionality.

Some questions for consideration might include: How has the ERA served to bond feminists in a common struggle? Divide them? Why should the United States add an Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution?  Is it needed to achieve equal rights without regard to sex?  Would it have any demonstrable negative cultural/legal impact?    What does the failure thus far to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment indicate about the relative cultural/political status and valuation of females in the U.S. since 1923? How have cultural and/or political relationships evolved since 1923 regarding the Equal Rights Amendment and feminism?  Men, both as individuals and as a class?  ERA supporters and opponents, past and present? How has the Equal Rights Amendment been related legally and politically to reproductive rights?  LGBTQ issues?  Trans issues? Racial equality? Economic policies?  Employment rights?  Traditional gender roles and conservative “family values”? What comparisons and contrasts can be drawn between the social and political movement for the Equal Rights Amendment and the movement for racial justice/civil rights?  For reproductive rights?  For LGBTQ rights?  What do these movements have to learn from each other?   In what ways do people continue to engage with the Equal Rights Amendment in academia?  Legal and political practice?  Grassroots advocacy?  What models exist or can be formulated for bridging these categories of engagement?

An inter- and multidisciplinary journal, Frontiers welcomes submissions of scholarly papers, activist essays as well as creative works such as artwork, fiction, and poetry.  Works must be original and not published or under consideration for publication elsewhere.  All special issue submissions and questions should be directed to  For submission guidelines, please consult the Ohio State University Frontiers website.

Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies

Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
The Ohio State University
286 University Hall
230 North Oval Mall
Columbus, OH 43210-1367

Osgoode Society Legal History Group: Fall 2014 Schedule - updated

Via the Canadian Legal History Blog, we have an updated schedule for the this fall's meetings of the Osgoode Society Legal History Group:

*UPDATED again, as of September 11, 2014*
Wednesday September 10 - Ian Kyer, "Equity and the Private Sector Service Provider: The Battle between the City of Toronto and the Toronto Railway Company in the Privy Council"
Wednesday September 24 -  Blaine Baker, University of Toronto, “Testamentary Archeology in Late-Victorian Ontario: William Martin’s Little, Posthumous Legal System"
Wednesday October 1 –*new* Paul Craven, York University, "Imagining a low law history of labour arbitration in Ontario"
Wednesday October 15 - Sam McLean, King's College, London: "Courts-Martial and the Creation of the Early-Modern Royal Navy"
Wednesday October 29 - Joseph Dunlop, University of Toronto: "The Catholic Legislator in a Pluralistic Society: From Pierre Trudeau to Paul Martin."
November 5 - Reading Week
Wednesday November 12 - Philip Girard, Osgoode Hall Law School: "A History of Law in Canada, 1701-1815"
Wednesday November 26 – Art Linton, Magna Carta Canada, TBA
***Wednesday December 3 – Dennis Molinaro, University of Toronto, "Liberal Communists and Communist Liberals: Section 98 and Civil Rights in Canada." ** Note new date

The Supreme Court Fellows Program

[Via the Faculty Lounge, we have the following:]

The U.S. Supreme Court Fellows program is now accepting applications for the 2015-2016 term.  The fellowship, which is open to both junior and mid-career candidates, might be of interest to both current and aspiring academics as well as graduating and recently graduated law students.  Four fellowships are awarded each year, and each fellowship is unique in its scope and focus.  Interested persons can read more about the program [here].  The application process is described [here]. Applications are due by November 14, 2014.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tomlins on the "Fierce and Critical Faith" of Penelope Pether

Christopher Tomlins, University of California, Berkeley's Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program, has posted Fierce and Critical Faith: A Remembrance of Penny Pether, which is forthcoming in the Villanova Law Review 60 (2015).  Here is the abstract:    
Penelope Pether (credit)
This essay has been written for a Symposium organized in remembrance of Penelope (Penny) Pether, Professor of Law at Villanova University School of Law, and a leading scholar in the field of law and literature. I take as my point of departure Penny’s essay “The Prose and the Passion,” which appeared in the Australian literary journal Meanjin (2007), and which offers an entry to the world of Penny Pether as commentator – at first on the (scholarly) work of others, but also and increasingly for “others,” for those of us fated to be the targets of cruel and uncaring state power. What emerges for me from these two forms of commentary is a fierce refusal to yield law to the state. Whether founded on the quotidian routines of legal practice, the fragile structures of constitutionalism, or the world of possibilities immanent in the common law, Penny’s commentaries speak of a deep critical faith that law can be what, on occasion, and falteringly, it has been: a shield for the weak and defenseless and deprived, one for which it is worth fighting against those who would make law simply an instrumentality of established power. There is indignant passion in Penny’s prose, and along with it a demand that we put aside our weary cynicism and see the law she wants us to see.

Kamali on Felony in Medieval England

Elizabeth Papp Kamali, an ABD at the University of Michigan (and Preyer Award winner), has posted Felonia Felonice Facta: Felony and Intentionality in Medieval England, which is forthcoming in Criminal Law and Philosophy:
This paper explores the meaning of the word “felony” in thirteenth and fourteenth century England, i.e., during the first two centuries of the English criminal trial jury. To compile a working definition of felony, the paper presents examples of the language of felony drawn from literary and religious sources, in addition to considering the word’s more formulaic appearance in legal records. The paper then analyzes cases ending in acquittal or pardon, highlighting the factors that might take a criminal case out of the realm of felony. It suggests that the very definition of felony and felonious behavior — and thus the essence of criminal responsibility — may be bound up with the idea of mens rea during this period. The paper aims to uncover broader societal understandings of the nature of guilt and innocence, and to highlight connections and disconnections between the formal criminal law of felony, with its heavy emphasis on capital punishment, and popular and ecclesiastical understandings of culpability.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Lay Participation in Modern Law: A Comparative History Conference

We have word of the conference Lay Participation in Modern Law: A Comparative Historical Analysis, to be held at the University of Helsinki, Faculty of Law, Porthania, Yliopistonkatu 3, on September 17-19, 2014.  The organizers are Professors Heikki Pihlajam√§ki (Helsinki), Georges Martyn (Ghent), Anthony Musson (Exeter), and Markus Dubber (Toronto).  It is funded by the Academy of Finland, Federation of Finnish Learned Societies, Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (Flanders).

Thursday, 18 August

Session 1: The Roots of Modern Lay Participation, 10.00-12.00
David Mirhady (Simon Fraser University): Knowing the Law and Deciding Justice:  Lay Expertise in the Democratic Athenian Courts
Anthony Musson (University of Exeter): The Legacy of Magna Carta: the Enigma of the Jury

Session 2: The Jury in the French Tradition and In Common Law, 13.30 - 15.30
Georges Martyn (Ghent University): Belgian's Obsession with Democratic Control by Jury in High Crime Procedures
Pedro Barbas Homem (University of Lisbon): The Jury and the Portuguese Legal Tradition
Simon Stern (University of Toronto): Oratory and the Jury Trial in Nineteenth-Century America

Session 3: The Jury in Common Law and the Peripheries, 16:00 - 18:00
Niamh Howlin (University College Dublin): The Politics of Jury Trials in Nineteenth-Century Ireland
Kalyani Ramnath (Princeton University):  Mrs. Seneviratne's Suicide: Lawyers, Experts and Jurors in Colonial Ceylon
Mia Korpiola (University of Turku): Back to the Glory Days of the Past: Reforming the Finnish Jury ca. 1850-1910

Friday, 19 August

Session 4: The Waning Jury? 10:00 - 12:00
Kate Harrington (University of Exeter): The University as Judge and Jury: Lay Participation in Academic Inquisitions
Markus Dirk Dubber (University of Toronto): A Tale of Two Juries
Heikki Pihlajamäki (University of Helsinki): The Three Models of the Western Lay Judge: From Diversity to Common Extinction

Session 5: Concluding Discussion, 13:30 - 15:00

White on Understanding Supreme Court Decisionmaking Historically

G. Edward White, University of Virginia School of Law, has posted Toward a Historical Understanding of Supreme Court Decision-Making, Denver University Law Review Online 91 (2014).  Here is the abstract:
An abiding challenge to historians of the Supreme Court of the United States is fashioning a methodology that adequately captures the significant changes in the Court’s decision making process over time without losing sight of the special role the Court and its justices play in American government and culture. Too often historical studies of the Court have suffered from anachronistic perspectives on the actions of justices or a failure to understand the Court’s distinctive deliberative protocols. This essay proposes a methodological approach designed to deal with, if not to completely surmount, those challenges.

The methodology is designed to simultaneously consider justices as historical actors, reflecting the distinctive attitudes and values of their times; as collegial decision makers, assuming roles and engaging in deliberations that flow from their being participants in an institution that makes its decisions collectively and requires a majority of its members to endorse its judgments; and as individual personalities, bringing with them to the bench their distinctive and idiosyncratic ways of conceptualizing and resolving legal and political controversies. By identifying these different ways of thinking about the performance of justices, and at the same emphasizing that judicial decision making, at any point in the Court’s history, is a blend of different variables, the approach seeks to avoid anachronism, excessive reliance on the formal justifications for decisions, and uninformed speculation about how the Court’s internal decision making process functions.

The essay concludes that although the proposed methodology may avoid some of the obvious pitfalls in approaching the Court’s decision making over time, the challenges of anachronism and bias remain endemic in any effort to recover accurate renditions of the Court and its justices.
Hat tip: Legal Theory Blog

New Release: Holtz, "Neo-Babylonian Trial Records"

The Society of Biblical Literature has just published a new collection of Neo-Babylonian Trial Records, compiled and contextualized by Shalom E. Holtz (Yeshiva University). The Society explains:
This collection of sixth-century B.C.E. Mesopotamian texts provides a close-up, often dramatic, view of ancient courtroom encounters shedding light on Neo-Babylonian legal culture and daily life. In addition to the legal texts, Holtz provides an introduction to Neo-Babylonian social history, archival records, and legal materials. This is an essential resource for scholars interested in the history of law.
Excerpts from the book's introductory material are available here.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sunday Book Roundup

There is no shortage of book reviews this weekend. The new issue of Common Place is out with a review of Matthew Taylow Raffety's The Republic Afloat: Law, Honor, and Citizenship in Maritime America (University of Chicago Press).
"In The Republic Afloat, Matthew Raffety uses violent encounters on merchant vessels in the years between the American Revolution and the Civil War to suggest that it was on the water, not on land, that Americans settled key dimensions of federal governance and citizenship."
HNN has a review of Antiwar Dissent and Peace Action in World War I America (University Press of Nebraska) edited by Scott H. Bennett and Charles F. Howlett.

The Los Angeles Times reviews Edward E. Baptist's The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism (Dede Hatch/Basic Books). (If you want to read The Economist's apology for its now withdrawn review of the book, look here, and read on about the controversy here.)
"Plantations ("slave labor camps," he calls them) were run with the ruthless efficiency of your average sweatshop. This ambitious new economic and social history of antebellum America suggests that the bondage of African Americans is just another chapter in the rise of the global economy."
Dorothy Sue Cobble, Linda Gordon, and Astrid Henry's new book Feminism Unfinished: A Short, Surprising History of American Women's Movements (Liveright) is published in an excerpt titled, "From riot grrrls to “Girls”: Tina Fey, Kathleen Hanna, Lena Dunham and the birth of an inspiring new feminism" in Salon.

H-Net's review of a new volume Law and the Utopian Imagination edited by Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas and Martha Merrill Umphrey (Stanford University Press) asks "Law v. Utopia: Are They Mutually Exclusive?"
"This book of six essays on law and the utopian imagination is written by scholars from a wide array of disciplines, including English literature, fine arts, art history and cultural studies, political science, and legal philosophy and jurisprudence. The result is wide ranging and highly stimulating. Although the topics seem almost at odds with one other, the authors each pursue a unique tangent and tap into their particular areas of expertise to tease out exceptionally interesting logical constructions and conclusions as to the meaning and relationship of imagined utopias and legal strictures."
The New York Times reviews Fractured Times: Culture and Society in the Twentieth Century (The New Press), "a posthumously published collection of essays on “culture and society in the 20th century” by the British historian Eric Hobsbawm."

Karen Abbot's new work, Liar Temptress Soldier Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War (Harper) is reviewed in both the Washington Post (here), and in the Los Angeles Times (here). Jonathan Yardley for the Post writes,
"The role of women on both sides of the Civil War has generally received scant attention in conventional histories of the conflict, but a few women did considerably more than make bandages and tend the home fires. “War, like politics, was men’s work,” Karen Abbott writes, “and women were supposed to be among its victims, not its perpetrators. Women’s loyalty was assumed, regarded as a prime attribute of femininity itself, but now there was a question — one that would persist throughout the war — of what to do with what one Lincoln official called ‘fashionable women spies.’ Their gender provided them with both a psychological and a physical disguise; while hiding behind social mores about women’s proper roles, they could hide evidence of their treason on their very person, tucked beneath hoop skirts or tied up in their hair. Women, it seemed, were capable not only of significant acts of treason, but of executing them more deftly than men.”"
As classes start up again, some readers might be interested in the Washington Post's review of Elizabeth Green's Building a Better Teacher: How Teaching Works (and How to Teach it to Everyone) (Norton). "Green describes with verve some of the key efforts to show that great teaching is a professional achievement rather than a natural ability." Green also spoke with Slate about her book this week. You can find that interview here.

Hillary Rodham Clinton reviews Henry Kissinger's latest book World Order (Penguin) for the Washington Post. (The Los Angeles Times also has a review of the book this week.)
"It is vintage Kissinger, with his singular combination of breadth and acuity along with his knack for connecting headlines to trend lines — very long trend lines in this case. He ranges from the Peace of Westphalia to the pace of microprocessing, from Sun Tzu to Talleyrand to Twitter. ... This long view can help us understand issues from Vladimir Putin’s aggression to Iran’s negotiating strategy, even as it raises the difficult question of “how divergent historic experiences and values can be shaped into a common order.”"
The latest issue of The New York Review of Books has a piece by David Cole reviewing Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin's Snuff Box to Citizens United by Zephyr Teachout (Harvard University Press).

Robert Cassanello's To Render Invisible: Jim Crow and Public Life in New South Jacksonville (University Press of Florida) is reviewed on H-Net. In the book, Cassanello "describes black life and labor in Jacksonville from the Civil War to the Great Migration, and he illustrates how racial tensions changed in New South Jacksonville as blacks made themselves more visible in public spaces."

New Books in American Studies has interviews with two authors this week. The first is with Staci Zavattaro, discussing her book Cities for Sale: Municipalities as Public Relations and Market Firms (SUNY Press). The second interview is with Matt Grossman, discussing his book Artists of the Possible: Governing Networks and American Policy Change Since 1945 (Oxford University Press).