Saturday, May 27, 2017

Weekend Roundup

  • We've previously noted the publication of Edward Balleisen's Fraud. Professor Balleisen has a related piece out this month in Zócalo Public Square: "Why Suckering Americans Is a Booming Business." The book also received mention in last week's New York Times Magazine, in an article on "the scam economy." Want to hear more? Tune in to C-SPAN tonight at 6:30 EDT for a conversation about the book, featuring Balleisen, former Congressman Brad Miller, Senior Deputy Attorney General Kevin Anderson, and North Carolina State Historian David Zonderman.
  • In two weeks, you can catch a conference on "Transnational and Global Dimensions of Justice and Memory Processes in Europe and Latin America" in Paris (June 8-9, 2017). The program is here. (H/t: H-Law)
Weekend Roundup is a weekly feature compiled by all the Legal History bloggers.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Baldy Center Fellowship to Hughett

The Baldy Center for Law & Social Policy at SUNY-Buffalo has announced the next group of Fellows in Interdisciplinary Legal Studies.We are pleased to see that the Center has once again included a legal historian: Amanda Hughett. Here's an excerpt from the Baldy Center press release:
Amanda Hughett, 2017-19, is currently a Law and Social Sciences Doctoral Fellow at the American Bar Foundation and a Ph.D. Candidate in History at Duke University. Her dissertation documents how civil liberties lawyers’ efforts to secure procedural protections for inmates during the 1970s unintentionally undermined imprisoned activists’ ability to organize and to secure more substantive victories. It begins by tracing the emergence of a surprisingly successful interracial movement to unionize incarcerated workers in North Carolina and across the nation. The project then reveals how prison administrators who at first opposed procedural protections for inmates used them, once created, to defeat prisoners’ more sweeping demands by portraying their institutions as modern bureaucracies that complied with the rule of law. In so doing, her work illuminates the limitations of individual rights claims in the postwar era while helping to explain why American prisons continue to punish more harshly than their counterparts in any Western country. At the Baldy Center, Amanda will revise her dissertation into a book manuscript tentatively titled Silencing the Cell Block: The Making of Modern Prison Policy in North Carolina and the Nation.

Jones to Johns Hopkins

Via the Michigan Daily News, we have word that Martha Jones is leaving the University of Michigan for Johns Hopkins University.

At Michigan, Jones was a Presidential Bicentennial Professor, a professor of history and Afroamerican and African Studies, and the co-director of the Michigan Law Program in Race, Law & History.

Read on for what the Daily describes as "an exit interview of sorts," in which Professor Jones "reflect[s] on her career at the University and the lessons she’s taken from this year, and decade, of powerful turbulence."

Cane on the Comparative History of Administrative Law

Controlling Administrative PowerWe noted a book symposium at Queen Mary in London for Controlling Administrative Power: A Comparative History back in Nov.2016, but here is the full announcement. The book, by Peter Cane (Australian National University, Canberra), came out in 2016 with Cambridge University Press. From the publisher:
This wide-ranging comparative account of the legal regimes for controlling administrative power in England, the USA and Australia argues that differences and similarities between control regimes may be partly explained by the constitutional structures of the systems of government in which they are embedded. It applies social-scientific and historical methods to the comparative study of law and legal systems in a novel and innovative way, and combines accounts of long-term and large-scale patterns of power distribution with detailed analysis of features of administrative law and the administrative justice systems of three jurisdictions. It also proposes a new method of analysing systems of government based on two different models of the distribution of public power (diffusion and concentration), a model which proves more illuminating than traditional separation-of-powers analysis.
Two blurbs:

"An important and original contribution to administrative law and comparative government in a simple and very clear style." -Susan Rose-Ackerman

"Cane's greatest achievement in this book is his demonstration of extraordinary 'fluency' in the subtleties of the English, US and Australian systems of administrative law and governance. He is at his absolute best in comparative legal analysis, informed by a strong sense of the historical development of the administrative state in each country." -Peter L. Lindseth

Further information is available here.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

CFP (at AALS): The 14th Amendment

[We have the following announcement.]

Call for Papers – AALS 2018 Annual Meeting Joint Program on “Reconstruction: The Second Founding”
The AALS Sections on Constitutional Law and Legal History invite paper submissions to participate in our joint program, “Reconstruction: The Second Founding,” at the 2018 AALS Annual Meeting on January 4, 2018. One paper will be selected among those submitted. The panel will take place from 3:00-4:30 on Thursday, January 4, 2018.

On the 150th anniversary of the 14th Amendment, the program celebrates the Reconstruction Constitution and explores its meaning to the law today.  In an addition to a keynote luncheon speech by historian Martha Jones of the University of Michigan, the program will consist of two panels; the first on the history of Reconstruction and the second on Reconstruction’s present-day meaning. The AALS Sections on Constitutional Law and Legal History welcome submissions for the second panel. This panel discussion will focus on the impact of the Reconstruction Amendments on contemporary constitutional law, touching on topics from racial justice to sex equality and the law of empire. The Sections invite papers (historical, theoretical, doctrinal, empirical) on the present-day resonance of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments and their broader significance.

Full-time faculty members of AALS member law schools are eligible to submit papers. Preference will be given to junior scholars doing original work on the Reconstruction Amendments. Diversity of race, gender, sexual orientation, ideology and subject matter will be taken into account in evaluating proposals. Pursuant to AALS rules, faculty at fee-paid law schools, foreign faculty, adjunct and visiting faculty (without a full-time position at an AALS member law school), graduate students, fellows, and non-law school faculty are not eligible to submit. Please note that all faculty members presenting at the program are responsible for paying their own annual meeting registration fee and travel expenses. 
While complete papers with an abstract (no longer than 800 words) are preferred, paper abstracts will also be accepted. Papers will be selected by the Sections’ officers in a double-blind review. Please submit only anonymous papers by redacting from the submission the author’s name and any references to the identity of the author, and include relevant identifying information in the body of your email. Please submit in PDF format. Send proposals to  The title of the email submission should read: “Submission – 2018 Joint Program on Reconstruction.” 

Deadline for submission of proposals is 5 pm EST on Friday, August 18, 2017. 

Watson on the Duty to Account

The Duty to Account coverIn 2016, James Watson, Banco Chambers, published The Duty to Account: Development and Principles with Irwin Law. The book examines the history of the duty of a trustee to account to beneficiaries for his or her administration of a trust. From the publisher:

This book investigates the history of the modern doctrine of account, and by that history, seeks to identify some of the principles and premises which help explain the application of, and which underlie, the action today. The common law account, and its successor in equity, is over 800 years old. There does not appear to have been any work devoted to an examination of that history published in that time. The focus on the book is on the question 'who is an accountable party'? The area of law focused on is common law and equitable remedies, namely, the account (including the subsidiary principle, the 'account of profits').
You can have a look at the detailed TOC here

Further information is available here.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

New Online: Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts

Our friend David Warrington writes:
An organization to which I belong, the Colonial Society of Massachusetts (whose “chief business is to publish documents related to the early history of Massachusetts”) has just made freely available to the public all eighty-seven volumes of its publications.  These can either be downloaded or consulted through its website (which is fully searchable).

There is much here to interest readers of the Legal History Blog, including:

Volume 2 (1913): Massachusetts Royal Commissions 1681-1774;
Volumes 29 and 30 (1933): Records of the Suffolk County Court 1671-1680;
Volume 62 (1984): Law in Colonial Massachusetts, 1630-1800; and
Volumes 74-78, 85 (2005-09, 2014): Portrait of a Patriot: The Major Political and Legal Papers of Josiah Quincy Junior
 That Law in Colonial Massachusetts volume had an all-star line up.  See after the jump:

Singer on Reconsidering Johnson v. M'Intosh

Joseph William Singer, Harvard Law School, has posted Indian Title: Unraveling the Racial Context of Property Rights, or How to Stop Engaging in Conquest, which appears in the Albany Government Law Review 10 (2017): 1-.48
The case of Johnson v. M'Intosh, 21 US 543 (1823), is taught in many property law classes and is the only information given to new law students about the property rights of Indian nations. However, the case is often misunderstood as denying title to those nations. A close reading of the opinion, in light of three later cases decided in the early 19th century, reveals that the Supreme Court intended to recognize "Indian title" while granting the United States a right of first refusal if tribes sought to sell property on the open market to non-Indians. Far from denying tribal property rights, Justice Marshall's opinion in this case, as explicated by later cases, actually sought to protect tribal title from expropriation by the United States unless the tribes voluntarily consented to the transfer of land.

While it is true that the opinion contains offensive and racist language, assumptions, and arguments, it is important not to ignore the ways in which the opinion sought to criticize, as well as justify, conquest and to put a halt to it in the future. Of course, history did not turn out that way but it did result in our current reality where conquest was incomplete. There are 567 federally-recognized Indian nations in the US and if property law professors teach students that conquest was complete and that tribes have no property rights in their land, those messages have current consequences for tribes trying to exercise sovereignty and property rights today. The truth is that Indian nations have both sovereignty and property rights over their lands and they do not have a mere license or "permission from the whites to occupy" (as the Supreme Court suggested in the 1955 case of Tee-Hit-Ton v. United States).

Both property law professors and scholars of federal Indian law should understand both the offensive racist reasoning in the decision and the ways in which the opinion represents one of the most pro-Indian nation decisions in the history of the Supreme Court. Treating the opinion as simply a racist relic of the past, like the Dred Scott decision, and nothing more, deprives Indian nations of the ability to use the case (and later cases like it) as a bulwark against further non-consensual deprivation of tribal property rights. And such a misreading of the case infects current politics by suggesting that tribes are being unreasonable when they seek to have their property rights be given equal respect to the property rights of non-Indians.

The importance of recognizing that federal law does protect tribal title can be seen easily if one simply considers the Standing Rock Sioux's opposition to a pipeline that threatens their ancient lands—lands that are currently protected both by tribal law, a treaty with the United States, and federal statutes and common law. Understanding Indian title as an estate in land that is every bit as powerful as the fee simple—as equally "sacred" in the words of the Supreme Court—is the message we should be sending to new lawyers, not the opposite.

A Retrospective on the Work of Hendrik Hartog

[We have the following announcement.]

“Relationships in/of Law and History: Retrospective on the Work of Hendrik Hartog.”  Hosted by the IDC Law and Humanities Workshop and the University of Haifa Faculty of Law.  Friday, May 26, 2017, 09:00-13:30.  IDC Herzliya Campus, Kanfei Nesharim Street, Herzliya.  Room SL302, Radzyner-Sustainability Building

For over three decades, Hendrik Hartog has been among the most influential writers in the fields of legal history, law and society, and the cultural study of law. In this symposium, we explore the contributions of Hartog's work to interdisciplinary legal scholarship in a set of discussions structured around four of his seminal texts: Pigs and Positivism (1985), The Constitution of Aspiration (1987), Man and Wife in America (2000), and Someday All This Will be Yours (2012), and his forthcoming book, The Trouble with Minna: Care, Slavery and Emancipation in New Jersey. Discussants will consider the significance of Hartog's scholarship in relation to a range of themes of contemporary interest in legal and historical scholarship. Special emphasis will be given to law's role in constituting and governing social relations, among them parenting, marriage, and slavery, and to methodological questions concerning the relationship between the study of law, social history and cultural studies.

08:40 Gathering

09:00 Welcome: Prof. Amnon Lehavi, Dean, Radzyner Law School, Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC)

09:05-10:35 Chair and Opening Remarks: Justice Prof. Daphne Barak-Erez (Justice of the Supreme Court of Israel)

Prof. Roy Kreitner (Tel-Aviv University, Law)
Pigs and Positivism: Between Jurisprudence and Politics

Dr. Ely Aaronson and Dr. Arianne Renan Barzilay (University of Haifa, Law)
Rights-Consciousness as an Object of Historical Inquiry: Revisiting The Constitution of Aspiration

10:35 - 10:45 – Coffee & refreshments

Chair: Dr. Alexander (Sandy) Kedar (University of Haifa, Law)

Dr. Galia Schneebaum (IDC Herzliya, Law)
Marital Consciousness and the Criminalization of Spousal Abuse: Man and Wife in America

Dr. Shelly Kreiczer-Levy (College of Law and Business, Ramat-Gan, Law)
Parents and Adult Children: The Elusive Boundaries of the Family, following Someday All This Will Be Yours

12:15-12:30 – Coffee & refreshments

12:30 – 13:30 

Chair: Prof. Milette Shamir (Tel-Aviv University, English & American Studies)

Discussion: Dr. Eli Cook (University of Haifa, History) & Dr. Anat Rosenberg (IDC Herzliya, Law):
Slavery, Contract and Capitalism: The Trouble with Minna

Concluding Remarks
Prof. Hendrik Hartog (Princeton University, History)

Monday, May 22, 2017

Cromwell Dissertation Prize: Deadline Approaching!

[Here’s a reminder for the Cromwell Dissertation Prize, as the deadline of May 30 is rapidly approaching.]

The William Nelson Cromwell Foundation has generously funded a dissertation prize of $5,000. The winning dissertation may focus on any area of American legal history, including constitutional and comparative studies; topics dealing with the colonial and early national periods will receive some preference. Anyone who received a Ph.D. in 2016 will be eligible for this year’s prize. The Foundation awards the prize after a review of the recommendation of the Cromwell Prize Advisory Committee of the American Society for Legal History.

To be considered for this year’s prize, please send one hard-copy of the dissertation and the curriculum vitae of its author to John D. Gordan, III, Chair of the Cromwell Prize Advisory Committee, and each member of the Cromwell Dissertation Prize Advisory Subcommittee with a postmark no later than May 30, 2017.

John D. Gordan, III, Chair, Cromwell Prize Advisory Committee
1133 Park Avenue
New York, NY, 10128

Anders Walker, Chair, Cromwell Dissertation Prize Advisory Subcommittee
Saint Louis University School of Law
100 North Tucker Blvd.
St. Louis, Missouri 63101

H. Robert Baker
Department of History
Georgia State University
20th floor, 25 Park Place
Atlanta, GA 30302

Lisa Ford
Room 344, Morven Brown
School of Humanities & Languages
The University of New South Wales
Sydney, NSW 2052

Laura Weinrib
University of Chicago Law School
1111 E. 60th St., Room

Research Fellowships in Legal History at St. Andrews

[We have the following announcement.  Deadline: June 1.]

Four Research Fellowships in Legal History are available at the University of St Andrews to work with Professor John Hudson on the ERC Advance Grant funded project ‘Civil Law, Common Law, Customary Law: Consonance, Divergence and Transformation in Western Europe from the late eleventh to the thirteenth centuries’. Three are medieval, concerning England, France, and Italy, whilst the fourth is concerned with the eighteenth to twentieth centuries.

[H/t and more: Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies]

CFP: The Bisbee Deportation Centennial

[We are moving up this call for papers, as the deadline of June 15 is approaching.  Also note the new announcement of the keynoter, my Georgetown colleague Katherine Benton-Cohen.]

Conference to Mark Centennial of Bisbee Deportation

Historians, legal scholars, and independent scholars are being invited to submit proposals for papers examining the circumstances of the Bisbee Deportation, an infamous chapter in Arizona history. Selected papers will be presented this fall during a conference at the James E. Rogers School of Law at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Keynote Speaker for this conference will be esteemed Georgetown University History Professor Katherine Benton-Cohen. Benton-Cohen is a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians and is the author of Borderline Americans: Racial Division and Labor War in the Arizona Borderlands (Harvard University Press, 2009), and of a forthcoming book on the largest study of immigrants in American history, the Dillingham Commission of 1907 to 1911.

This year marks the centennial of the Bisbee Deportation, which occurred on July 12, 1917. The incident involved the forcible removal of more than 1,000 Arizona mine workers. Rounded up by a citizens' posse, the miners were marched to waiting railroad cattle cars and transported to the New Mexico desert, where they were left stranded.  The deportation was unsanctioned by any court order or warrant and all civil and criminal efforts to hold those responsible failed.

Lodged at the intersection of local, national, and international history, the Bisbee Deportation reflected the political dividing lines of Arizona's 1916 elections and engaged Arizona elites, including the state governor and the CEO of the largest mining company in North America.  At the national and international levels, the event exemplified the contentious relationship between industry and labor, particularly the militant International [sic] Workers of the World (IWW), during the early twentieth century; underscored concerns regarding border security, which led to the posting of US Army troops along the US-Mexico border to deter the raids of the Mexican revolutionary Francisco "Pancho" Villa; and spoke to the nation's wartime concerns regarding the Zimmerman Telegram and Germany's influence in Mexico, and the extraction of natural resources from the borderlands during World War I

Historians, legal scholars and others are invited to submit proposals for papers addressing the events surrounding the deportation, with a view toward presentations at the Conference and possible inclusion in Western Legal History, a publication of the NJCHS.  We welcome proposals regarding the Bisbee Deportation itself, the broader economic, social, and political forces that informed the removal campaign, and the consequences of the deportation for borderlands history, labor relations, immigration law and policy, or international history.  We also welcome papers on the topics of deportation and labor relations in the borderlands and American West in the early twentieth century.

Date & Location of Conference: Saturday, October 21, 2017 at the University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law, Tucson, Arizona

Sponsors: The Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society (NJCHS); The University of Arizona's College of Law and its Department of History

Submission Details: Written proposals, in Word or PDF format and not to exceed 500 words in length, should be submitted preferably by June 15, 2017, for priority consideration, and should be addressed to: Robyn Lipsky, NJCHS Executive Director at:
Notification: Authors of accepted proposals will be notified before July 12, 2017, and invited to attend and participate in Conference discussion panels. Papers should be completed by October 14, 2017, for distribution to other panelists.

Schonthal on Constitutionalism and Religion in Sri Lanka

Benjamin Schonthal, University of Otago, published Buddhism, Politics and the Limits of Law: The Pyrrhic Constitutionalism of Sri Lanka with Cambridge University Press in 2016. The book takes a historical approach in Part I, especially. From the publisher:
Buddhism, Politics and the Limits of LawIt is widely assumed that a well-designed and well-implemented constitution can help ensure religious harmony in modern states. Yet how correct is this assumption? Drawing on groundbreaking research from Sri Lanka, this book argues persuasively for another possibility: when it comes to religion, relying on constitutional law may not be helpful, but harmful; constitutional practice may give way to pyrrhic constitutionalism. Written in a lucid and direct style, and aimed at both specialists and non-specialists, Buddhism, Politics and the Limits of Law explains why constitutional law has deepened, rather than diminished, conflicts over religion in Sri Lanka. Examining the roles of Buddhist monks, civil society groups, political coalitions and more, the book provides the first extended study of the legal regulation of religion in Sri Lanka as well as the first book-length analysis of the intersections of Buddhism and contemporary constitutional law.
The book provides the first detailed history of the legal regulation of religion in late and postcolonial Sri Lanka, which will be of interest to scholars of religious and legal history in South Asia. It draws upon previously unexamined sources and original ethnography in Sinhala, Tamil and English, offering new data and insights into Sri Lanka's political, legal and religious history.
A review:

"There is nothing the study of law and religion needs more than deeply informed political and religious histories of postcolonial states and societies. This is exactly what this book offers. In an exhaustively researched legal ethnography of the treatment of religion in Sri Lankan constitutionalism, Benjamin Schonthal explores how Sri Lankans have wrestled with the tensions generated by a legal order that guarantees religious rights while also granting to the majority religion of Buddhism its 'rightful place'. Is it possible for the state to protect a tradition without interfering in it? Who speaks for Buddhism in these debates? This sobering story of the limits of law is a must-read for scholars of religion and politics, Buddhist studies, and comparative constitutional law." -Elizabeth Shakman Hurd

TOC after the break.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sunday Book Review Roundup

Done reading the news?  Enjoy these reviews this weekend.

In the NY Times, check out Timothy Tyson’s review of He Calls Me Lightening: The Life of Caliph Washington and the Forgotten Saga of Jim Crow, Southern Justice, and the Death Penalty by S. Jonathan Bass, who “unearths the heretofore undocumented story of Caliph Washington,” a 17-year old who accidentally shot a policeman after being pursued by cops into the woods near Bessner, AL. His “trek through the depths of Jim Crow justice” involves the history of the civil rights movement, criminal justice, and the death penalty. Jane Kamensky reviews Scars of Independence: America’s Violent Birth, Holger Hoock’s re-telling of the more violent aspects of the Revolutionary War, making, as Kamensky says “lookers-on of us all, forcing readers to confront the visceral realities of a conflict too often bathed in warm, nostalgic light.” Russel Shorto’s review of Mike Rapport’s The Unruly City: Paris, London and New York in the Age of Revolution, which describes the connections between the French and American revolutions and the less well-known stories of “popular unrest,” disturbances, and riots in London, is called Three 18th-Century Revolutions and Why They Matter in 2017, and concludes with Shorto “wondering if we’ve come full circle.”

You can also read Gordon S. Wood’s review of T.H. Breen’s George Washington’s Journey: The President Forges a New Nation, which is a “neat and readable account of Washington’s efforts as president to forge a new nation.”

Elsewhere on the internet, David Roediger reviews Joan C. Williams’s “White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America. He says that the book “suffers under problems with accuracy-in-labeling” (“the book is not about the working class in any meaningful sense. Its treatment of race is, at best, fleeting”), and recommends DuBois.

In the Washington Post, one can read about The Soul of the First Amendment,” written by Floyd Abrams, perhaps “the country’s most prominent First Amendment and media lawyer.” Abrams argues that the First Amendment is a distinctly American vehicle that ensures that “citizens achieve self-fulfillment through speech, expression, publication and the free flow of information.” The book is reviewed by the WSJ as well, which adds (gleefully?), that Abrams made enemies on the left after changing his mind on campaign spending and helping Citizens United win its Supreme Court case. The review is, ironically, behind a paywall.

Also in the Journal, Julia Vitullo-Martin reviews Fear City: New York’s Fiscal Crisis and the Rise of Austerity Politics by Kim Phillips-Fein, which summarizes the political shift Phillips-Fein describes: “Koch was a business-oriented mayor not because he liked “the richies,” but because he needed their taxes to pay for services for the poor.”

The same publication evaluates James Q. Whitman’s Hitler's American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law, which, Jeff Guo argues, “contributes to a growing recognition of American influences on Nazi thought.”

Ready to close your eyes and listen? The New Books Network features interviews with Ralph Young (on his book Dissent: The History of an American Idea, which “provides a fast-paced four hundred years people’s history of dissenters in America.”); Michael Bryant (whose A World History of War Crimes: From Antiquity to the Present is “a reminder that, while expectations about how soldiers (and others) would act during warfare are not new at all, the notion of war crimes is actually quite recent,” and is “derived from religion or from the shape of the political institutions in society,” rather than grander notions of the dignity of the person); William Rankin (who describes, in After the Map: Cartography, Navigation, and the Transformation of Territory in the Twentieth Century (University of Chicago Press, the shift from maps to coordinate systems, and then eventually to GPS, which “produced novel geographical subjectivities, navigational experiences and geopolitical arrangements.”); Julie Gottleib (whose ‘Guilty Women’: Foreign Policy and Appeasement in Inter-War Britain describes the role of “politically engaged women” in negotiating with Nazis, and the gendered notions at play in appeasement efforts); Stanley Corkin (who presents, in Connecting The Wire: Race, Space, and Postindustrial Baltimore, “the first comprehensive, season-by-season analysis of the entire series.”), and David Garland on The Welfare State: A Very Short Introduction.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Vestal on Waterboarding in the Philippine-American War

Allan Vestal, Drake University Law School, has posted The First Wartime Water Torture by Americans, Maine Law Review 69 (2017): 1-66:
The first use of wartime water torture by Americans occurred during the Philippine-American War of 1899 to 1902, when American soldiers and their indigenous minions used the “water cure” to extract information from Filipinos who resisted the occupation of their land, and to punish them. The practice, in which a prisoner was held down and forced to ingest large quantities of water to simulate drowning, was almost universally acknowledged at the time to be a form of torture, illegal under the applicable laws of war.

The Philippine-American War, an early foray into overseas imperialism, was extremely controversial at the time. Cutting across partisan and sectional lines, the conflict divided the nation between imperialists and anti-imperialists. The conduct of the war intensified the controversy. Beyond water torture, the war was marked by the burning of villages and towns, the establishment of re-concentration camps, and reprisals against innocent civilian hostages. The use of water torture divided the Army, the Senators who investigated the practice, and the nation.

It was against this backdrop of controversy that President Theodore Roosevelt delivered an address to veterans of the Great Rebellion on Memorial Day in 1902, in which he promised to discover and acknowledge every instance of cruelty and barbarity, fairly punish those guilty of such crimes, and take strong action to minimize such crimes in the future. The article traces the failure of the Roosevelt Administration to fulfill these three imperatives, and compares the record of that age with our performance as a nation after our recent use of water torture.

Cederlöf, Das Gupta and friends on Subjects and Citizens in India

Subjects, Citizens and Law: Colonial and independent India (Hardback) book coverGunnel Cederlöf (Linnaeus University) and Sanjukta Das Gupta (Sapienza University, Rome) have an edited volume, Subjects, Citizens and Law: Colonial and Independent India, out now with Routledge. From the publisher:

This volume investigates how, where and when subjects and citizens come into being, assert themselves and exercise subjecthood or citizenship in the formation of modern India. It argues for the importance of understanding legal practice – how rights are performed in dispute and negotiation – from the parliament and courts to street corners and field sites. The essays in the book explore themes such as land law and rights, court procedure, freedom of speech, sex workers’ mobilisation, refugee status, adivasi people and non-state actors, and bring together studies from across north India, spanning from early colonial to contemporary times. Representing scholarship in history, anthropology and political science that draws on wide-ranging field and archival research, the volume will immensely benefit scholars, students and researchers of development, history, political science, sociology, anthropology, law and public policy.
Here is the Table of Contents:

  • Becoming and being a subject: an introduction, by Gunnel Cederlöf 
  • 1 The making of subjects on British India’s North-Eastern Frontier, by Gunnel Cederlöf 
  • 2 The temperament of empire: law and conquest in late 19th-century India, by Jon Wilson 
  • 3 Contagious contestations: sex work, medicine and law in colonial and postcolonial Sonagachhi, by Simanti Dasgupta
  • 4 Laws and colonial subjects: the subject–citizen riddle and the making of section 295 (A), by Nishant Kumar 
  • 5 A homeland for ‘tribal’ subjects: revisiting British colonial experimentations in the Kolhan Government Estate, by Sanjukta Das Gupta
  • 6 Conflict and governance: participation and strategic veto in Bihar and Jharkhand, India, by Amit Prakash 
  • 7 Refugees in India: a study into (un)equal status, treatment and prospects, by Anne-Sophie Bentz 
  • 8 Law, agro-ecology and colonialism in mid-Gangetic India, 1770s–1910s, by Nitin Sinha
  • Subjects, citizens and law: a postscript, by Tanika Sarkar 

Further information is available here.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Kochan on Zhang, "Cultural Paradigms in Property Institutions"

Writing for JOTWELL's Property Law section, Donald Kochan has high praise for legal historian Taisu Zhang's "Cultural Paradigms in Property Institutions," which appeared in volume 41 of the Yale Journal of International Law (2016). Here's a taste:
To understand the interplay between culture and the law, it is useful to evaluate historical developments of legal doctrines from a comparative perspective. That is the eminently valuable project undertaken by Professor Taisu Zhang in his article, Cultural Paradigms in Property Institutions.
Zhang exposes the sometimes “muted” perspective regarding the strong cultural influence and sociological concerns in property law’s development and its theoretical understanding. By comparing and contrasting his project against many of the other influential comparative property theory endeavors, Zhang identifies both the alignments his study has with previous literature but also where his richer understanding of culture’s role fills gaps or omissions in the existing body of analysis.
Read on here.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Drawing Justice: The Art of Courtroom Illustrations

The Library of Congress has announced the opening of Drawing Justice: The Art of Courtroom Illustrations, in the South Gallery on the second floor of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C.  It is free and open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday and runs until Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017.
The 98 illustrations on display will represent court cases dating from 1964 to the present day, including trials for murder, crime and corruption, terrorism, political activism and landmark legal issues.  Among those depicted will be Jack Ruby, James Earl Ray, Charles Manson, David Berkowitz, John Gotti, the Chicago Seven and Bernie Madoff.  Artifacts from the Library’s Manuscript Division and the Law Library will supplement the drawings from a legal perspective.
H/t: Legal Scholarship Blog

Kathryn T. Preyer Scholars: Call for Papers, 2017

[We are moving this up, as the deadline of June 15, 2017 is approaching.]

Named after the late Kathryn T. Preyer, a distinguished historian of the law of early America known for her generosity to young legal historians, the program of Kathryn T. Preyer Scholars is designed to help legal historians at the beginning of their careers. At the annual meeting of the American Society for Legal History two early career legal historians designated Kathryn T. Preyer Scholars will present what would normally be their first papers to the Society. The generosity of Professor Preyer’s friends and family has enabled the Society to offer a small honorarium to the Preyer Scholars and to reimburse, in some measure or entirely, their costs of attending the meeting. The competition for Preyer Scholars is organized by the Society’s Kathryn T. Preyer Memorial Committee.

Submissions are welcome on any topic in legal, institutional and/or constitutional history.  Early career scholars, including those pursuing graduate or law degrees, those who have completed their terminal degree within the previous year, and those independent scholars at a comparable stage, are eligible to apply. Papers already submitted to the ASLH Program Committee–whether or not accepted for an existing panel–and papers never previously submitted are equally eligible. Once selected, Preyer Award winners must present their paper as part of the Preyer panel, and they will be removed from any other panel.

Submissions should be a single MS Word document consisting of a complete curriculum vitae, contact information, and a complete draft of the paper to be presented. Papers must not exceed 40 pages (12 point font, double-spaced) and must contain supporting documentation. In past competitions, the Committee has given preference to draft articles and essays, though the Committee will still consider shorter conference papers, as one of the criteria for selection will be the suitability of the paper for reduction to a twenty-minute oral presentation. The deadline for submission is June 15, 2017.

Kathryn T. Preyer Scholars will receive a $500 cash award and reimbursement of expenses up to $750 for travel, hotels, and meals. Each will present the paper that s/he submitted to the competition at the Society’s annual meeting in Las Vegas, NV in October 2017.  The Society’s journal, Law and History Review, has published several past winners of the Preyer competition, though it is under no obligation to do so.

Please send submissions as Microsoft Word attachments by June 15, 2017 to the chair of the Preyer Committee, H. Timothy Lovelace (  He will forward them to the other committee members.

More information, including a list of past Preyer Scholars, can be found here.

The 2017 Preyer Memorial Committee
H. Timothy Lovelace (2014), Chair, Indiana University
Melissa Hayes (2014), Independent Scholar
Michael Hoeflich (2014), University of Kansas
Rabia Belt (2016), Stanford University
Jed Shugerman (2016), Fordham University

Monson on Crime in early modern Italy

In 2016, Craig A. Monson, Washington University in St. Louis, published Habitual Offenders: A True Tale of Nuns, Prostitutes, and Murderers in Seventeenth-century Italy with the University of Chicago Press. From the publisher:
In April 1644, two nuns fled Bologna’s convent for reformed prostitutes. A perfunctory archiepiscopal investigation went nowhere, and the nuns were quickly forgotten. By June of the next year, however, an overwhelming stench drew a woman to the wine cellar of her Bolognese townhouse, reopened after a two-year absence—where to her horror she discovered the eerily intact, garroted corpses of the two missing women. 
Drawing on over four thousand pages of primary sources, the intrepid Craig A. Monson reconstructs this fascinating history of crime and punishment in seventeenth-century Italy. Along the way, he explores Italy’s back streets and back stairs, giving us access to voices we rarely encounter in conventional histories: prostitutes and maidservants, mercenaries and bandits, along with other “dubious” figures negotiating the boundaries of polite society. Painstakingly researched and breathlessly told, Habitual Offenders will delight historians and true-crime fans alike.
Praise for the book:

"Monson's Habitual Offenders is an enthralling amalgam of sex, violence, and scholarship. At the center of the story are the abduction and murder of two reformed prostitute nuns in Bologna in April of 1644. From this relatively banal event, the ramifications spread ever more widely, involving priests, nobles, cardinals, a king, and finally the pope himself. The most harrowing chapter of the story describes in detail the judicial murder of a prisoner by the illegal use of enhanced interrogation techniques. Plus ça change. . . ." –Frederick Hammond

"A box overflowing with exquisite linens and lace, a faux-marble cupboard with a cat painted on the side, and a red leather, reliquary crucifix whose ‘top’ had to be rescued from the convent sewer: Monson’s latest foray into the archives plunges readers into an early modern world that pullulates with signifying objects. Their meanings unfold in the long series of investigations that follow on the murder of two remarkable women, former prostitutes become nuns whose flirtatious acumen as laundresses kept an admiring clientele crowding the convent gate. In reconstructing their story, Monson delivers cut-to-the-quick truths about survival strategies for individuals and families, both great and small, caught in networks from Bologna, through Venice and papal Rome, reaching as far as Mazarin and the king of France." –Alison K. Frazier

 “Monson is both a careful historian and a compelling narrator, helping us delve deeply into the daily lives of seventeenth-century Italians from all regions and walks of life. What emerges is a page-turner of a whodunit made especially compelling by Monson’s extraordinary and subtle ability to convey the diverse personalities of his many historical subjects and to plunge his reader into the world of early modern Italian culture.” –Andrew Dell’Antonio

Further information is available here.