Friday, November 27, 2015

CFP: Confronting the Violence(s) of History:

[Via H-Law, we have the following call for papers.]

Confronting the Violence(s) of History: Critical Methods, Epistemologies, and Engagements:
The History Department’s 38th Annual Susman Graduate Student Conference, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, Thursday and Friday, April 7 and 8, 2016

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Laura Ann Twagira, Assistant Professor of History and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at Wesleyan University*

Opening Address: Dr. Marisa Fuentes, Assistant Professor of History and Women and Gender Studies at Rutgers University*

The Department of History at Rutgers University and its Graduate Students are pleased to invite their peers in the humanities and social sciences to submit papers to the annual Susman Conference, “Confronting the Violence(s) of History: Critical Methods, Epistemologies, and Engagements.” This conference asks scholars to jointly consider violence/resistance and critique/ repair as possible sites that can provide alternative theorizations and approaches to the past. While this conference is interested in exploring the variety of quotidian forms that violence and resistance have taken in the past, it is equally concerned with, and challenges scholars to consider how, engagement with this history can lead to new epistemologies, methods, and ethics of scholarly practice. Further, this conference locates the everyday as a significant site for investigating the multiplicities of violence, as well as producing the necessary critical tools and theories, in which to counteract those violences. “Confronting the Violence(s) of History” leads to questions such as:

How does thinking about the points of intersection between violence and resistance question our normative understandings of these categories?

Can violence ever be a generative space, as well as a space of trauma?
What ethical obligations do scholars have to their historical subjects and objects, if any?

What kind of ethical/moral historical practices can possibly emerge in the present when we think about violence/resistance in the past?

We welcome graduate students to submit proposals that explore any time period or geographical location related, but by no means limited, to the following themes and subthemes:

Everyday Forms of Violence, Politics, and Repair: Material violence/bodily violence; violence, ecologies, and the non-human; the violence of capitalism and commodification; rhetorical violence and resistance in the past; state-sanctioned violence

Alternative Genealogies of Violence and Resistance: Temporalities of violence and resistance; critiques of modernity and progress narratives; politics of (de)colonization; violence and the postcolonial studies; universalims and localisms in theory and practice

The Violence of Resistance: Politics of (non)violence; sovereignty and borderlands; the public/ private as sites of violence/resistance; the carceral state; sovereignty, biopolitics and bare life; loss, grievable lives and (un)recognizability

Epistemologies of Violence in the Archive and Academe: Resistance in knowledge production; the archive as fiction, fiction as the archive; the roles of oral history and memory studies; quantification and qualitative forms of historical method and narrative

Proposals are due by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, January 31, 2016. Please submit all proposals to the Susman planning committee at Participants will be notified of acceptance by February 26th. Individual paper proposals should include a 150-300 word abstract with paper title and CV with author contact information. The organizers of complete sessions should send in a single submission that includes abstracts, a 200 word description of the session, and CVs with contact information for all participants. Please list any audio-visual requirements.

*Each year, the Susman planning committee invites a graduate of the Rutgers doctorate program in History to present a keynote address. Laura Ann Twagira received her Ph.D. in African History from Rutgers University in 2013. Her article “Robot Farmers and Cosmopolitan Workers: Technological Masculinity and Agricultural Development in the French Soudan (Mali)” was published as a part of a special issue of Gender & History on gender, imperialism, and global exchanges in 2014. She is currently working on a book manuscript entitled The Taste of Development: Women Re-Engineering the Foodscape in 20th Century Rural French Soudan.

Marisa Fuentes received her Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. Her forthcoming book is entitled Dispossessed Lives: Enslaved Women, Violence and the Archive, and will be published by University of Pennsylvania Press in the spring of 2016. She has written extensively about gender, violence, and the use and limits of archives in Caribbean slavery.

Mitchell on Law in Manchukuo, 1931-1945

Ryan Mitchell, a Ph.D. in Law candidate at Yale University, has posted Legal Activism and Rights Consciousness in a "Puppet State": Law in Manchukuo's Civil Resistance, 1931-1945.  Here is the abstract:
Though a crucial element in Japan’s gradual early 20th century military and economic encroachment on China, the “puppet state” of Manchukuo was also paradoxically characterized by a high degree of legitimizing legal rhetoric. While its political realities generally failed to reflect these idealized foundations, in some capacities the regime actually did provide significant space for legal and other forms of civil society resistance, including by Chinese legal professionals. In order to better understand the early reception of Western, rights-based concepts of law’s social function in East Asia, then, Manchukuo is a valuable subject of study. As this Article shows, there is evidence of at least germinal development of a kind of rights-oriented legal activism that, in the Chinese context, is often viewed as first emerging only in the late-20th century Reform Era.

Parker's "Making Foreigners"

Earlier this year, Kunal M. Parker, University of Miami School of Law, published Making Foreigners: Immigration and Citizenship Law in America, 1600–2000, in the New Histories of American Law series at Cambridge University Press. 
This book reconceptualizes the history of U.S. immigration and citizenship law from the colonial period to the beginning of the twenty-first century by joining the histories of immigrants to those of Native Americans, African Americans, women, Asian Americans, Latino/a Americans, and the poor. Kunal Parker argues that during the earliest stages of American history, being legally constructed as a foreigner, along with being subjected to restrictions on presence and movement, was not confined to those who sought to enter the country from the outside, but was also used against those on the inside. Insiders thus shared important legal disabilities with outsiders. It is only over the course of four centuries, with the spread of formal and substantive citizenship among the domestic population, a hardening distinction between citizen and alien, and the rise of a powerful centralized state, that the uniquely disabled legal subject we recognize today as the immigrant has emerged. The book advances new ways of understanding the relationship between foreignness and subordination over the long span of American history.
Endorsements by Linda K. Kerber, Mae Ngai, and Barbara Welke after the jump.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Butterfield, "The Making of Tocqueville's America: Law and Association in the Early United States"

Via the LSA Law & History Collaborative Research Network, we have word of a new release: The Making of Tocqueville's America: Law and Association in the Early United States (University of Chicago Press, Nov. 2015), by Kevin Butterfield (University of Oklahoma). A description from the Press:
Alexis de Tocqueville was among the first to draw attention to Americans’ propensity to form voluntary associations—and to join them with a fervor and frequency unmatched anywhere in the world. For nearly two centuries, we have sought to understand how and why early nineteenth-century Americans were, in Tocqueville’s words, “forever forming associations.” In The Making of Tocqueville’s America, Kevin Butterfield argues that to understand this, we need to first ask: what did membership really mean to the growing number of affiliated Americans?

Butterfield explains that the first generations of American citizens found in the concept of membership—in churches, fraternities, reform societies, labor unions, and private business corporations—a mechanism to balance the tension between collective action and personal autonomy, something they accomplished by emphasizing law and procedural fairness. As this post-Revolutionary procedural culture developed, so too did the legal substructure of American civil society. Tocqueville, then, was wrong to see associations as the training ground for democracy, where people learned to honor one another’s voices and perspectives. Rather, they were the training ground for something no less valuable to the success of the American democratic experiment: increasingly formal and legalistic relations among people.
A few blurbs:
“Butterfield’s The Making of Tocqueville’s America is a landmark analysis of the rise of associational civil life in the early American republic. Where the eighteenth-century origins of popular civil society were clearly grounded in sensibility and sociability, Butterfield demonstrates with great force and clarity that a new associational framework of legal rights and procedural formality rapidly emerged in the wake of the Revolution. His analysis solves the problem that Tocqueville struggled to explain in the 1830s: why Americans were simultaneously an individualistic and collectivist people.” -- John L. Brooke
“Butterfield's important new study illuminates the extraordinary new world Alexis de Tocqueville encountered on his American travels—and could not adequately explain. The associational impulse that the great French visitor found so astonishing was not the spontaneous expression of the American ‘character,’ but instead grew out of law-minded members’ struggles to reconcile individual autonomy and collective action. Deeply researched, persuasively argued, and beautifully written, The Making of Tocqueville’s America is a remarkable achievement: it will transform the way we think about the legal and civic culture of the early American republic.” -- Peter S. Onuf
More information is available here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Unterman, "Uncle Sam’s Policemen: The Pursuit of Fugitives across Borders"

Another new one from HUP: Uncle Sam’s Policemen: The Pursuit of Fugitives across Borders (Oct. 2015), by Katherine Unterman (Texas A&M University). From the Press:
Extraordinary rendition—the practice of abducting criminal suspects in locations around the world—has been criticized as an unprecedented expansion of U.S. police powers. But America’s aggressive pursuit of fugitives beyond its borders far predates the global war on terror. Uncle Sam’s Policemen investigates the history of international manhunts, arguing that the extension of U.S. law enforcement into foreign jurisdictions at the turn of the twentieth century forms an important chapter in the story of American empire.

In the late 1800s, expanding networks of railroads and steamships made it increasingly easy for criminals to evade justice. Recognizing that domestic law and order depended on projecting legal authority abroad, President Theodore Roosevelt declared in 1903 that the United States would “leave no place on earth” for criminals to hide. Charting the rapid growth of extradition law, Katherine Unterman shows that the United States had fifty-eight treaties with thirty-six nations by 1900—more than any other country. American diplomats put pressure on countries that served as extradition havens, particularly in Latin America, and cloak-and-dagger tactics such as the kidnapping of fugitives by Pinkerton detectives were fair game—a practice explicitly condoned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The most wanted fugitives of this period were not anarchists and political agitators but embezzlers and defrauders—criminals who threatened the emerging corporate capitalist order. By the early twentieth century, the long arm of American law stretched around the globe, creating an informal empire that complemented both military and economic might.
From the advance reviews:
Uncle Sam’s Policemen uncovers the hidden history of America’s rise to power. Unterman shows how battles a century ago over policing, rendition, and deportation transformed the way that Americans saw themselves in the world. Her book stands at the forefront of the most exciting work in U.S. legal history and the history of U.S. foreign relations.—Christopher Capozzola
A compelling, briskly written, and important account of how the history of cross-border policing enabled contemporary rendition and expanded American global power.—Mary L. Dudziak
More information is available here.

Mittelstadt, "The Rise of the Military Welfare State"

New from Harvard University Press: The Rise of the Military Welfare State (Oct. 2015), by Jennifer Mittelstadt (Rutgers University). A description from the Press:
Since the end of the draft, the U.S. Army has prided itself on its patriotic volunteers who heed the call to “Be All That You Can Be.” But beneath the recruitment slogans, the army promised volunteers something more tangible: a social safety net including medical and dental care, education, child care, financial counseling, housing assistance, legal services, and other privileges that had long been reserved for career soldiers. The Rise of the Military Welfare State examines how the U.S. Army’s extension of benefits to enlisted men and women created a military welfare system of unprecedented size and scope.
America’s all-volunteer army took shape in the 1970s, in the wake of widespread opposition to the draft. Abandoning compulsory conscription, it wrestled with how to attract and retain soldiers—a task made more difficult by the military’s plummeting prestige after Vietnam. The army solved the problem, Jennifer Mittelstadt shows, by promising to take care of its own—the more than ten million Americans who volunteered for active duty after 1973 and their families. While the United States dismantled its civilian welfare system in the 1980s and 1990s, army benefits continued to expand.
Yet not everyone was pleased by programs that, in their view, encouraged dependency, infantilized soldiers, and feminized the institution. Fighting to outsource and privatize the army’s “socialist” system and to reinforce “self-reliance” among American soldiers, opponents rolled back some of the military welfare state’s signature achievements, even as a new era of war began.
A few blurbs:
A truly important book. Mittelstadt shows how the military welfare state has contributed substantially to upward mobility for both soldiers and their families. Her excellent account is especially crucial today, when outsourcing and privatization threaten the standards of living of service members and civilians alike.—Linda Gordon

Mittelstadt describes the emergence of a khaki safety net extolled as tangible evidence of the nation’s commitment to its soldiers’ well-being, and she traces how this support system was undermined by a combination of military and civilian agendas. This is a provocative, informed, and disturbing book that provides an essential perspective on the modern U.S. armed forces.—Brian M. Linn
More information, including the TOC, is available here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Perlingeiro on European and American Influences on Administrative Law in Latin America

You'll need Portuguese to read it, but Ricardo Perlingeiro, Universidade Federal Fluminense; Tribunal Regional Federal da 2a Região, has posted A Historical Perspective on Administrative Jurisdiction in Latin America: Continental European Tradition versus US Influence, which appeared in Revista de Investigações Constitucionais 2:1 (2015): 89-136.  Here is the English abstract:
From the perspective of US influence, this text analyses the history of administrative jurisdiction, starting from the 19th Century, in the 19 Latin American countries of Iberian origin (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, Uruguay and Venezuela). The analysis includes the US unified judicial system and procedural due process of law to decisions by the administrative authorities, the fertile field of primary jurisdiction, which is in conflict with the Continental European tradition firmly established in Latin American administrative law. While setting out the contradictions of administrative jurisdiction in Latin American countries that result from importing rules without putting them in the proper context, the text seeks to identify trends and create perspective to build a model of administrative justice specific to Latin America, drawing on the accumulated experience of the United States and Continental Europe.

Garth and Dezalay on the Weak Autonomy of Learned Law in the US

Bryant Garth, University of California-Irvine, et al., and Yves M. Dezalay, French National Center for Scientific Research, have posted 'Legal Theory,' Strategies of Learned Production, and the Relatively Weak Autonomy of the Subfield of Learned Law, which is forthcoming in In Search of Contemporary Legal Thought (working title), ed. Justin Desautels-Stein and Christopher Tomlins (Cambridge University Press).
This chapter focuses on the relationship between learned or scholarly law and economic and political power. It begins by introducing Pierre Bourdieu’s writings on the role of law and legal theories, which provide a general sociological framework, and then it draws on that approach to examine the role of learned law in the United States. The first part examines a key period in the genesis of the U.S. legal field and its hierarchies -- the outsourcing of the reproduction of lawyers and the compilation of legal knowledge to the law schools late in the nineteenth century. Law professors and their theories were quite marginal in the US legal field at that time. The second part examines the Legal Realist “coup” of the law professors against the dominance of the elite judges and corporate lawyers in the 1930s. The third part discusses similar challenges to the place of elite lawyers and judges in the 1960s from the left and more recently from the right. In each case, we show that legal academics and their theories are part of a larger story of adaptation and relegitimation of the enduring hierarchies of the U.S. legal field. A major theme, which these histories make clear, is the relatively weak autonomy of the field of learned law in the United States. Within this larger story, however, we point out the factors that created what looks in retrospect like a “golden age” of academic theory in the 1980s.

Monday, November 23, 2015

CFP: Ninth International Junior Faculty Forum

Ninth International Junior Faculty Forum
Call for Papers

Sponsored by Stanford Law School and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, the International Junior Faculty Forum (IJFF) was established to stimulate the exchange of ideas and research among younger legal scholars from around the world. We live today in a global community–in particular, a global legal community. The IJFF is designed to foster transnational legal scholarship that surmounts barriers of time, space, legal traditions and cultures, and to create an engaged global community of scholars. The Ninth IJFF will be held at the University of Pennsylvania Law School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in late September or early October 2016 (the exact date has not yet been fixed).

In order to be considered for the 2016 International Junior Faculty Forum, authors must meet the following criteria:
  • Citizen of a country other than the United States
  • Current academic institution is outside of the United States
  • Not currently a student in the United States
  • Have held a faculty position or the equivalent, including positions comparable to junior faculty positions in research institutions, for less than seven years as of 2016; and
  • Last degree earned less than ten years before 2016
Papers may be on any legally relevant subject and can make use of any relevant approach: they can be quantitative or qualitative, sociological, anthropological, historical, or economic. The host institutions are committed to intellectual, methodological, and regional diversity, and welcome papers from junior scholars from all parts of the world. Please note, however, that already published papers are not eligible for consideration. We particularly welcome work that is interdisciplinary.

Those who would like to participate in the IJFF must first submit an abstract of the proposed paper. Abstracts should be no more than two (2) pages long and must be in English. The abstract should provide a roadmap of your paper.  It should tell us what you plan to do, lay out the major argument of the paper, say something about the methodology, and indicate the paper’s contribution to scholarship. The due date for abstracts is Friday, January 15, 2016, although earlier submissions are welcome. Please submit the abstract electronically to both Maria O’Neill,, and Norva Hall,, with the subject line, International Junior Faculty Forum. The abstract should contain the author¡|s name, home institution, and the title of the proposed paper. Please also send a current CV.

After the abstracts have been reviewed, we will invite, no later than mid-February, a number of junior scholars to submit full papers of no more than 15,000 words, electronically, in English, by May 13, 2016. Please include a word count for final papers. There is no fixed number of papers to be invited, but in the past years up to 50 invitations have been issued from among a much larger number of abstracts.

An international committee of legal scholars will review the papers and select approximately ten papers for full presentation at the conference, where two senior scholars will comment on each paper. After the remarks of the commentators, all of the participants, junior and senior alike, will have a chance to join in the discussion. One of the most valuable–and enjoyable–aspects of the Forum, in the opinion of many participants, has been the chance to meet junior and senior scholars, and to talk about your work and theirs.

Stanford and Penn will cover expenses of travel, including airfare, lodging, and food,
for each participant. Questions should be directed to Maria O’Neill ( and Norva Hall (

Professor Lawrence M. Friedman Stanford Law School
Professor Eric A. Feldman, University of Pennsylvania Law School

Two from Grant: "Civilizing the Colonial Subject," "The Treaty of Hartford"

Via the Law & History Collaborative Research Network, we have word of two recently published articles by Daragh Grant (Harvard University). (Both articles are behind paywalls, unfortunately.)
'Civilizing' the Colonial Subject: The Co-Evolution of State and Slavery in South Carolina, 1670–1739,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 57, no. 3 (July 2015): 606-636.

South Carolina was a staggeringly weak polity from its founding in 1670 until the 1730s. Nevertheless, in that time, and while facing significant opposition from powerful indigenous neighbors, the colony constructed a robust plantation system that boasted the highest slave-to-freeman ratio in mainland North America. Taking this fact as a point of departure, I examine the early management of unfree labor in South Carolina as an exemplary moment of settler-colonial state formation. Departing from the treatment of state formation as a process of centralizing “legitimate violence,” I investigate how the colonial state, and in particular the Commons House of Assembly, asserted an exclusive claim to authority by monopolizing the question of legitimacy itself. In managing unfree laborers, the colonial state extended its authority over supposedly private relations between master and slave and increasingly recast slavery in racial terms. This recasting of racial slavery rested, I argue, on a distinction, pervasive throughout English North America, which divided the world into spheres of savagery and civility. Beneath the racial reordering of colonial life, the institution of slavery was rooted in the same ideological distinction by which the colonial state’s claims to authority were justified, with the putative “savagery” of the slave or of the Indian being counterpoised to the supposed civility of English settlers. This article contributes to the literatures on Atlantic slavery and American colonial history, and invites comparison with accounts of state formation and settler colonialism beyond Anglo-America.

"The Treaty of Hartford (1638): Reconsidering Jurisdiction in Southern New England,” William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd. Ser., 72, no. 3 (July 2015): 461-498.

On September 21, 1638, the Mohegans, the Narragansetts, and the English colonists on the Connecticut River reached an agreement at Hartford to settle their affairs following the Pequot War. The original copy of the treaty having been lost, scholars have depended almost exclusively on a copy prepared for the 1705 hearing of the Mohegan land case. However, this document represents only a fragment of the original agreement, leaving out four of the thirteen provisions agreed to by the parties in 1638. The original text of the treaty is reconstructed here by drawing on all of the surviving copies of the agreement: the 1705 copy already familiar to historians, a 1734 copy prepared during a later hearing of the Mohegan land case, and a newly rediscovered copy dating from 1665 and held among the British Library's Lansdowne Manuscripts. This reconstructed treaty illuminates how indigenous polities and English settlers sought to navigate the jurisdictional politics of early America. Moreover, it presents scholars with an important resource for reconsidering the evolution of Anglo-Indian relations in New England, particularly the breakdown of the relationship between the Massachusetts Bay Colony and the Narragansetts in the early 1640s.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sunday Book Roundup

There's plenty of book reviews this weekend. To start us off, there is a review of Will Haywood's Showdown: Thurgood Marshal and the Supreme Court Nomination that Changed America (Knopf) in the Los Angeles Review of Books
"The book doesn’t bring us particularly close to Marshall-the-man, but it includes a larger narrative that satisfies. This is the story of how a nation in the grip of the Vietnam War and explosive questions about race was able to move past widespread racism and accomplish what many Southern senators were absolutely opposed to — appointing a black man as a Supreme Court justice."
Also in the LA Review of Books is a review of Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (And Winning) by Marion Nestle (Oxford University Press).

Salon interviews David Pilgrim, who has new book, Understanding Jim Crow: Using Racist Memorabilia to Teach Tolerance and Promote Social Justice (PM Press).

Dan Jones's Magna Carta: The Birth of Liberty (Viking) is reviewed in The New York Times. 
"The snag with that uplifting tale is that, historically speaking, almost all of it is either myth or half-truth, as Dan Jones’s lively and excellent “Magna Carta: The Birth of Liberty” makes clear. A best-­selling historian with a popular touch — he has written and hosted TV mini-series based on his books — Jones skirts political legend and sticks largely to what is known. He’s frank about unfilled documentary gaps and unsettled disputes of interpretation. Celebrants have made of Magna Carta a modern dawn, while deflationists have shrunk it to a passing incident. Jones avoids both extremes, aware that the story of this document has its own merits."
Jed Rakoff reviews Justice Stephen Breyer's The Court and the World: American Law and the New Global Realities (Knopf) for the New York Review of Books.

The New Rambler posts this review of Stephen Hopgood's The Endtimes of Human Rights (Cornell University Press).

Law and Politics Book Review has posted a review from their May issue of Battleground New Jersey: Vanderbilt, Hague, and their Fight for Justice (Rutgers University Press).
"Seldom does the adoption of a new state constitution emerge from a clash of titans; but that is the story told in Nelson Johnson’s examination of the personal and political forces that cleansed New Jersey’s court system of its ancient rules and “Dickensian absurdity” (p. 5). The titans of New Jersey politics during this period were Arthur Vanderbilt—“The warrior lawyer”-- a Republican WASP from Newark; and Frank Hague, --“Celtic chieftain” – an Irish Catholic Democrat from Jersey City. Their political differences and personal hatred of one another would end with the adoption in 1947 of a new state constitution whose centerpiece, a modernized a judiciary, has been a model for judicial reformers to this day."
From H-Net is a review of Death and Other Penalties: Philosophy in a Time of Mass Incarceration edited by Geoffrey Adelsberg, Lisa Guenther, and Scott Zeman (Fordham University Press).

Walter Johnson's River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom (Harvard University Press) has also been reviewed on H-Net this week.

And a third review from H-Net is of Suk-Young Kim's DMZ Crossing: Performing Emotional Citizenship along the Korean Border (Columbia University Press).

Sarah Vowell's Lafayette in the Somewhat United States (Riverhead) is reviewed in the New York Times. 
"And then we have Vowell, who is an ambling historian. In her latest, “Lafayette in the Somewhat United States,” Vowell wanders through the history of the American Revolution and its immediate aftermath, using Lafayette’s involvement in the war as a map, and bringing us all along in her perambulations — with occasional side trips to such modern phenomena as Colonial Williamsburg, the many protesters who have flocked to Lafayette Square across from the White House and Vowell’s curious fascination with, and fascinated curiosity about, Quaker historians. She encounters one of the breed while visiting the Brandywine Valley, where Lafayette once served with distinction even after having been wounded, and Vowell uses the episode to give a shrewd précis of what she’s about generally."
Eric Rauchway's The Money Makers: How Roosevelt and Keynes Ended the Depression, Defeated Fascism, and Secured a Prosperous Peace (Basic Books) is reviewed in the NYT.

More economic history is found in a double review of Chicagonomics: The Evolution of Chicago Free Market Economics by Lanny Ebenstein (St. Martin's Press) and Economic Rules: The Rights and Wrongs of the Dismal Science by Dani Rodrik (Norton & Co.).

These United States: A Nation in the Making, 1890-Present by Glenda Gilmore and Thomas Sugrue (Norton & Co) also gets reviewed by David Kennedy in the NYT.
"“These United States” ably documents the scope of those shifts. But disappointingly, for all its freshness of view and impatience with inherited pieties, it fails to explicate the precise causes that have driven the Republic to its current sorry state. But its rich documentation does compel a chilling reconsideration of both the past and the future: “The 20th-century history of the United States,” the authors suggest, “raises the question of whether the American dream of an expanding middle class was a historical accident.” It doesn’t get much more disturbingly revisionist than that."
Jon Meecham's Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush (Random House) is reviewed by the New York Times. 

New Books in History interviews Kelly Duke Bryant, who discusses her research in Education as Politics: Colonia Schooling and Political Debate in Senegal, 1850s-1914 (University of Wisconsin Press).

It's not even December yet and Best Book Lists are already emerging. Here's one from The Washington Post: "Notable Nonfiction of 2015." Making the list are...

Readers might also be interested in a review of Kevin Carey's The End of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere (Riverhead Books) in the LA Review of Books, and  a review of John Walton's The Legendary Detective: The Private Eye in Fact and Fiction (University of Chicago Press)in The Washington Independent Review of Books.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Weekend Roundup

CJ Roger B. Taney (LC)
  • According to the Frederick (MD) News-Post, Michael Powell, a professor of history at Frederick Community College and an adjunct instructor of history at Hood College, will speak at 7 p.m. this evening to the annual meeting of the Frederick County Landmarks Foundation on A Subtle and Seismic Shift: Taney, the Civil War and Memory.
  • Magna Carta in Singapore.  In the Straits Times and an SSRN post, Simon Chesterman, Dean of the National University of Singapore’s Faculty of Law, takes on The Myth of Magna Carta.  How did a “misogynistic, anti-Semitic, failed peace treaty . . . . come to be regarded as the font of English liberty?”  “Lawyers,” Dean Chesterman answers, especially American ones.  Eugene Kheng Boon Tan and Jack Tsen-Ta Lee, Singapore Management University School of Law, followed with the SSRN post Magna Carta Then and Now: A Symbol of Freedom and Equal Rights for All, Today (2015): 16-17.  And, yes, as you probably surmised, "the rule of law doctrine has been the topic of considerable disagreement and debate” in Singapore.
  • Over at the Faculty Lounge, Eric Muller, North Carolina Law, explains to the mayor of Roanoke, Virginia, why he should be embarrassed to have invoked the internment of Japanese America as a precedent for excluding Syrian refuges. In Slate, Dahlia Lithwick and Laurel Reiman Henneman observe that the mayor's statement shows how “fear makes us stupid and careless.”
  • Here's a plea for storing court records in the cloud that invokes a fire that destroyed many Brooklyn court records
  • Eric Rauchway on FDR, Keynes, and American and monetary policy on HNN.
  • Over on his "Jackson List," John Q. Barrett, St. John's Law, has a very informative post on Jim Donovan, the hero of "Bridge of Spies."  Spoiler alert: although Donovan did handle insurance work, he had also been general counsel of the OSS.
  • On November 17, Ariela Gross, USC Law, spoke on Race Citizenship in the Constitution at Cal Poly campus in honor of Constitution Day–which the university could recognize then because it wasn’t yet in session on September 17.
  • The Organization of American Historians has made available some of the lectures from its Distinguished Lecture series, including this one by Martha Jones (University of Michigan).
Weekend Roundup is a weekly feature compiled by all the Legal History bloggers

Friday, November 20, 2015

Goluboff To Lead UVA Law

Breaking news out of Charlottesville: the University of Virginia has selected legal historian Risa Goluboff to be the next Dean of the School of Law. Here's an excerpt from the local news:
Goluboff, a renowned legal historian specializing in civil rights, is the John Allan Love Professor of Law and Professor of History at UVA and serves as the director of the J.D.-M.A. in history dual-degree program. She also is a faculty affiliate of UVA’s Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies and faculty associate of the Governing America in a Global Era Program at UVA’s Miller Center. Goluboff will be the first woman dean of the School of Law.

“Risa Goluboff’s dedication and vision make her the ideal candidate to move the Law School forward in ways that will benefit both the school and the University,” President Teresa A. Sullivan said. “Risa brings to the deanship exceptionally strong scholarship, leadership ability and passion.”
Read on here.

Congratulations to Professor Goluboff and to UVA Law!

H/t: Sally Gordon

CAL 2:2: Arts and the Aesthetic in Legal History

The on-line journal Critical Analysis of Law has just posted the special issue) Arts and the Aesthetic in Legal History, guest edited by Roy Kreitner, Anat Rosenberg, and Christopher Tomlins.  Also, be on the lookout for 3:1 (spring 2016), a special issue on "The New Ancient Legal History," guest edited by Cliff Ando.  H/t Markus D. Dubber

Art and the History of Environmental Law
David B. Schorr
“An Absurdly Quiet Spot”: The Spatial Justice of WW1 Fraternizations
Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos
The Realism of the Balance Sheet: Value Assessments Between the Debtors Act and The Picture of Dorian Gray
Anat Rosenberg
Styron’s Nat: or, The Metaphysics of Presence
Christopher Tomlins
Too Much Property
Ravit Reichman
The Legal Historian as Detective
Steven Wilf
“I Hear No Things Laid to My Charge”: Aurality in Anne Hutchinson’s Trial Transcript
Nan Goodman
Transitional Justice as a Modern Oedipus: The Emergence of a Right to Truth
Leora Bilsky
Jewish Law, Hasidic Lore, and Hollywood Legend: The Cantor, the Mystic, and the Jurist
Levi Cooper
Order in the Archives: The Victorian Art of Legal History
Christine L. Krueger
Effect and Technique in Legal Aesthetics
Simon Stern

CFP: Symposium on Founding Moments in Constitutionalism

[Via H-Law, we have the call for a “Symposium on Founding Moments in Constitutionalism,” Yale Law School, April 15-16, 2016.]

This Symposium is convened by Richard Albert (Boston College/Yale Law School) and Menaka Guruswamy (Yale Law School).

Founding moments are landmark events that break ties with the ancien regime and lay the foundation for the establishment of modern states. Founding moments shape national law, influence surrounding countries, establish future power structures and legitimize certain political institutions within the country.

But what exactly is a founding moment? When do we know the “founding” process is over and when do we know it is ongoing? Is it possible to have a founding moment without a new constitution? It is not always easy to identify and define founding moments. The establishment of a new constitutional identity is almost never encompassed in one event—and may span decades in the form of anti-colonial movements, revolutions, civil wars, legitimation crises, power struggles and consolidation processes.

Founding moments sometimes endow certain elements in society—such as revolutionary parties or political leaders—with political legitimacy. A key line of inquiry therefore concerns the relationship between founding moments and “founding figures,” and the extent to which the future of a nation should be guided by the intentions of those who orchestrated these founding moments.

Founding moments moreover are not always a single moment. How does a revolution relate to and influence the promulgation of the constitution? How does the promulgation of the constitution trigger crises in the consolidation process? Is there some danger to the revolutionary fervor being entrenched in words, symbolism and structures in a country’s written constitution?

We might also consider the phenomenon of unfinished foundings, which occur when revolutionary groups overthrow a dictator but not the entire “old guard.” To what extent is an event a founding moment if it is a partial or an unfinished revolution? How do such unfinished foundations influence the identity of the country?

Alexander Herzen described revolutions and national foundings as “pregnant widows”:
The death of contemporary forms of social organization should gladden rather than oppress the soul. But what’s frightening is that the departing world leaves not an heir but a pregnant widow. Between the death of one and the birth of the other much time will go by, a long night of chaos and desolation will have to pass.

Some though not all founding moments occur at tumultuous times in a country’s history. They are bloody revolutions, fierce anti-colonial struggles and decades-long political upheavals. Countries undergoing founding moments—“pregnant widows” in Herzens words—should not be studied only as historical events but also as modern realities that influence and indeed often drive our understanding of law. From Egypt, Libya, Iraq to Nepal, countries around the world are undergoing the birth pangs of founding, constitution and reconstitution—they are waging civil wars, mounting revolutions and writing constitutions.

This conference on founding moments in constitutionalism is an opportunity to address this phenomenon and how it relates to our understanding of law.

[Details after the jump.]

Miller on the Doctrine of Discovery

Robert J. Miller, Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, has posted The Doctrine of Discovery, Manifest Destiny, and American Indians, which appears in Why You Can't Teach United States History Without American Indians (University of North Carolina Press, 2015):
The Doctrine of Discovery is the modern name for the international law principle that European nations developed and then used to claim most of the non-European world. The Doctrine was applied in North America by England, France, Spain, Holland, and Russia. The United States adopted this legal principle and applied it to the Indian Nations. This book chapter explains the elements, or factors, that make up this international law and argues that the Doctrine of Discovery became American Manifest Destiny and was used, and is still being used today, to justify the removal of Indian Nations and peoples, and their subjugation by the United States.

Rosenberg on the History of Genres in Law and Literature

Anat Rosenberg, Interdisciplinary Center Herzliyah-Radzyner School of Law, has posted The History of Genres: Reaching for Reality in Law and Literature, which appeared in Law & Social Inquiry 39 (2014): 1057-79:
Genres are historical formations; their ability to generate knowledge depends on their interrelationships within a culture. Since law, too, can be viewed as a genre, studies of specific historical relationalities between law and other genres are necessary for law’s own history and theory. This essay discusses differentiations between Victorian law and literature, starting out from the recent publication of Ayelet Ben-Yishai’s Common Precedents: The Presentness of the Past in Victorian Law and Fiction (2013), which reveals some of that history. I examine two points: differentiations in legal and literary approaches to probabilistic knowledge, and differentiations in the author functions in law and literature. These differentiations bear multiple implications. I discuss implications for evidence-law debates about probabilistic evidence, for contract-law debates about the centrality of autonomy and self-authorship, and for understandings of legal reasoning itself — the elusive notion of “thinking like a lawyer.”

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Kaye Wins Barzun Prize for "A History of Balance"

[We have the following announcement.]

The American Philosophical Society's 2015 Jacques Barzun Prize in Cultural History has been awarded to Joel Kaye, professor of history at Barnard College, in recognition of his book A History of Balance 1250-1375 (Cambridge University Press, 2014). The award presentation took place at the Society's Autumn General Meeting on November 13, 2015.

Joel Kaye's A History of Balance explores a peculiarly challenging subject: a large idea that seems to be everywhere but is not quite an idea. His title itself is a paradox or a sort of wager. How does one write the history of 'an unworded feeling' for how objects and spaces are or ought to be arranged, of an 'unworded sense' beneath the words that point to it or conceal it? The answer is simple but his practice is complex and subtle. He tracks the manifestations of the sense of balance through the thinking of a century and a quarter in four distinct areas: economics, medicine, political theory and natural philosophy. The contrasts among these areas are important but so are the confluences. Dr. Kaye finds in all of them an extraordinary range of new premises and assumptions: relation replaces hierarchy; mathematics moves its basis from arithmetic to geometry; estimation, approximation and probability become acceptable within the realm of knowledge; difference and diversity acquire a positive value. 'Each supports each', he says of his 'models of balance', 'each comes back to each'. This is how something that was 'never an idea' can belong so completely to the history of ideas.

The richness and care of Joel Kaye's attention to the work of, among others, Galen, Marsilius of Padua and Nicole Oreme are exemplary. Even when the alertness to balance in his sense begins to fade, when at the end of the fourteenth century 'the new model of equilibrium was imagined and evoked less and less by thinkers to explore the workings of either nature or society', he offers persuasive, interlocking explanations but proposes no final, single cause. He does suggest, though, that the 'retreat' of the model is 'as deep and wide-ranging' in its effects as its 'emergence' had been, and he invites us to think of parallel occasions in other times and places.

Carter on the 13th Amendment as an Underenforced Constitutional Norm

William M. Carter Jr., University of Pittsburgh School of Law, has posted The Thirteenth Amendment and Constitutional Change, which appeared in the New York University Review of Law & Social Change 38 (2014): 583-93:
This article builds upon remarks the author originally delivered at the Nineteenth Annual Derrick Bell Lecture on Race in American Society at NYU Law in November of 2014. The Article describes the history and purpose of the Thirteenth Amendment’s proscription of the badges and incidents of slavery and argues that an understanding of the Amendment's context and its Framers' intent can provide the basis for a more progressive vision for advancing civil rights. The Article discusses how the Thirteenth Amendment could prove to be more effective in addressing persisting forms of inequality that have escaped the reach of the Equal Protection Clause and other constitutional remedies. Finally, the article discusses and analyzes Thirteenth Amendment jurisprudence and legislation and, drawing upon the work of Professor Bell, argues that the Thirteenth Amendment remains an under-enforced constitutional norm in part due to a lack of perceived interest convergence.
H/t: Legal Theory Blog

The ABA/FJC Summer Institute for Teachers

[We have the following announcement from our friends at the Federal Judicial History Office of the Federal Judicial Center.]

The American Bar Association and the Federal Judicial Center will host the 11th Annual Summer Institute for Teachers from June 19th to June 24th in Washington, D.C. Designed especially for teachers of U.S. History, Government, Civics, and Law, the Federal Trials and Great Debates Summer Institute deepens participants’ knowledge of the federal judiciary and of the role the federal courts have played in key public controversies that have defined our constitutional and other legal rights. Participants will work closely throughout the week-long Institute with leading historians, federal judges, and curriculum consultants, focusing on three landmark federal trials using curriculum developed by the Federal Judicial Center. The cases that participants will study at the 2016 Institute are the Debs Case, the Trial of Susan B. Anthony, and the Rosenberg Trial.

Applications are currently being accepted. Here is the link to the ABA site for more information and to submit an application.  Participation will be limited to 20 teachers. Travel, lodging, and meal expenses will be reimbursed to Institute participants according to U.S. government per diem rates.  Applications must be postmarked by March 2, 2016.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Rabban on Pound's European Influences

Roscoe Pound (credit)
David M. Rabban, University of Texas School of Law, has posted Pound's Sociological Jurisprudence: European Roots and American Applications, which appeared in Le "moment 1900": Critique sociale et critique sociologique du droit en Europe et aux Etats-Unis (Editions Pantheon Assas (Paris 2015):    
Roscoe Pound, widely viewed by his contemporaries and subsequent scholars as the most important American legal thinker during the first decades of the twentieth century, was by far the leading proponent of the “critique social et critique sociologique du droit aux Etats-Unis.” This article stresses the extent to which Pound relied on German and French legal scholars in developing what he called “sociological jurisprudence.” It then examines how Pound applied its central themes to propose legal reforms designed to address the social and economic problems of a society transformed by urbanization and corporate capitalism. It closes by examining Pound’s legacy.

CFP: Courts and Judicial Procedure in Early Islamic Law

[We have the following call for papers.]

Courts and Judicial Procedure in Early Islamic Law: A Workshop at Harvard Law School
6 May 2016

Much attention has long been accorded to substantive rulings in early Islamic contexts, and recent work has highlighted social histories surrounding courts. But few of those studies place particular emphasis on judicial procedure. Answers to questions of procedure are essential for rounding out the picture of any legal system beyond the four corners of the pages framing the law in the books or the unbounded conception of law as it affects society. Procedure informs both inquiries.

By bringing together scholars of Islamic law from different periods, this conference seeks to uncover the inner workings of courts and the administration of justice in medieval Islamic lands, 700-1250 AD. Paper presenters are expected to provide papers ready for publication in an edited volume that asks specific questions with respect to one to three cases or controversies. The resulting book will draw on interdisciplinary methods of legal history scholarship to produce a collected account of Islamic practices of judicial procedure in early Islamic societies, east and west.

Some questions for consideration include the following: How is the administration of justice affected by considerations like access to courts, social status, political context, and prosecutorial discretion? Reflexively, how do those considerations affect how laws are made, modified, and play out in courts? In addition, other more specific topics of focus may include:
- sources and methods of studying early Islamic courts and judicial procedure
- judicial training; use of judicial manuals
- references to substantive law in judicial decision-making
- references to legal maxims in judicial decision-making; legal maxims as procedural default rules
- witnesses and other forms of evidence, burdens of proof
- extralegal considerations, equity
- court organization: and other personnel, appeals
- court jurisdiction: distinctions and overlaps between “qa.i courts” and other venues
- relationship between judges, jurists, other experts
- judicial independence and pay; relationship between judges and government officials
Other suggestions for topics and areas of specific focus are welcome.

Submissions and Due Dates.  Proposals are due December 15, 2015. They should consist of a 1-page abstract (up to 750 words and a CV). Papers from accepted proposals will be due March 1, 2016. These papers, which are to be the first drafts of the chapter for the conference edited volume, will be edited for content and style and returned within two weeks. Near-final drafts will be due April 15, 2016. Following the conference, there will be a final opportunity for minor revisions and edits to the paper in preparation for publication, on a schedule to be determined.

To submit your abstract, please fill out the form and upload your documents via the online system [here.]

Sponsored by the Islamic Legal Studies Program, Harvard Law School, and SHARIAsource (with support from the Luce and MacArthur Foundations).

Mayeri on Obergefell and the Lessons of Second-Wave Feminism

Serena Mayeri, University of Pennsylvania Law School, has posted Marriage (In)Equality and the Historical Legacies of Feminism, which appears in the California Law Review Circuit 6 (2015): 126-36t:    
In this essay, I measure the majority’s opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges against two legacies of second-wave feminist legal advocacy: the largely successful campaign to make civil marriage formally gender-neutral; and the lesser-known struggle against laws and practices that penalized women who lived their lives outside of marriage. Obergefell obliquely acknowledges marriage equality’s debt to the first legacy without explicitly adopting sex equality arguments against same-sex marriage bans. The legacy of feminist campaigns for nonmarital equality, by contrast, is absent from Obergefell’s reasoning and belied by rhetoric that both glorifies marriage and implicitly disparages nonmarriage. Even so, the history of transformational change invoked in Obergefell gives us reason to hope that marriage’s privileged legal status may not be impervious to challenge.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

CFP: British Crime Historians Symposium

[We havee the following call for papers.]

British Crime Historians Symposium 5
University of Edinburgh, October 7-8, 2016

The British Crime Historians Symposium meets every two years as a forum for discussion, debate and the presentation of research for all aspects of the history of crime, law, justice, policing, punishment and social regulation. Previous events (organised by the British Crime Historians Network) have taken place in Leeds, Sheffield, Milton Keynes (Open University) and Liverpool.

Our initial starting point, as in former years, is the British Isles and its former colonies. However we particularly encourage approaches that open up and develop comparative and transnational frameworks across period and place.

This year’s conference particularly welcomes proposals that engage with the following:
Interdisciplinary perspectives
Comparative, international and transnational histories
The relationship between past and present

Confirmed keynote speakers are: Professor David Garland (New York University) and Dr Julia Laite (Birkbeck, University of London)

We welcome proposals for individual papers as well as panels, which should be emailed as an attached Word document to by 31 March 2016.

Each speaker whose proposal for a paper is accepted will be asked to speak for 20 minutes (to allow further time for questions and discussion). A panel should consist of three papers which together address an over-arching theme or topic. We welcome proposals from scholars at all stages of their career including postgraduate students, and we encourage panel organisers to reflect this in any panel proposals.

For each individual paper proposed please include: title of paper; name, institutional affiliation (if any) and email address of speaker; abstract of 250 words.

Proposals for panels should also include: name, institutional affiliation (if any) and email address of the panel organiser; title of panel; summary of aims of panel (150 words); name of panel chair if known (if not included in the proposal a chair will be allocated by the conference committee); and full details of all papers and speakers (as for individual papers above).

The Conference Committee is: Chloe Kennedy (School of Law, University of Edinburgh); Louise Jackson, David Silkenat and Rian Sutton (School of History Classics & Archaeology, University of Edinburgh). Any queries should be addressed to:

Perl-Rosenthal, "Citizen Sailors: Becoming American in the Age of Revolution"

New from Harvard University Press: Citizen Sailors: Becoming American in the Age of Revolution (October 2015), Nathan Perl-Rosenthal (University of Southern California). From the Press:
In the decades after the United States formally declared its independence in 1776, Americans struggled to gain recognition of their new republic and their rights as citizens. None had to fight harder than the nation’s seamen, whose labor took them far from home and deep into the Atlantic world. Citizen Sailors tells the story of how their efforts to become American at sea in the midst of war and revolution created the first national, racially inclusive model of United States citizenship.
Nathan Perl-Rosenthal immerses us in sailors’ pursuit of safe passage through the ocean world during the turbulent age of revolution. Challenged by British press-gangs and French privateersmen, who considered them Britons and rejected their citizenship claims, American seamen demanded that the U.S. government take action to protect them. In response, federal leaders created a system of national identification documents for sailors and issued them to tens of thousands of mariners of all races—nearly a century before such credentials came into wider use.
Citizenship for American sailors was strikingly ahead of its time: it marked the federal government’s most extensive foray into defining the boundaries of national belonging until the Civil War era, and the government’s most explicit recognition of black Americans’ equal membership as well. This remarkable system succeeded in safeguarding seafarers, but it fell victim to rising racism and nativism after 1815. Not until the twentieth century would the United States again embrace such an inclusive vision of American nationhood.
A few blurbs:
Citizen Sailors is the first book to explore how sailors were crucial to definitions of U.S. citizenship during and after the War for Independence because of their central role in national politics and because of the peculiar problems in ascertaining their nationality. Engagingly written and marshaling terrific new evidence, this important book will alter our understanding of the American Revolution, the Atlantic world, and the dynamics of national identity.—Joyce E. Chaplin

With erudition and eloquence, Citizen Sailors tells the remarkable story of the federal government’s efforts to protect the welfare of seafaring Americans, doing so without regard to region, class or, surprisingly, race. Showcasing maritime history at its best, the result is a tour de force that will appeal to general readers and specialists alike.—Eliga Gould
More information is available here.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Grisinger reviews Cuellar, "Administrative War"

Writing for JOTWELL's legal history section, Joanna Grisinger (Northwestern University) has posted an admiring review of "Administrative War," by the honorable Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar (California Supreme Court/Stanford Law School). The article appeared in volume 82 of the George Washington Law Review (2014). Here's a taste of Grisinger's review:
Cuéllar describes how pre-World War II agencies were hamstrung by limited powers and limited resources, limits which soon became impractical. World War II changed the political and economic context in which agencies operated, opening the door to legal changes that strengthened the agencies. Mobilization for war required greater administrative capacity, which in turn required more money to pay for agency operations. In response, federal courts expanded agencies’ subpoena powers, which markedly improved agencies’ ability to investigate. Courts also moved from a formalist understanding of the non-delegation doctrine (Schechter) to a functionalist one (Yakus) that legitimated broad congressional delegations of authority to agencies. And Congress enabled mass taxation to pay for expanded administration. (Funding is key to any discussion of administrative capacity; a chart in Cuéllar’s appendix showing the increase in federal employees during the war make this clear.) By giving agencies the tools they needed to endure, Cuéllar argues, wartime actors embedded administrative governance in American political life.
Also recently spotlighted in JOTWELL: Nicholas Bagley's "Medicine as a Public Calling," which encourages lawyers and policymakers to consider historical paths and precedents as they make sense of the world that the Affordable Care Act has wrought. 

Marcus to Serve as General Editor of Holmes Devise

Maeva Marcus (GW)
As was heralded at the annual luncheon of the American Society for Legal History, Maeva Marcus has agreed to serve as general editor of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise History of the United States Supreme Court.  From the Library of Congress’s press release:
The Library of Congress and the Permanent Committee of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise announce the appointment of Maeva Marcus as the general editor of the "Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise History of the Supreme Court of the United States." Marcus, a constitutional scholar with special expertise in the history of the United States Supreme Court, is the third person to serve as editor in the publication’s 60-year history.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sunday Book Roundup

This week The New Rambler has a review of Ari Berman's Give Us the Ballot (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux).
"In his new book, Give Us the Ballot, journalist Ari Berman tells the story of these stirring moments, and tells it well. But unlike many civil rights chronicles, his account begins rather than ends in the 1960s. Via a series of vivid anecdotes, he describes the tumultuous history of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) from its enactment all the way to the present day. It’s an important and absorbing tale—though one that could have been narrated with a bit less certainty and a bit more nuance."
There's lots on H-Net, including a review of Lynched: The Victims of Southern Mob Violence by Amy Kate Bailey and Stewart E. Tolnay (UNC Press).

There's also a review of Origins of the National Security State and the Legacy of Harry S. Truman edited by Mary Ann Heiss and Michael J. Hogan (Truman State University).

Indian Ocean Slavery in the Age of Abolition edited by Robert Harms, Bernard K. Freeman, and David W. Blight (Yale University Press) is reviewed on H-Net too.

The New Republic has a review of The Con Men: Hustling in New York City by Terry Williams and Trevor B. Milton (Columbia University Press).
"Terry Williams and Trevor B. Milton don’t bother to pretend not to be enchanted by their subjects. Con Men is a present-day investigation into some people who make a living against or around the law. It’s a PG-13 version that excludes crimes of violence, which are against the code, and only touches briefly on sex work. What’s left are hustles: Selling fake or stolen goods, dice and numbers games, quick confidence tricks, hawking water bottles and candy. Most of these play on the mark or customer’s combination of greed and their desire to be entertained. Unlike a mugging, they require some participation."
And, New Books has a couple new interviews too. There is an interview with Michael L. Berg discussing his Peacemakers: The Iroquois, the United States, and the Treaty of Canandaigua, 1794 (Oxford University Press). Mario T. Garcia is also interviewed about his book, The Chicano Generation: Testimonies of the Movement (University of California Press).

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Weekend Roundup

  • The American Society for Legal History's illustrated report of its annual meeting is now up on the ASLH website.  
  • Via Duke Today, a report on “the three-day symposium ‘Global Slaveries/Impossible Freedoms,’ celebrating the legacies of John Hope Franklin.”
  • We’re afraid there’s no ungated draft of the actual paper, but we note anyway that former guest blogger Mitra J. Sharafi, University of Wisconsin Law School, has posted the abstract for her essay South Asian Legal History, which appears in Annual Review of Law and Social Science 11 (2015): 309-36.
  • Campbell Law School dedicated the exhibit First Ladies of the North Carolina Judiciary, which contains rare archival and photographic exhibits, and chronicles the first N.C. women to break a number of judicial barriers, starting with Chief Justice Susie Sharp’s 1949 appointment as a superior court judge.” At right, former N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Sarah Parker (and Micah 6:8). 
Weekend Roundup is a weekly feature compiled by all the Legal History bloggers.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Primus on Bilder on "Madison's Hand"

Richard Primus has now added to Heather Gerken's comment on Mary Bilder's Madison's Hand. over at Balkinization on the impact or lack thereof her findings for originalists.

A Bentham MS at GULC Special Collections

[We reproduce the following from News and Reports of the Edward Bennett Williams Law Library at the Georgetown University Law Center for November 2015.]

Special Collections has acquired a unique manuscript glimpse into the mental world of Jeremy Bentham, the founder of utilitarian political thought and Anglo-American codification efforts. 

When Bentham first proposed his universal legal code, which he termed the Pannomiom, his goal was a simplified legal code that could be readily understood by everyone without the need to consult a lawyer. Such simplification apparently eluded even Bentham's talents and the Pannomiom was never completed. All that remains are several thousand manuscript leaves outlining various subjects and chapters, most of which are held by University College London which is crowdsourcing transcriptions. Special Collections' Pannomial fragment was apparently a presentation copy given to an unknown person at the opening of UCL in 1836. It is an outline in Bentham's hand for "Ch. 7. States of the mind with respect to delinquency," and includes his thoughts on distinguishing intellectual faculty from volitional faculty for purposes of determining criminal liability. 

This intriguing document is available online through Digital Georgetown. For access to the actual document, please contact Erin Kidwell, Curator of Legal History Collections (202-662-9149) or Hannah Miller-Kim, Special Collections Librarian (202-661-6602); or email us at

"Capital as a Constitutional Issue": An ICH Seminar

[Our friends at the Institute for Constitutional History have sent us word of another of its seminars.]

The Institute for Constitutional History is pleased to announce another seminar for advanced graduate students and junior faculty: Capital as a Constitutional Issue: Land and Money, 1776-1900.

Christine Desan is the Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and the author of a new book Making Money:  Coin, Currency, and the Coming of Capitalism (Oxford University Press, 2014) that seeks to decode the monetary architecture of capitalism.  She is co-founder of Harvard's Program on the Study of Capitalism, an interdisciplinary project that brings together classes, resources, research funds, and advising on that subject and has taught the Program's anchoring research seminar, the Workshop on the Political Economy of Modern Capitalism, with Professor Sven Beckert (History, Harvard University) since 2005.  Desan's research explores money as a legal and political project.  See, e.g., "Beyond Commodification: Contract and the Credit-Based World of Modern Capitalism," in Transformation of American Law II: Essays for Morton Horwitz (2010).   Earlier work focused on the adjudicative power of legislatures and sovereign immunity.  Desan is on the Board of the Institute for Global Law and Policy and is an editor of the journal Eighteenth Century Studies.  This year (2015-2016), she is a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

Elizabeth Blackmar is a Professor of History at Columbia University.  Her scholarship focuses on the history of property relations in the U.S. Her books include Manhattan for Rent, 1785-1850 and The Park and the People: A History of Central Park, co-authored with Roy Rosenzweig. She has published articles on the history of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), the tropes of the "free rider" and "tragedy of commons" in contemporary economic and legal discourse, and the history of family trusts in the 19th century.  She is currently working on a book on the history of land and capital from the colonial era to the present.

This seminar explores a category, capital, that is often treated as a given - wealth accumulated or money amassed and seamlessly reinvested. But the shape and character of capital have been at the center of constitutional debate throughout American history.  We focus in particular on land and money, critical to state formation and capitalist development in the U.S. from the Revolutionary era to the Gilded Age.  The contests to define or control each expose competing sovereignties (native American, imperial, settler; state and federal) before and long after ratification of the Constitution.  Those contests have also informed the development of political ideologies, party formation, and modes of constitutional interpretation, as well as the architecture of governmental authority.

The seminar will examine classic Constitutional cases (e.g. Chisholm v. Georgia, McCulloch v. Maryland, Fletcher v. Peck, cases on state bills of credit in the Jacksonian era, the Legal Tender cases, and Pollock v. Farmers' Loan and Trust Co.) in relation to underlying political and economic debates over the meaning of territorial and jurisdictional sovereignty; over the powers of Congress, the Presidency and state legislatures to govern money and banking; and over the legitimacy of state actions to set the terms for the accumulation and/or redistribution of wealth.

Friday afternoons, 1:00-4:00 p.m., March 18, April 1, 15, 29.  The seminar will meet at the New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York City.

The seminar is designed for graduate students and junior faculty in history, political science, law, and related disciplines.  All participants will be expected to complete the assigned readings and participate in seminar discussions.  Although the Institute cannot offer academic credit directly for the seminar, students may be able to earn graduate credit through their home departments by completing an independent research project in conjunction with the seminar.  Please consult with your advisor and/or director of graduate studies about these possibilities.  Space is limited, so applicants should send a copy of their c.v. and a short statement on how this seminar will be useful to them in their research, teaching, or professional development.  Materials will be accepted only by email at until January 15, 2016.  Successful applicants will be notified soon thereafter.  For further information, please contact Maeva Marcus at (202) 994-6562 or send an email to

There is no tuition or other charge for this seminar, though participants will be expected to acquire the assigned books on their own.

The Institute for Constitutional History (ICH) is the nation's premier institute dedicated to ensuring that future generations of Americans understand the substance and historical development of the U.S. Constitution. Located at the New York Historical Society and the George Washington University Law School, the Institute is co-sponsored by the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, and the American Political Science Association. The Association of American Law Schools is a cooperating entity. ICH prepares junior scholars and college instructors to convey to their readers and students the important role the Constitution has played in shaping American society. ICH also provides a national forum for the preparation and dissemination of humanistic, interdisciplinary scholarship on American constitutional history.