Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Workshop on Modern East Asian Law in Global Perspective

[We have the following Call for Papers.  We understand that the workshop is funded by the American Society for Legal History as well as the Weatherhead East Asian Institute and that the conference organizers are especially interested in receiving papers from advanced graduate students and junior scholars in the field.]

The Weatherhead East Asia Institution at Columbia University invites early-career scholars to
submit proposals for an international workshop on modern East Asian legal history, to be held
on April 15, 2017.   

Recent scholarship has reinvigorated the study of legal history, expanding the set of concerns
beyond their traditional conceptual, geographic and methodological boundaries. For students of
East Asia, the prospects this presents are exciting. What to do with the modifier “modern” in
modern law has always been a thorny issue in our field. But as we have come to see familiar
Western legal concepts as vitally conditioned by globalization, as opposed to distillates of a
universally valid modernity, there are new opportunities to appraise the nature and significance
of the transformation of East Asian legal systems in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. With
this workshop, we will provide a venue for current graduate students, postdoctoral scholars and
new faculty to come together to discuss the theoretical and historiographic issues at stake.

The overarching goal is to consider how East Asia fits into an emerging global history of modern
law. Where is there common ground? Where are the possibilities to speak to scholars who
specialize in other regions the greatest? And where does a global perspective need to give way to
more circumscribed regional and national legal histories? These questions will be brought to bear
as participants engage with each other’s papers and research, guided by established historians
and legal scholars including Madeline Zelin, Andrew Sartori, Arnulf Becker Lorca, and Taisu

The day will consist of two panels of presentations, followed by a breakout session at the end.
Papers will be pre-circulated, and participants are expected to come to the workshop having read
all papers and ready with questions and comments. Presenters will give a 15-minute introduction
and synthesis of their work. Each panel will be followed by faculty comments and discussion.
Interested scholars should send a one-page proposal and a CV to globalealaw@gmail.com by
February 10, 2017. Acceptance notices will be issued by February 20. Selected presenters are
asked to send completed papers to the conference committee by March 19 for pre-circulation.
Limited funding is available for conference participants. Please indicate your need at the time of
application and include where you are traveling from and whether you require lodging.   

For all other inquiries, please contact globalealaw@gmail.com.

Conference Organizers: Colin Jones, Idriss Fofana and Tristan Brown

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