Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Empires of Vice: A First Book with Multiple Audiences
Empires of Vice: For Those Interested in Opium and Archives
Empires of Vice: On Doing a Written Book Interview via Email
Empires of Vice: For Those Interested in the State
Empires of Vice: On Doing a Spoken Book Interview through Zoom, Podcasts
Empires of Vice: For Those Interested in Southeast Asia and Empire
Thank you, Professor Kim!
|Popular depiction of the Second Opium War|
Le Charivari 1859, by Honoré-Victorin Daumier
Currently, 9 out of 10 ASEAN member states impose the death penalty for non-violent drug crimes, accounting for nearly a third of the world's countries that retain capital punishment. Major 21st century “drug wars”—including in Thailand (2003), the Philippines (2016-), Indonesia (2017-)—have killed hundreds of thousands of people and violate the human rights of more. And Southeast Asia hosts the “Golden Triangle” region, the world’s second largest illicit poppy cultivation area. Southeast Asia’s vexed landscape as such is no accident. The region’s illicit drug economies and punitive states represent the stubborn legacies of opium-entangled European imperialism since the 19th century.
What are practical lessons to be drawn from Southeast Asia's past? For one, it helps explain why zero-tolerance approaches to drug control will not work. Most countries with drug problems today have complex histories of state building tied to drug revenue and imperialism. Such legacies cannot be totally eradicated. Second, for policy makers interested in solving transnational problems, Empires of Vice sheds light on why great moral transformations in state behavior happen slowly and incrementally: not only because knowledge and norms about what defines “good” in the world change slowly, but also because pragmatic approaches for acting according to new moral standards are difficult to design. I elaborate on these and additional policy implications in this short essay for The Ambassador’s Brief.
Monday, June 29, 2020
What—and who—is a demagogue? How did America’s Founders envision the presidency? What should a constitutional democracy look like—and how can it be fixed when it appears to be broken?Jack Goldsmith interviews Posner about the book on the Lawfare podcast. Also, this.
Something is definitely wrong with Donald Trump’s presidency, but what exactly? The extraordinary negative reaction to Trump’s election—by conservative intellectuals, liberals, Democrats, and global leaders alike—goes beyond ordinary partisan and policy disagreements. It reflects genuine fear about the vitality of our constitutional system. The Founders, reaching back to classical precedents, feared that their experiment in mass self-government could produce a demagogue: a charismatic ruler who would gain and hold on to power by manipulating the public rather than by advancing the public good.
President Trump, who has played to the mob and attacked institutions from the judiciary to the press, appears to embody these ideas. How can we move past his rhetoric and maintain faith in our great nation?
In The Demagogue’s Playbook, acclaimed legal scholar Eric A. Posner offers a blueprint for how America can prevent the rise of another demagogue and protect the features of a democracy that help it thrive—and restore national greatness, for one and all.
Sunday, June 28, 2020
The University of Vienna (20 faculties and centres, 178 fields of study, approx. 9.800 members of staff, about 90.000 students) seeks to fill the position from 01.10.2020 of a University Assistant (post doc) at the Department of Legal and Constitutional History to 30.09.2026. (Reference number: 10943.)
The Institute for Legal and Constitutional History conducts research and teaches on all parts of European legal history, with a focus on Austria. A post-doc position, limited to 6 years is announced herewith. It is desirable that the applicant writes a habilitation thesis on legal history within this time. Therefore, relevant previous experience and publications should already be available and be presented when applying. The habilitation project should be presented in a short synopsis.
Duration of employment: 6 year/s. Extent of Employment: 40 hours/week. Job grading in accordance with collective bargaining agreement: §48 VwGr. B1 lit. b (postdoc) with relevant work experience determining the assignment to a particular salary grade.
Job Description: Active participation in research, teaching and administration. This involves - Developing and strengthening the independent research profile - Involvement in research projects / research studies - International publications and presentations - Responsibility for project applications and the acquisition of third-party funding - Preparing / writing a (publication-ready) habilitation thesis - Independent teaching of courses as defined by the collective agreement - Supervision of students - Participation in evaluation measures and quality assurance - Involvement in the department administration as well as in teaching and research administration. [More]
Saturday, June 27, 2020
|Thomas Ruffin, 1859 (LC)|
- From 2018, Eric L. Muller, UNC School of Law, and Sally Greene, on the portrait of Thomas Ruffin at the North Carolina Supreme Court, from the Raleigh News & Observer (text and video).
- ICYMI: Frank Snowden and Nancy Bristow on how pandemic shape history (PBS NewsHour). Stephanie McCurry on the antidemocratic Confederacy (The Atlantic). George Nash reviews Bernard Bailyn's Illuminating History (Law and Liberty). The Southern Poverty Law Center on the Tulsa Massacre of 1921.
- Update: Laurence Tribe reflects on his life and career. (Harvard Gazette)
Friday, June 26, 2020
We have the following announcement:
Call for Applications for Early Career Cromwell Research Fellowships-- Karen Tani
The William Nelson Cromwell Foundation will make available a number of $5,000 fellowship awards to support research and writing in American legal history by early-career scholars. Early career generally includes those researching or writing a PhD dissertation (or equivalent project) and recent recipients of a graduate degree working on their first major monograph or research project. The Committee for Research Fellowships and Awards of the American Society for Legal History reviews the applications and makes recommendations to the Foundation. Applications are due by July , 2020.
Complete guidelines and instructions regarding how to apply for such fellowships are located on the website of the American Society of Legal History [here].
Thursday, June 25, 2020
Between the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 and the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914, the question of what to do about “trusts” dominated American political life. Before 1889, the dominant form of amalgamating competing businesses was the trust, because corporations could not hold shares in other corporations, and instead the shareholders would exchange their shares for trust certificates. But in 1889 New Jersey (the “traitor state”, according to muckraking journalist Lincoln Steffens) changed its corporate law to allow for holding company structures, setting of a great wave of amalgamations in areas like oil, tobacco, sugar and steel.
Lincoln Steffens (NYPL)
This paper will focus on one attempt to address the “trust problem” by means other than the Sherman Act (which faced some resistance in the courts, as the government lost the E.C. Knight case in the Supreme Court in 1895 and barely won the Northern Securities case in 1905). This was the corporate tax act of 1909, which as will be seen below, was primarily intended as an antitrust measure. However, after the enactment of the Clayton Act and the creation of the FTC in 1914, the corporate tax was less needed as an antitrust measure, and between 1919 and 1928 its antitrust features were largely eliminated.
William Howard Taft was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1921 through 1930. This paper, excerpted from the forthcoming Volume X of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise History of the Supreme Court of the United States, chronicles and evaluates the incomparable contributions of Taft during the period. The paper is forthcoming in the Michigan State Law Review.–Dan Ernst
Taft played three roles on the Court during the 1920s. He was a Justice, a Chief Justice, and a prodigious judicial reformer. The paper evaluates his performance in Taft’s contributions to each of these roles, which Taft occupied with exceptional vigor and competence. The paper gives special attention to Taft’s creation of a new Supreme Court building; to Taft’s influence on the selection of lower court federal judges; to Taft’s establishment of the Judicial Conference of Senior Circuit Judges, which fundamentally altered the structure of the federal judiciary; and to Taft’s inspired advocacy for the Act of February 13, 1925, which reconfigured the Supreme Court from a simple tribunal of last resort into a manager of the system of federal law.
William Howard Taft, CJ (LC)
As a former President, Taft imagined the Chief Justice as the supervisor of the Judicial Branch, in much the same way as the President was the supervisor of the Executive Branch. In so doing, Taft profoundly altered the office of the Chief Justice. The paper discusses the tensions implicit in Taft’s efforts to import into the American constitutional order an office approximating an English Lord Chancellor, responsible for the administration of justice.
Wednesday, June 24, 2020
“One Empire, Many Colonies, Similar or Different Histories?”
39th Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society, Auckland, 9th-12th December 2020
Abstracts are invited from scholars bringing historical perspective on law who wish to gather at The University of Auckland and AUT University - there to listen to and discuss papers and panels on aspects of law in history. Well, that was the original plan, but since the impact of COVID-19, travel restrictions and university funding deficits, we now also seek expressions of interest from those who may wish to present a paper to a dual format conference or virtual-only conference if either possibility turns out to be feasible.
The 2020 theme invites a comparative lens on British imperial and colonial histories. Other papers with an historical perspective on law might include work that positions law in a specific temporal frame; deals with histories of law, lawmaking, and legal ideas; or has a focus on legal institutions and their personnel. Proposals from postgraduate and early career researchers are welcome.
Individual paper proposals for a 20 minute presentation must include an abstract (no more than 300 words) and a biographical statement (no more than 100 words). Panel proposals by 3 or 4 speakers should include the above, plus a panel title and brief rationale for the panel as a whole (no more than 300 words). All abstracts must be submitted to Karen Fairweather: email@example.com by 31 July 2020.
The Organising Committee intends to notify all those whose abstracts have been accepted for the programme by the end of August 2020. All presenters must be current financial members of the Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society, or must pay a subscription for the 2020 year.
Graduate students are invited to apply for Kercher Scholarships to assist them in attending the conference. Please apply to Katherine Sanders: firstname.lastname@example.org by 31 August. Graduate attendees may also wish to enter for the Forbes Society Prize.
The Society's peer-reviewed journal law&history will consider submissions from those who present papers at the conference. A conference website with information on registration costs, accommodation options, etc will be established in due course. Our keynote speakers will include Dame Sian Elias (Retired NZ Chief Justice), Joshua Getzler (Oxford) and Miranda Johnson (Sydney, but soon to be at Otago).
Further information about the conference may be gleaned from David Williams: email@example.com or from [here].
The American Society for Legal History has created a Google Group Discussion, originally (as its title, Legal History Records Discussion Group, suggests) to promote exchange about digitized legal history sources but subsequently widened to include discussion of online teaching. The recently updated Legal History on the Web, hosted by Duke University, includes a portal to Primary Source Databases/Web Archives, but I do not know of a legal-history-specific wiki, where we might make available to each other, say, short lectures to use as asynchronous components in our courses. (John Fabian Witt’s short lectures on the legal history of contagious disease in the United States would be an example.) We cannot maintain such a wiki on Legal History Blog, but we do encourage interested legal historians to join the ASLH discussion group–especially if they are already members or promptly join ASLH–and I’ll monitor comments to this post to gauge interest.
Update: @RachelGurvich is way ahead of me. H/t: LPK
Tuesday, June 23, 2020
A key feature of British rule in India was the formation of a class of elite metropolitan lawyers who had an outsized role within the legal profession and a prominent position in Indian politics. This paper analyzes the response of these legal elites to the shifting social and political terrain of post-colonial India, arguing that the advent of the Indian nation-state shaped the discursive strategies of elite lawyers in two crucial ways. First, in response to the slipping grasp of lawyers on Indian political life and increasing competition from developmentalist economics, the elite bar turned their attention towards the consolidation of a national professional identity, imagining an ‘Indian advocate’ as such, whose loyalty would ultimately lie with the nation-state. Second, the creation of the Supreme Court of India, the enactment of the Constitution of India, and the continuous swelling of the post-colonial regulatory welfare state partially reoriented the legal elite towards public law, particularly towards the burgeoning field of administrative law.
Monday, June 22, 2020
In recognition of the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment, this essay provides an introduction to a largely overlooked yet essential component of the women’s movement: the pursuit of women’s legal right to hold public office. From the mid-nineteenth century through ratification of the federal suffrage amendment in 1920, women demanded access to appointed and elected positions, ranging from notary public to mayor. Because the legal right to hold office had literal and symbolic connections to the right to vote, suffragists and antisuffragists were deeply invested in the outcome. Courts and legislatures varied in their responses, with those in the Midwest and West generally more willing than those in the Northeast and South to construe or create law permitting women to hold office. This account centers on the experiences of Nellie G. Robinson, a pioneering woman lawyer whose efforts to secure public office in Ohio received nationwide attention in the years surrounding the turn of the twentieth century. To contextualize Robinson’s successes and failures, the essay expands to consider the parallel efforts of other women lawyers from the period, as well as the broader history of women’s officeholding in Ohio—a state with laws and politics reflecting the major trends and tensions in the national women’s officeholding movement.--Dan Ernst
This essay was written for a symposium issue of the Akron Law Review, organized with the Center for Constitutional Law. The topic for the conference and symposium was "The 19th Amendment at 100: From the Vote to Gender Equality."
Until the early 1980s, my high school had a smoking lounge. It was a medium-sized room off the lobby with some beat-up furniture where students could hang out, smoking their Marlboros and their clove cigarettes. There was even a king and queen of the smoking lounge, pictured in the yearbook alongside the prom’s royal court.
Today such an accommodation of smoking is unimaginable. Indeed, in most states, it would be illegal. In the past forty years, the United States transformed from a society where the cigarette represented a combination of sophistication and rebellion to one in which smokers are benighted addicts, suffering for their own moral failures. Sarah Milov’s breathtaking The Cigarette: A Political History explains how this happened. In telling this story, her narrative weaves together legal, political, and economic history in a manner that calls for a revaluation of the dimensions of twentieth-century liberalism and the nature of its decline. The book is a compelling exercise in historical synecdoche: its subject is the political history of the cigarette, but its story is that of the twentieth-century American state.
Frankly, one could teach a course on twentieth-century legal history using this book as a textbook. It speaks to a broad range of subjects central to the interests of legal historians: the role of law in constituting capitalism; the interaction of law, gender, and race in the construction of social movements; the simultaneously emancipatory and constraining potential of framing policy preferences as rights; the profound role of the administrative state in structuring politics and policy; the rise of public interest litigation; the importance of understanding the legal history of agriculture, a field sorely neglected by legal historians.
Saturday, June 20, 2020
- ASLH Secretary Anne Twitty on her recent discovery concerning Old Miss’s Monument to White Supremacy, in The Atlantic.
- The New York Times observed Juneteenth with this piece by Martha Jones (Johns Hopkins): "Ida, Maya, Rosa, Harriet: The Power in Our Names."
- Members of the Organization of American Historians can view online presentations of the papers and panels scheduled for its canceled annual meeting, including Brent Cebul, University of Pennsylvania, on the business appropriation of the language of community development (in the panel Leveraging Poverty: New Cities, New Partnerships, and the Progressive Abandonment of Urban Poverty in the 1980s and 1990s) and Unjust and Unequal: Death Investigations into Homicides in St. Louis, Missouri, 1875 to 1885, by Sarah Lirley McCune, Columbia College.
- The National History Center hosts a virtual congressional briefing on the history of vaccination usage and policy on Monday, June 22 at 11 a.m. More.
- Searching for the real Nat Turner, but finding his ghost: a review of Christopher Tomlins’s In the Matter of Nat Turner: A Speculative History, in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Eleanor of Brittany (wiki)
- Gwen Seabourne, University of Bristol Law School, has posted Eleanor of Brittany and her Treatment by King John and Henry III, which she describes simply as a “study of the treatment of Eleanor of Brittany by successive kings of England.” It will appear in Nottingham Medieval Studies.
- Is it just me, or does anyone else think more reporters should be referencing Al Brophy's Reconstructing the Dreamland? DRE
- ICYMI: Annette Gordon-Reed on Growing Up with Juneteenth (New Yorker) and on the removal of Confederate statues (Harvard Gazette). What Thurgood Marshall taught Cass Sunstein about police accountability (Star Tribune). Is 15 June 1215 the true date of Magna Carta? (BBC History).
Friday, June 19, 2020
|National Archives, 1939 (LC)|
[Also: NARA find the "Juneteenth" order. WaPo.]
In this episode, Siobhan talks with Robert Chase about his book, We Are Not Slaves: State Violence, Coerced Labor, and Prisoners’ Rights in Postwar America (University of North Carolina Press, 2020). Chase is Associate Professor of History at Stony Brook University.--Dan Ernst
In We Are Not Slaves, Chase draws from three decades of legal documents compiled by prisoners to narrate the struggle to change prison from within. Told from the vantage point of the prisoners themselves, this book weaves together untold but devastatingly important truths from the histories of labor, civil rights, and politics in the United States as it narrates the transition from prison plantations of the past to the mass incarceration of today.
This episode is part of a series featuring legal history works from UNC Press. Support for the production of this series was provided by the Versatile Humanists at Duke program.
Thursday, June 18, 2020
Call for Applications: First Annual Summer School on the American Political Economy
Organizers: Jacob Hacker, Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, Paul Pierson, and Kathleen Thelen
We invite advanced graduate students (ABD), post-docs, and junior faculty members to apply to
participate in the first annual summer school on the American Political Economy, to be held
virtually from August 10 to 13. The workshop will involve about 2-3 hours of virtual discussions
each day (with breaks) in the early afternoon Eastern Time.
The summer school represents an effort to build a research community around the study of
markets and governments in the United States in comparative perspective. This involves research
questions about the political and economic power of private-sector firms, the structure of labor
markets and worker organizations, social welfare programs, finance and corporate governance,
education and training, and racial capitalism, among many, many others. Crucially, many of
these questions can only be tackled by understanding how the United States compares to other
countries, especially other rich democracies.
We believe this area of research holds extraordinary promise—both for understanding the
dramatic transformation of America’s distinctive political economy over recent decades and for
reorienting political science in productive directions. Yet we also believe there is a very large
gap between what we know and what we need to know.
Building on ongoing research by the summer school conveners and others, participants in this
workshop will have the opportunity to…
(1) Learn the foundations of an American Political Economy approach to political science;
(2) Participate in in-depth discussions around several key issues in American Political Economy,
including federalism, social welfare policy, racial capitalism, corporate governance, and labor
(3) Share research-in-progress and research designs for feedback; and
(4) Join a community of other scholars interested in pursuing research on the American Political
To apply, please submit a C.V. and a cover letter (no more than two pages) describing your
relevant research interests in APE and how this workshop will advance those interests. Please
also submit a relevant research paper (either work in progress or already published work). For
graduate students, the C.V. should include classes taken.
Please email these materials and any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than
midnight on June 19. We anticipate informing selected applicants within two weeks. We
anticipate selecting about 10-15 participants.
The summer school is generously supported by the Hewlett Foundation.
This article analyses the prominent international legal historian, CH Alexandrowicz, known largely for his advocating of the East’s imprint on international law. It places his perspective of the East and South, and his diachronic narrative—the rise of naturalism, its fall to positivism, and eventual promise of return from positivism—in the context of his own traversing of geographies and his intellectual commitments, including his study of the Indian Constitution.
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
|Hugo Black, J. (LC)|
The exhibit focuses on the 8 Supreme Court cases from the state of Alabama: Powell v. Alabama (1932) (effective counsel, due process); NAACP v. Alabama (1958) (freedom of association); Gomillion v. Lightfoot (1960) (racial gerrymandering); The New York Times v. Sullivan (1964) (libel laws, actual malice); Katzenbach v. McClung (1964) (Civil Rights Act); Reynolds v. Sims (1964) (malapportioned legislative districts); Frontiero v. Richardson (1973) (gender discrimination); and Wallave v. Jaffree (1984) (school prayer). Additionally, it provides profiles of the three Justices appointed from Alabama: John McKinley of Huntsville, John Archibald Campbell of Mobile and Hugo L. Black of Ashland.
The study of the administrative presidency is one that more obviously, though not uniquely, overlaps the research interests of both self-identifying public management and political science scholars. How a president’s managerial strategies are applied has profound implications on how one thinks about the role of federal public administrators in the United States’ polity and constitutional design. However, those strategies are not merely a function of the preferences and agency of a given president or presidential administration. Time presents a critical, if overlooked, macro-level embeddedness attribute in which individual decisions and behavior are nested. The timing in which a president operates within a political epoch and his ideological positioning vis-à-vis the dominant ideology within that epoch will have a vast influence on the alternative sets that are allowed for that president, his proxies, and career bureaucrats to consider. In this essay, I seek to bridge this macro-perspective of public administration with the micro-level foundations of behavioralism by providing an example of how these secular, historical trends can produce observable and predictable patterns by which we can assess variation of executive and bureaucratic behaviors across temporal contexts.–Dan Ernst
Tuesday, June 16, 2020
The conventional historic account maintains that International Criminal Law (ICL) was ‘born’ after the Second World War. This account is incomplete, as William Schabas’s book – The Trial of the Kaiser (2018) – captivatingly shows, by richly portraying the (aborted) First World War initiative to try the German Kaiser in an international tribunal. But, this article (after providing an overview of Schabas’s book) argues that Schabas’s account, of a First World War ICL ‘birth’, is also incomplete. First World War-era ICL was but one link in a much longer historical chain. The article demonstrates this fact by presenting certain elements of ICL’s long (forgotten) history that provide answers to questions that have been left unanswered, not only by the conventional account (of a Second World War ICL ‘birth’), but also by Schabas’s account (of a First World War ICL ‘birth’). As the article shortly discusses, the unveiling of a greater ICL history indicates that international criminal tribunals were not a modern innovation, as well as reveals the origins of ‘crimes against humanity’, of ‘aggression’ and of the universal jurisdiction doctrine. The article further discusses reasons for the dis-remembrance of ICL’s long history, the importance of acknowledging that history and the likelihood of it becoming widely acknowledged any time soon.
Kaiser Wilhelm II (NYPL)