Wednesday, October 22, 2014

CFP: Law & Humanities Junior Scholar Workshop

Via H-Law, we have the following Call for Papers:
Law & Humanities Junior Scholar Workshop
Columbia Law School, the University of Southern California Center for Law,
History & Culture, UCLA School of Law, and Georgetown University Law
School invite submissions for the eleventh meeting of the Law & Humanities
Junior Scholar Workshop to be held at Columbia Law School Law in New York
City on June 8 & 9, 2015.

The paper competition is open to untenured professors, advanced graduate
students, and post-doctoral scholars in law and the humanities; in addition t0drawing from numerous humanistic fields, we welcome critical, qualitative work in the social sciences. Based on anonymous evaluation by an interdisciplinary selection committee, between five and ten papers will be chosen for presentation at the June Workshop. At the Workshop, two senior scholars will comment on each paper. Commentators and other Workshop participants will be asked to focus specifically on the strengths and weaknesses of the selected scholarly projects, with respect to subject and methodology. The selected papers will then serve as the basis for a larger conversation among all the participants about the evolving standards by which we judge excellence and creativity in interdisciplinary scholarship, as well as about the nature of interdisciplinarity itself.

Papers should be works-in-progress between 10,000 and 15,000 words in length (including footnotes/endnotes), and must include an abstract of no more than 200 words. A dissertation chapter may be submitted, but we strongly suggest that it be edited so that it stands alone as a piece of work with its own integrity. A paper that has been submitted for publication is eligible so long as it will not be in galley proofs or in print at the time of the Workshop. The selected papers will appear in a special issue of the Legal Scholarship Network; there is no other publication commitment. The Workshop will pay the travel and hotel expenses of authors whose papers are selected for presentation.

Submissions (in Word, no pdf files) will be accepted until January 5, 2015, and should be sent by e-mail to: Center for the Study of Law and Culture, be sure to include your name, institutional affiliation (if any), telephone and e-mail contact information.

For more information contact Cindy Gao, 212.854.0167 or, and to see past winners go to:

Katherine Franke
Sarah Barringer Gordon
Ariela Gross
Naomi Mezey
Hilary Schor
Norman Spaulding
Clyde Spillenger
Nomi Stolzenberg

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Davies on Pennypacking the Waite Court

Ross E. Davies, George Mason University School of Law, has posted Breakfast with the Justices: Networking in the Nineteenth Century, which appears in the 2014 Green Bag Almanac & Reader 109.  Here is the abstract:
On Thursday, September 15, 1887, the Philadelphia bar hosted a lavish “Breakfast to the Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States” in that city’s American Academy of Music building. It was the first of a series of events — parades, ceremonies, speeches, and so on — celebrating the centennial of the Constitution of the United States. Some, like the “Breakfast to the Justices,” were by invitation only. Others were open to the public and attracted large crowds — the biggest were probably the “Civic and Industrial Procession” on September 15 and the “Memorial Day Ceremonies in Independence Square” on September 17. All those big events, both the private and the public, surely were exciting at the time and merit further study today. But the focus of this little essay is elsewhere — on a pair of small but instructive (and perhaps also amusing) aspects of the inner workings of the “Breakfast to the Justices.”

Metzger on Administrative Law, Public Administration and ACUS

Gillian E. Metzger, Columbia University Law School, has posted Administrative Law, Public Administration, and the Administrative Conference of the United States, which is forthcoming in the George Washington Law Review.  The article includes a section arguing that “the current divide between administrative law and public administration is not a new phenomenon, but dates back to when both fields were being born as areas of academic study and practice at the beginning of the twentieth century.”  Here is the abstract:
From its birth administrative law has claimed a close connection to governmental practice. Yet as administrative law has grown and matured it has moved further away from how agencies actually function. In particular, as many have noted, administrative law ignores key administrative dimensions, such as planning, assessment, oversight mechanisms and managerial methods, budgeting, personnel practices, reliance on private contractors, and the like. The causes of administrative law’s disconnect from public administration are complex and the divide is now longstanding, going back to the birth of each as distinct fields. But it is also a growing source of concern, and internal administration is increasingly becoming the linchpin for ensuring accountable government. Enter the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS). ACUS represents one of the rare instances in which administrative law and public administration have been linked and is ideally situated to study administrative law’s effects on internal agency operations and assess whether — as well as how — administrative law might be used to improve public administration.

Olken on New Deal Constitutionalism

Samuel R. Olken, John Marshall Law School, has posted The Decline of Legal Classicism and the Evolution of New Deal Constittutionalism, which appears in the Notre Dame Law Review 89 (2014).  Here is the abstract:
Insofar as historians and constitutional scholars have focused upon the question whether external or internal changes precipitated the jurisprudential transformation that occurred in constitutional law during the 1930sand 1940s, they have characterized the change as revolutionary. Accordingly, they have described Legal Classicism (also referred to as Classical Legal thought), the bundle of jurisprudential tenets at the core of Lochner era police powers jurisprudence, in pejorative terms. Moreover, they have assumed that by the end of the 1930s, the Hughes Court’s adoption of constitutional adaptivity in its jurisprudence of economic liberty marked a relatively clear rejection of classical legal principles of legal formalism, factional aversion, laissez faire constitutionalism dual federalism. As Chief Justice Hughes himself noted in the seminal cases of Home Building and Loan Ass’n v. Blaisdell (1934) and West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish (1937), it was important for the Court to recognize the public interest in private contracts and the necessity to adapt the constitution to changing economic circumstances. And in Commerce Clause cases such as Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp. v. NLRB (1937), the Court employed a more flexible approach towards assessing the relationship between intrastate activities and interstate commerce, heralding a more realistic conception of commerce and a willingness to accord more deference to Congress than they had at the height of the Lochner era.

Notwithstanding this significant doctrinal transformation, relatively little attention has been given to the manner in which Legal Classicism itself may have actually contributed to the so-called constitutional revolution of the 1930s. This article will discuss how the ascension within the Hughes Court of Legal Realism and its notion of constitutional adaptation evolved from some of the very principles of classical legal thought that Chief Justice Hughes, and the other more progressive members of his court, such as Justices Stone, Brandeis and Cardozo earlier decried. Eventually, the underlying principles of Legal Classicism crumbled, and its assumptions about the relationship between the individual and government, as well as its presumed dichotomy between public power and private rights, proved untenable as the Supreme Court sought to interpret and apply the Constitution to the problems spawned by the Depression.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Turner, "Rights and the Ambiguities of Law: Infanticide in the Nineteenth-Century U.S. South"

The September 2014 issue of the Journal of the Civil War Era includes an article of interest: "Rights and the Ambiguities of Law: Infanticide in the Nineteenth-Century U.S. South," by Felicity Turner (Armstrong State University). Here's a summary from the author of the article's primary contribution:
Building on recent scholarship in gender history and African-American history, “Rights and the Ambiguities of Law” argues for a rethinking of the utility of narratives about the inexorable march toward expanded rights in U.S. history and memory.  Turner suggests that constitutional scholars and legal historians have traditionally emphasized the valuable expansion of civil and political rights to African Americans inaugurated at the federal level during Reconstruction.  The federal legislation and constitutional amendments prompted change at the state level, primarily in the South, which—in turn—prompted legal change at the local level, the consequences of which have been largely unexamined.  Turner's argument combines the traditional emphases of legal and political history with the more recent scholarship from historians of women and African-Americans.  Drawing from these combined strands of scholarship, Turner demonstrates the limitations inherent in narratives focusing primarily on the politico-legal changes that occurred at both the federal and state level during Reconstruction.  Using infanticide cases from antebellum and Reconstruction North Carolina to examine the operation of the legal process within local communities, "Rights and the Ambiguities of the Law" illuminates the complexities and ambiguities of legal change over time. 
A brief excerpt is available here, at Project Muse. Full content is limited to subscribers.

Lerner on Originalism's Failure to Preserve Civil Jury Trial

Renee Lettow Lerner, George Washington University Law School, has posted The Failure of Originalism in Preserving Constitutional Rights to Civil Jury Trial, which appears in the William & Mary Bill of Rights 28 (2014): 811-80.  Here is the abstract:    
The Federal Bill of Rights and state constitutions rely heavily on procedural protections, especially jury rights. Supporters of these rights at the founding praised the jury in extravagant terms, and many members of the legal profession continue to do so today. Yet civil and criminal jury trials are vanishing in the United States. The disappearance of the civil jury presents a puzzle because the Seventh Amendment and state constitutional rights require that civil jury trial be “preserved” or “remain inviolate.”

Scholarship on the history of constitutional rights to civil jury trial has tended to focus exclusively on the Seventh Amendment, particularly at the time of the founding or during the modern era. This Article examines both state and federal courts’ interpretations of constitutional rights from the late eighteenth through the early twentieth century. It demonstrates that courts during that time adopted originalist tests. These tests, however, proved so flexible that they allowed legislatures and courts great discretion in modifying civil jury trial. The civil jury was no longer valued as a law-nullifying institution, as it had been at the founding, but instead was considered a hindrance to the administration of justice. Courts were concerned to accommodate changed circumstances, such as growing docket pressure and expense of litigation, and emphasized the impossibility of maintaining every detail of original practice. Once the anchor of original jury practice was abandoned, the jury right seemed tethered to no definite meaning. The one exception was the jurisprudence of the U.S. Supreme Court under the Re-examination Clause of the Seventh Amendment, but even that strict historical test proved able to be circumvented. This history suggests problems with maintaining procedural rights more generally.

New Release: Probert, ed., "Cohabitation and Non-Marital Births in England and Wales, 1600-2012"

New from Palgrave Macmillan: Cohabitation and Non-Marital Births in England and Wales, 1600-2012 (June 2014), edited by Rebecca Probert (University of Warwick). The Press explains:

Today, almost half of all children are born outside marriage, with cohabiting relationships accounting for the majority of such births. But what was the situation in earlier centuries? Bringing together leading historians, demographers and lawyers, this interdisciplinary collection examines the changing context of non-marital child-bearing in England and Wales since 1600. Drawing on Private Acts of Parliament, ecclesiastical court records, reported cases, sessions files, coronial records, poor law records, petitions to the London Foundling Hospital, the registers of the London Bridewell, the records of charitable institutions, surveys and modern demographic data, it not only shows the relative rarity of cohabitation in earlier periods but also discovers the nature of individual relationships. It also explores how differences in the extent of both non-marital child-bearing and cohabitation emerge depending on definition, source material, interpretation and location, building up a more nuanced picture of past practices.
The TOC:
Introduction; Rebecca Probert
1. Bridewell, Bawdy Courts and Bastardy in Early Seventeenth-Century London; Eleanor Fox and Martin Ingram
2. Cohabitation in Context in Early Seventeenth-Century London; Martin Ingram
3. 'All He Wanted Was To Kill Her That He Might Marry The Girl': Broken Marriages and Cohabitation in the Long Eighteenth Century; Joanne Bailey
4. 'They Lived Together As Man And Wife': Plebeian Cohabitation, Illegitimacy, and Broken Relationships in London, 1700-1840; Samantha Williams
5. Bastardy and Divorce Trials, 1780-1809; Julie Shaffer
6. Cohabiting Couples in the 19th Century Coronial Records of the Midlands Circuit; Elizabeth Hurren and Steven King
7. The Kindness of Strangers Revisited: Fostering, Adoption and Illegitimacy in England, 1860-1930; Ginger Frost
8. The Context of Illegitimacy from the 1920s to the 1960s; Rebecca Probert
9. Cohabitation and Births Outside Marriage after 1970: A Rapidly Evolving Phenomenon; John Haskey
10. Cohabitation and Marriage in Britain Since the 1970s; Éva Beaujouan And Máire Ní Bhrolcháin
More information, including a sample chapter, is available here.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Book Roundup

The History Roll has a review of Kurt T. Lash's The Fourteenth Amendment and the Privileges and Immunities of American Citizenship (Cambridge University Press).
"It does not definitively settle the debate over the nascent Fourteenth Amendment’s meaning, but it should initiate a new generation of scholarly debates over the meaning of Reconstruction and the Republicans’ willingness to protect newly freed slaves."
The New York Times reviews Zephyr Teachout's Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin's Snuff Box to Citizens United (Harvard University Press).

Also in the NY Times is a review by Sean Wilentz of Jonathan Darman's Landside: LBJ and Ronald Reagan at the Dawn of a New America (Random House).

Michael A. Ross's Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Race, Law and Justice in the Reconstruction Era (Oxford University Press) is also reviewed in the NY Times:
"Those twists, recounted by Mr. Ross in “The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Race, Law and Justice in the Reconstruction Era,” published this week by Oxford University Press, include psychic consultations, a shadowy “House of Secret Obstetrics” and the derring-do of a crack Afro-Creole police detective versed in the latest “French” techniques — seemingly the first black detective in the United States to take part in a case that received national attention, Mr. Ross says.
The story also offers something else that was all but unheard-of in pre-Civil Rights-era trials involving African-Americans accused of crimes against whites: genuine suspense about the outcome."
HNN adds a review of Edmund Fawcett's Liberalism: The Life of an Idea (Princeton University Press).

New Books in American Studies interviews Anthony Santoro about his book, Exile & Embrace: Contemporary Religious Discourses on the Death Penalty (Northeastern University Press).

New Books in Law interviews Lynette J. Chua about her book, Mobilizing Gay Singapore: Rights and Resistance in a n Authoritarian State (Temple University Press); and New Books also talks with Joshua Fershee about his book, Energy Law: A Context and Practice Casebook (Carolina Academic Press).

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Weekend Roundup

  • From PQ Monthly: “On September 4, OGALLA: The LGBT Bar Association of Oregon; GLAPN (Gay & Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest); and Oregon State Bar Diversity & Inclusion Department jointly sponsored a class entitled ‘LGBT Rights in Oregon: A Historical Perspective.’” More.
Weekend Roundup is a weekly feature compiled by all the Legal History bloggers.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Park on the Cohasset Marshlands Dispute

William W. Park, Boston University School of Law, has posted The Cohasset Marshlands Dispute: International Arbitration in Colonial New England, which is forthcoming in International Council Commercial Arbitration (2014).  Here is the abstract:    
One of the earliest international arbitrations in the Americas arose from rival claims to hayfields contested between two groups of religious dissidents. The dispute resolution process which unfolded in 1640 between the Massachusetts and Plymouth colonies takes special significance as an epochal step toward the robust cross-border cooperation that ultimately united thirteen disparate colonies into a single nation.

New Release: Baldwin, "The Copyright Wars: Three Centuries of Trans-Atlantic Battle"

New from Princeton University Press: The Copyright Wars: Three Centuries of Trans-Atlantic Battle, by Peter Baldwin (University of California, Los Angeles/New York University). A description from the Press:
Today’s copyright wars can seem unprecedented. Sparked by the digital revolution that has made copyright—and its violation—a part of everyday life, fights over intellectual property have pitted creators, Hollywood, and governments against consumers, pirates, Silicon Valley, and open-access advocates. But while the digital generation can be forgiven for thinking the dispute between, for example, the publishing industry and Google is completely new, the copyright wars in fact stretch back three centuries—and their history is essential to understanding today’s battles. The Copyright Wars—the first major trans-Atlantic history of copyright from its origins to today—tells this important story.
Peter Baldwin explains why the copyright wars have always been driven by a fundamental tension. Should copyright assure authors and rights holders lasting claims, much like conventional property rights, as in Continental Europe? Or should copyright be primarily concerned with giving consumers cheap and easy access to a shared culture, as in Britain and America? The Copyright Wars describes how the Continental approach triumphed, dramatically increasing the claims of rights holders. The book also tells the widely forgotten story of how America went from being a leading copyright opponent and pirate in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to become the world’s intellectual property policeman in the late twentieth. As it became a net cultural exporter and its content industries saw their advantage in the Continental ideology of strong authors’ rights, the United States reversed position on copyright, weakening its commitment to the ideal of universal enlightenment—a history that reveals that today’s open-access advocates are heirs of a venerable American tradition.
Compelling and wide-ranging, The Copyright Wars is indispensable for understanding a crucial economic, cultural, and political conflict that has reignited in our own time.
A scholarly endorsement:
"From Kant and Fichte to Wikipedia’s protest shutdown and the Swedish Pirate Party, and from international copyright in the Confederacy to moral rights in Fascist Italy, Baldwin offers a riveting historical account of copyright in the Anglo-American and Continental European spheres that becomes an indispensable guide to understanding today’s struggles over copyright and international trade treaties."--Yochai Benkler
More information, including the TOC and introduction, is available here.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Inniss, "Cherokee Freedmen and the Color of Belonging"

Lolita Buckner Inniss (Cleveland State University - Cleveland-Marshall College of Law) has posted "Cherokee Freedmen and the Color of Belonging." The article is scheduled to appear in Volume 5 of the Columbia Journal of Race and Law (2014-2015). Here's the abstract:
This article addresses the Cherokee tribe and their historic conflict with the descendants of their former black slaves, designated Cherokee Freedmen. This article specifically addresses how historic discussions of black, red and white skin colors, designating the African-ancestored, aboriginal (Native American) and European-ancestored people of the United States, have helped to shape the contours of color-based national belonging among the Cherokee. This article also suggests that Homi K. Bhabha’s notion of postcolonial mimicry offers a potent source for analyzing the Cherokee’s historic use of skin color as a marker of Cherokee membership. The Cherokee past practice of black slavery and the past and continuing use of skin color-coded belonging not only undermines the coherence of Cherokee identity and belonging but also problematizes the notion of an explicitly aboriginal way of life by bridging Indian and white cultural difference over a point of legal and ethical contention: black inequality.
The full article is available here.

Hat tip: Legal Theory Blog

CFP: Consent in Early America, 1600-1900

Via The Junto, we have the following Call for Papers:
Consent in Early America, 1600-1900 
Tuesday 10th-Wednesday 11th March 2015
Rothermere American Institute, Oxford University

The notion of consent plays an important role in our understanding of power in human society. It gives us a way to think about not only when choices are freely made, and when they aren't, but a whole spectrum that lies in-between.

Questions about consent are questions about people and social relations, about power and the state, and about freedom and its lack. These questions span micro and macro scales, from politeness at a Boston dinner table, to gangs of slaves cutting sugar in Louisiana, to establishing a national government in Philadelphia. The ability to give and to withhold consent helps to determine categories and dynamics of struggle, including gender, race, and class. Consent concerns the problems of coordinated action and coordinated ideas that, we suggest, determine social life and historical change—it's about who gets to decide, and how.

We invite contributors to share their ideas about these complex issues as they played out in the lives of early Americans and in the records of early American history, from the first colonisation to the end of the nineteenth century. Papers might look at:
· Marriage, sex, childhood, and domestic labour

· Slavery, wage work, share-cropping, and indenture

· Governments, constitutions, and the state of nature

· Crime, punishment, violence, and justice

· Medicine, public health, and notorious places

· Representation, writing, contract, and the law
...or any other topic that engages “consent,” including papers that cross boundaries between fields and categories, using the notion of consent to draw new and unexpected connections.

Papers will be chapter-length (4,000-8,000 words) and pre-circulated, to maximise time for discussion on the day. Travel within the UK and accommodation for presenters will be provided for. The conference will take place from the afternoon of Tuesday 10th through to the evening of Wednesday 11th March, 2015. Graduate students and early-career researchers are particularly encouraged to submit proposals, which should be around 500 words, and accompanied by a CV. The deadline for proposals is 4th January 2015. Please get in touch if you have any questions!

Kathryn Olivarius and Tom Cutterham

New Release: Freyer, "The Passenger Cases and the Commerce Clause"

New from the University Press of Kansas: The Passenger Cases and the Commerce Clause: Immigrants, Blacks, and States’ Rights in Antebellum America (December 2014), by Tony Allan Freyer (University of Alabama). The Press explains:
In 1849 Chief Justice Taney’s Court delivered a 5-4 decision on the legal status of immigrants and free blacks under the federal commerce power. The closely divided decision, further emphasized by the fact there were eight opinions, played a part in the increasingly contested politics over growing immigration and the controversies about fugitive slaves and the western expansion of slavery that resulted in the Compromise of 1850.
In the decades after the Civil War federal regulation of immigration almost entirely displaced the role of the states. Yet, over a century later, Justice Scalia in Arizona v. US appealed to the era when states exercised greater control over who they allowed to cross their borders; a dissent which has returned the Passenger Cases to the contemporary relevance. The Passenger Cases provide a counter-history that allowed the Court to affirm federal supremacy and state-federal cooperation in Arizona I (2011) and II (2012).

In The Passenger Cases and the Commerce Clause Tony Allan Freyer focuses on the antebellum Supreme Court’s role prescribing state-federal regulation of immigrants, the movement of free blacks within the United States. The divided opinions in the Passenger Cases also influenced the immigrant and slavery crises which disrupted the balance between free and slave-labor states, culminating in the Civil War. The states did indeed enact laws enabling exclusion of undesirable white immigrants and free blacks.
The 5-4 division of the Court anticipated the better known, but even more divisive, views of the Justices in the Dred Scott case (1857). And in considering the post-Reconstruction evolution of new standards by which to judge immigration issues, the Passenger Cases revealed the continuing controversy over how to treat those who wish to come to our country, even as federal law came to dominate the regulation of immigration. These issues continued to complicate immigration law as much today as they did more than a century and a half ago. The persistence of these problems suggested that a “decent respect to the opinions of mankind” continued to demand a coherent, humane, and more consistent immigration policy.
A few reviews:
“This volume has a special importance as the current conservative Supreme Court continues to struggle with defining state police powers in regard to newly arrived and illegal immigrants. This brief but pithy volume reinforces an often forgotten distinction between the antebellum Constitution and the “new” Constitution of post-1870 America.”—Herbert A. Johnson

“In his comprehensive treatment of the Passenger Cases, Tony Allan Freyer deftly situates the decision at the intersection of the political and legal disputes over slavery, immigration, and federal power.”—Earl Maltz
More information is available here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Early American Legal Histories: A CFP

[We have the following call for proposals for the workshop Early American Legal Histories.]

The Omohundro Institute and the University of Southern California-Huntington Library Early Modern Studies Institute are pleased to announce the tenth in a series of William and Mary Quarterly-EMSI workshops designed to identify and encourage new trends in understanding the history and culture of early North America and its wider world.

Participants will attend a two-day meeting at the Huntington Library (May 29-30, 2015) to discuss a precirculated chapter-length portion of their current work in progress along with the work of other participants. Subsequently, the convener may write an essay elaborating on the issues raised at the workshop for publication in the William and Mary Quarterly. The convener of this year’s workshop is Sarah Barringer Gordon of the University of Pennsylvania.

This workshop will explore new work in law and history, with the goal of bridging the two disciplines. Scholars of early American history have long probed the legal past through research in government and court records. Legal historians have explored the evolution of doctrine and substantive law. Recent scholarship has united the two fields, resulting in work that spans disciplinary boundaries and brings new insight to both. This workshop presents a unique opportunity to deepen and broaden the growing cross-disciplinary conversation. The organizers welcome proposals that address (among other topics) the law of empire and legal status of colonies from Atlantic, continental, and comparative perspectives, as well as the status of Native peoples, enslaved and other bound persons, and colonists; competing legal systems and legal pluralism, including indigenous legal systems and religious and customary law; domestic relations, including the law of master and servant, husband and wife, and parent and child; property in land as well as persons; trade, finance, and debt; war and conquest; the legal profession; courts and/or the judiciary.

Proposals for workshop presentations should include a brief abstract (250 words) describing the applicant’s current research project, an equally brief discussion of the particular methodological, geographic, or historiographical issues they are engaging (which will be circulated to all participants along with the chapter or essay), and a short c.v. The organizers especially encourage proposals from midcareer scholars. Materials should be submitted online at the conference website by October 27, 2014.

Questions may be directed to Joshua Piker, Editor, William and Mary Quarterly, at

The workshop will cover travel and lodging costs for participants.

New Immigration and Immigration Histories, 1965-2015

[We have a conference call for papers for Immigrant America: New Immigration and Immigration Histories from 1965 to 2015, “an interdisciplinary conference marking the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Immigration Act.”  It will take place on Friday, October 23, and, Saturday, October 24, 2015, at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.  The conference is cosponsored by “the Immigration History Research Center and Archives (University of Minnesota), which promotes interdisciplinary research on migration, race, and ethnicity in the U.S. and houses the largest archive of immigrant and refugee life in North America, and the Immigration and Ethnic History Society, the premier professional association of historians who study immigration and ethnicity. Both organizations will be celebrating their 50th anniversaries in 2015.”]

1965 was a turning point in the long history of immigration to the United States. That year, President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed into law the 1965 Immigration Act, a law that removed national origins quotas, reshaped immigration to the United States, and led to the creation of new immigrant communities. This conference uses the anniversary of the 1965 Immigration Act to explore the connections between contemporary and historical migrations and communities in the U.S. We invite faculty, graduate students, independent scholars, artists, community advocates, and public history professionals from a wide range of disciplines to join us in examining all aspects of post-1965 immigration, including the ways in which it has affected the study of immigration before 1965. In examining how immigration has transformed the United States in the past fifty years, we hope to contribute to the development of migration studies across disciplines and to identify key directions for future scholarship.

Possible conference themes may include (but are not limited to) the following:

Borders and borderlands
Childhood and migration
Citizenship and belonging
Community advocacy
Comparative ethnic studies
Comparative North American experiences and perspectives
Culture and arts
Digital history and digital storytelling
Families and generations
Gender and migration
History, historiography, and memory
Identity and ethnicity
Immigrant rights and activism
Immigration law and policy
Immigration and settler colonialism
Labor and labor movements
Migration theories and frameworks
Public health
Public history and archives
Race and racial formation
Refugee resettlement, communities, and identities
Sexuality and migration
Transnational and diasporic identities, networks, organizations
Transracial and transnational adoption
Unauthorized Migration

Proposals due: January 9, 2015
We encourage full-panel submissions (including chairs/commentators) that highlight new research and perspectives, consider the state(s) of various specific fields and topics, and span the broad scope of immigration history and migration studies, including comparative and interdisciplinary approaches. Single paper submissions will also be given full attention. Final selection of participants will be made by the program committee. Limited funding is available for graduate student presenters through an application process. The selection process will begin shortly after the deadline. Notifications will be sent by email in May 2015.

For panel submissions, please submit the following (in 1 .pdf file):
(1)  One paragraph description of the panel, including chairs/commentators, and identification of the conference theme(s) the panel will address
(2)  Descriptions of each paper (1-2 paragraphs)
(3)  One-page CV per panelist

For single-paper submissions, please submit the following (in 1 .pdf file):
(1)  Description of paper (1-2 paragraphs) and identification of conference theme(s) it addresses
(2)  Presenter's one-page CV

To submit your paper/panel proposal, visit [here].

Conference Proposal Portal will be open on December 1, 2014.

Bagley on the History of the Regulating Medicine as a Public Utility

Nicholas Bagley (University of Michigan Law School) has posted "Medicine as a Public Calling." It is scheduled to appear in Volume 114 of the Michigan Law Review (forthcoming 2015). Here's the abstract:
The debate over how to tame private medical spending tends to pit advocates of a single-payer approach against those who would prefer to harness market forces to hold down costs. When it is mentioned at all, the possibility of regulating medicine as a public utility is dismissed as a political impossibility — or, worse, as anathema to the American regulatory tradition. Yet there is a rich history in the United States of subjecting private businesses that wield undue power to economic regulation. Growing out of an ancient common law practice of imposing special duties on innkeepers and common carriers, the body of law governing the regulation of “public callings” had evolved by the early twentieth century into a comprehensive challenge to the principles of laissez faire.

The rise of the modern medical industry in the years after the Second World War prompted the enactment of federal and state laws emerging from this tradition and directed at the business of medicine. Although the last two decades of the twentieth century saw many of these laws give way to a resurgent belief that market forces ought to guide the distribution of health-care services, an important strain of the law has always treated modern medicine as a public calling. Now that the Affordable Care Act has eased concerns about the uninsured, a stubborn set of economic problems in the medical industry — supply imbalances, access restrictions, and abusive and discriminatory pricing — may spur renewed interest in laws reflecting the principles of public utility regulation. Indeed, nascent interest in such laws suggests that we may already be heading that direction.
Full text is available here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Frost on Greco-Roman Analysis of Metaphoric Reasoning

Michael Frost, Southwestern Law School, has posted Greco-Roman Analysis of Metaphoric Reasoning, which appeared in Legal Writing: The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute 2 (1996).  Here is the abstract:    
When lawyers want to emphasize or crystallize their analysis or arguments, they instinctively and
Aristotle, US Courthouse, Erie, PA
unavoidably use figurative and metaphoric language. Their use of familiar metaphoric clichés — the law as a “seamless web,” cases with “progeny,” corporations with “veils,” and constitutional “penumbras” — reveals not only their recognition of the persuasive power of figurative language, but also their unspoken and, perhaps, unconscious reliance on subtle forms metaphoric reasoning. Recognizing this, Justice Cardozo warned that “metaphors in law are to be narrowly watched, for starting as devices to liberate thought, they end often by enslaving it.” His warning did not take into account the fact that metaphors in the law have been “narrowly watched” for over 2,000 years. Ancient rhetoricians like Aristotle, Cicero and Quintilian meticulously analyzed the subtle, concise and intellectually attractive value of metaphors in legal argument, noting both their emotional impact and their logical appeal. Their insights into metaphors’ persuasive value in legal argument have increasingly drawn the attention of modern language theorists, cognitive psychologists and, lately, legal scholars.

The Fed's "Doomsday Book"

Over at the Wall Street Journal’s blog, Damian Paletta reports the existence of  “a compendium of legal opinions, in some cases stretching back decades, that explore the legal limits of the Federal Reserve in the event of a financial crisis."  In what I take to be a pun on the great medieval document, the Fed lawyers refer to the "big, fat binder” as “the Doomsday Book.”  During a trial growing out of the federal government's bailout of AIG, David Boies read from its first page a description of the binder as "a collection of emergency documentation and memoranda compiled by the Legal Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.”

Of special note is a legal memorandum written by Howard H. Hackley, formerly general counsel of the Fed's Board of Governors.  A subsequently written document in the binder calls the Hackley memo “probably the most important historical document in the collection: a piece of original legal scholarship” that includes "an extensive legal history of Federal Reserve lending activities.”

Update: More, from the New York Times.

New Release: Aslakson, "Making Race in the Courtroom"

New from New York University Press: Making Race in the Courtroom: The Legal Construction of Three Races in Early New Orleans (Sept. 2014), by Kenneth R. Aslakson (Union College). From the Press:
No American city’s history better illustrates both the possibilities for alternative racial models and the role of the law in shaping racial identity than New Orleans, Louisiana, which prior to the Civil War was home to America’s most privileged community of people of African descent. In the eyes of the law, New Orleans’s free people of color did not belong to the same race as enslaved Africans and African-Americans. While slaves were “negroes,” free people of color were gens de couleur libre, creoles of color, or simply creoles. New Orleans’s creoles of color remained legally and culturally distinct from “negroes” throughout most of the nineteenth century until state mandated segregation lumped together descendants of slaves with descendants of free people of color.
Much of the recent scholarship on New Orleans examines what race relations in the antebellum period looked as well as why antebellum Louisiana’s gens de couleur enjoyed rights and privileges denied to free blacks throughout most of the United States. This book, however, is less concerned with the what and why questions than with how people of color, acting within institutions of power, shaped those institutions in ways beyond their control. As its title suggests, Making Race in the Courtroom argues that race is best understood not as a category, but as a process. It seeks to demonstrate the role of free people of African-descent, interacting within the courts, in this process.
A few blurbs:
"Historians are fond of spotlighting the role of 'human agency' in making history. Kenneth Aslakson is one of those rare scholars who actually map out its modus operandi—in this case, in the courtrooms of New Orleans, where free people of color used jurisprudence to defend their rights and, unwittingly, erect a tripartite racial order that was Caribbean before it was American.  Aslakson’s research is superb, his writing unfailingly clear, his arguments smart and crisp. Making Race in the Courtroom joins a lengthening bookshelf that is changing how we think about race in America."
—Lawrence N. Powell, Tulane University
"Between 1791 and 1812, as New Orleans was transformed by the consequences of the Haitian Revolution and the Louisiana Purchase, the city's free people of color fought to establish and defend their freedoms and to protect their property rights. Despite facing a legal, political, and social system that was increasingly hostile to their interests, this book demonstrates how they successfully utilized the court system to carve out a space for themselves within New Orleans' racial hierarchy. Most importantly, Aslakson's exhaustive examination of the records of the New Orleans City Court reveals the ways in which free people of color participated in the continuous project that was race making in the early republic."
—Jennifer M. Spear, Simon Fraser University
More information is available here.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Charles on History in Law, Mythmaking, and Constitutional Legitimacy

Patrick J. Charles, US Air Force, has posted History in Law, Mythmaking, and Constitutional Legitimacy, which is to appear in the Cleveland State Law Review 62 (2014).  Mr. Charles tell us that the article is “part of last spring's mini-symposium, ‘History and the Meaning of the Constitution,’ and that readers may respond to the article through Cleveland State Law Review's website, Et Cetera.  Here is the abstract:    
Defining what constitutes myth and history has been an ongoing debate among historians for over a century. The debate centers as to whether there can truly ever be such a thing as an objective historical account. Given that all historical inquiries grow out of the respective historian’s ideological mind, it is argued the writing of history is not so much about truth-seeking as it is about the ideological leanings of the respective historian. In other words, critics of objective history frequently claim that one historian’s truth is another’s falsity.

In any case there is an argument to be made that all history is myth and all myth is history. No matter how much of the evidentiary record is uncovered, no historian can ever fully reconstruct the past as it was. In their totality, those moments in history are lost forever. The best any historian can do is build upon those evidentiary remnants which remain. Still, at one level or another, historians will have to make a number of assumptions about the past. In some instances the assumptions will be small or minute because the evidentiary record is rich with information about the past, allowing the respective historian to recreate an event or time period in excruciating detail. In other instances the assumptions can be substantial, especially when the evidentiary record is barren, requiring the respective historian to fill the evidentiary gaps. But whenever historians make any assumptions about the past—whether they be minor or substantial—they are perpetuating myth in some form or another.

Given these problems, this article builds upon a previous work--"Historicism, Originalism and the Constitution"--and argues that history is much better suited as a philosophical and moral guide towards understanding the law’s development. This in turn minimizes mythmaking and the creation of poor constitutional constructs. This does not mean, however, that to legally reason from subjective historical accounts or myth can never be a legitimate enterprise. As this article outlines, there is at least two scenarios (and perhaps others) where the acceptance of myth is constitutionally legitimate.

Oiken on Sutherland's Free Speech Cases

Samuel R. Olken, John Marshall Law School, has posted Justice George Sutherland and the Business of Expression, which is forthcoming in Judging Free Speech: First Amendment Jurisprudence of U.S. Supreme Court Justices.  Here is the abstract:    
George Sutherland, J. (LC)
In 1936-1937, Justice George Sutherland wrote his only two United States Supreme Court opinions about freedom of expression. Sutherland’s majority opinion in Grosjean v. American Press Co. (1936) and his dissent in Associated Press v. NLRB (1937) set forth a novel and hybrid constitutional concept, the business of expression, which melded economic liberty and freedom of expression and reflected Sutherland’s aversion towards political factions and solicitude for private economic rights. In both cases Sutherland assessed economic regulations of the press through the prism of economic liberty and suggested that through partial laws – what Sutherland considered illegitimate class legislation – political factions sought to impede the business of expression. Sutherland’s analysis underscored the interplay between economic liberty and freedom of expression.

Rector, "Environmental Justice at Work"

The September 2014 issue of the Journal of American History includes an article of interest: "Environmental Justice at Work: The UAW, the War on Cancer, and the Right to Equal Protection from Toxic Hazards in Postwar America," by Josiah Rector (Wayne State University). Here's the abstract:
Josiah Rector analyzes a series of campaigns by midwestern autoworkers to secure stronger protections against cancer-causing chemicals after World War II. Although most historians of the environmental justice movement have neglected the contribution of labor unions, in the 1960s and 1970s, however, activists in unions and community organizations combined concerns about race, class, and gender inequality with related patterns of pollution exposure. In the process, these activists began to use popular epidemiology to link chemical exposures to disease. Emphasizing the role of working-class people in challenging pollution, Rector argues for a more inclusive history of the environmental justice movement.
Subscribers to the journal may access full content here.

Hat tip: Environment, Law & History

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday Book Roundup

John Paul Stevens has a review in the latest issue of The New York Review, "Law Without History?" that examines Robert A. Katzmann's Judging Statutes (Oxford University Press). 
"In the introduction to his book Katzmann notes “the simple reality” that an enormous increase in the number of new statutes has led to a corresponding increase in the number of judicial decisions in which federal courts are called upon to interpret them as they apply in one situation or another. Now a substantial majority of the Supreme Court’s caseload involves statutory construction. And of course the work of lower federal court judges, administrative agencies, and practicing lawyers increasingly involves the interpretation of federal statutes. His topic is unquestionably important, and he has shed new light on the ongoing debate between “purposivists” and “textualists.”"
This week Breaking In: The Rise of Sonia Sotomayor (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) by Joan Biskupic is reviewed in The New York Times.

Nick Bunker's An Empire on the Edge: How Britain Came to Fight America (Knopf) is reviewed in the Washington Independent Review of Books.
"Everything that most of us know about the American Revolution comes from American historians because, as the old adage says, history is written by the winners. Now hear from an eloquent spokesman for the losers: Nick Bunker is a British writer who searches for the roots of the Revolution in the politics and economics of his homeland. He looks back to see “two overlapping empires,” political and commercial. In Bunker’s harsh and well-documented opinion, British politicians “valued their commercial empire more highly than the flags they had planted on the map.”"
The Washington Post has a review of Racial Reckoning: Prosecuting America's Civil Rights Murders (Harvard University Press) by Renee Romano.

Jonathan Eig's The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution (Norton) has been reviewed by Ann Friedman in The New Republic and reviewed by Irin Carmon for The New York Times:
"For much of the first half of the 20th century, women approached Margaret Sanger with a plea: “Do tell me the secret.” They wrote letters, too: “Doctors are men and have not had a baby so they have no pitty [sic] for a poor sick mother.” But she had no secret to not getting pregnant when you didn’t want to. By Sanger’s time, modern medicine had improved upon the crocodile dung ancient Egyptians used as vaginal plugs and the lemon half Casanova recommended as a cervical cap — but not by much. Diaphragms were faulty and ill-used. And condoms depended on men’s will, at a time when a doctor could advise a woman to sleep on her roof to avoid her husband’s advances."

There is a Q&A with Katha Pollitt about her book PRO: Reclaiming Abortion Rights (Picador) in the LA Times, and the book is also reviewed in The New York Times.
"“I never had an abortion, but my mother did. She didn’t tell me about it, but from what I pieced together after her death from a line in her F.B.I. file, which my father, the old radical, had requested along with his own, it was in 1960, so like almost all abortions back then, it was illegal.”
Thus begins “Pro,” the abortion rights manifesto by the Nation columnist, poet and red diaper baby Katha Pollitt. While parents with F.B.I. files may be exotic, her departure point is that abortion was and is not. Like six out of 10 women who get abortions today, Pollitt’s mom was already a mother when she chose to abort. Why didn’t she carry this pregnancy to term? How far along was she? Why didn’t she tell her husband? Was her practitioner good? Did a friend go with her? Pollitt doesn’t know."

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Weekend Roundup

  • H-Law wants to hear from you! If you subscribe to the H-Law, please take a minute to respond to this brief survey.
Weekend Roundup is a weekly feature compiled by all the Legal History bloggers.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Epps on Northern Views of the Defeated American South

Garrett Epps, University of Baltimore School of Law, has posted The Undiscovered Country: Northern Views of the Defeated South and the Political Background of the Fourteenth Amendment, which originally appeared in the Temple Political & Civil Rights Law Review 13 (Spring 2004): 411-428.  Here is the abstract:    
In 1866, Harper's Weekly announced a new series of woodcuts of Southern life with the remark, "[t]o us the late Slave States seem almost like a newly discovered country." It is difficult for Americans in the Twenty-First Century, in a culture of cable news coverage and national newspapers, to appreciate just how mysterious the former Confederacy seemed to Northerners in the months after Appomattox. It was not simply that four years of war had made communication between the two halves of the nation difficult - though that was true, and both Northern and Southern society had changed during the searing years of war in ways that people in the other region could hardly imagine. More important was the brute historical fact that there had not been a nation before 1861. The North and South had always been separate societies, socially incompatible, culturally different, and mutually incomprehensible. Now, for the first time, the two halves were to become part of one whole, and Northerners found themselves wondering what their new countrymen were like, and how they planned to behave in the new nation forged by war.

Abe Krash Speaks!

Over the years, I've gotten to know and highly regard Abe Krash, an Arnold & Porter partner (and W. W. Crosskey enthusiast) who for many years was a visiting professor from practice at Georgetown Law.   Now, as part of its essential collection of oral histories, the Historical Society of the DC Circuit has posted an oral history of Mr. Krash, conducted by Stuart F. Pierson, Esq.  Here is the society's teaser:

Abe Krash was hired on a temporary basis as the twelfth lawyer at Arnold, Fortas & Porter in 1952. He spent his career there. In 2006, he delivered a lecture at Georgetown Law School on the changes in the legal profession he witnessed, but his oral history itself is a case study of change from an era when lawyers considered themselves generalists capable of handling any legal problem to today's view of them as specialists and even "technicians." Krash tells of his run-in with founding partner Thurman Arnold over the younger man's objection to the firm's pro bono representation of poet and Fascist Ezra Pound. Arnold responded, "Look sonny boy, you like to think of yourself as being a civil liberties lawyer, don't you? It is very easy to be a civil liberties lawyer if you are representing people with whom you agree and whom you like. The real test is whether you stand up for people who you don't like and whose opinion you detest."

Hovenkamp's "Opening of American Law"

Herbert Hovenkamp, the Ben V. & Dorothy Willie Professor of Law and History, University of Iowa, has just published The Opening of American Law: Neoclassical Legal Thought, 1870-1970, with the Oxford University Press.
Two Victorian Era intellectual movements changed the course of American legal thought: Darwinian natural selection and marginalist economics. The two movements rested on fundamentally inconsistent premises. Darwinism emphasized instinct, random selection, and determinism. Marginalism emphasized rational choice. Legal theory managed to accommodate both, although to different degrees in different disciplines. The two movements also developed mutually exclusive scientific methodologies. Darwinism emphasizing external indicators of welfare such as productivity, education or health, while marginalists emphasized market choice. Historians have generally exaggerated the role of Darwinism in American legal thought, while understating the role of marginalist economics. This book explores these issues in several legal disciplines. One is Progressive Era movements for redistributive policies about taxation and public goods. Darwinian science also dominated the law of race relations, while criminal law reflected an inconsistent mixture of Darwinian and marginalist incentive-based theories. The common law, including family law, contract, property, and tort, moved from emphasis on correction of past harms to management of ongoing risk and relationship. A chapter on Legal Realism emphasizes the Realists' indebtedness to institutional economics, a movement that powerfully influenced American legal theory long after it fell out of favor with economists. Five chapters on the corporation, innovation and competition policy show how marginalist economics transformed business policy. The ironic exception was patent law, which developed in relative insulation from economic concerns about innovation policy. The book concludes with three chapters on public law, emphasizing the role of institutionalist economics in policy making during and after the New Deal. A lengthy epilogue then explores the variety of postwar attempts to reconstruct a defensible and more market-oriented rule of law after the decline of Legal Realism and the New Deal.
TOC after the jump.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Murnane's "Bankruptcy in an Industrial Society"

Out from the University of Akron Press, at a price even a debtor can afford, is Bankruptcy in an Industrial Society: A History of the Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio, by M. Susan Murnane, whose degrees include a Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University. The press rather tamely describes the book as
a social and institutional history of the Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio. The work explains the development of the court and the story of the people who worked there and of those who sought refuge in the bankruptcy court, within the context of northern Ohio's changing economy. The story of this particular bankruptcy court also illustrates the historical evolution of bankruptcy as an American institution.
But as you can see from the blurbs, Bruce Mann and I think Bankruptcy in an Industrial Society is a lot more interesting than that.
M. Susan Murnane has written more than a history of a legal institution: her book is, as well, an institutional history of bankruptcy in United States. In full command of regional context and national trends, Murnane shows how, after Congress failed to anticipate the new forms of business risk and consumer debt of the twentieth-century economy, lawyers and judges did the job themselves by organizing professional associations, battling influence and corruption, and keeping national administrators of the federal courts responsive to the special needs of creditors and debtors. Readers will encounter rich detail, drawn from personal papers and government archives, concise statements of economic change, and clear explanations of the law and practice of bankruptcy. By revealing how much legal institutions mattered to industrialization and deindustrialization in northern Ohio, Murnane has written a model history of a court and a uniquely valuable account of a vital legal pillar of American capitalism.
—Daniel R. Ernst, author of Tocqueville’s Nightmare: The Administrative State Emerges in America, 1900–1940
Bankruptcy in an Industrial Society is more than the first comprehensive institutional history of one bankruptcy court. It is also a story of the rise and eventual decline of an industrial economy, told from the vantage point of a court that exists solely to sort through the failures that are the inevitable by-products of capitalist enterprise. Murnane combines the two skillfully and with great insight. Lawyers and historians everywhere—and not just in the northern district of Ohio—will be in her debt.
—Bruce H. Mann, author of Republic of Debtors: Bankruptcy in the Age of American Independence

Redemption Songs by Lea Vandervelde

Oxford University Press announces the release of Redemption Songs: Suing for Freedom before Dred Scott by Lea Vandervelde (Iowa--Law). The publisher's abstract follows:
The Dred Scott case is the most notorious example of slaves suing for
freedom. Most examinations of the case focus on its notorious verdict, and the repercussions that the decision set off-especially the worsening of the sectional crisis that would eventually lead to the Civil War-were extreme. In conventional assessment, a slave losing a lawsuit against his master seems unremarkable. But in fact, that case was just one of many freedom suits brought by slaves in the antebellum period; an example of slaves working within the confines of the U.S. legal system (and defying their masters in the process) in an attempt to win the ultimate prize: their freedom. And until Dred Scott, the St. Louis courts adhered to the rule of law to serve justice by recognizing the legal rights of the least well-off. For over a decade, legal scholar Lea VanderVelde has been building and examining a collection of more than 300 newly discovered freedom suits in St. Louis. In Redemption Songs, VanderVelde describes twelve of these never-before analyzed cases in close detail. Through these remarkable accounts, she takes readers beyond the narrative of the Dred Scott case to weave a diverse tapestry of freedom suits and slave lives on the frontier. 
Redemption Songs follows Professor Vandervelde's biography, Mrs. Dred Scott: A Life on Slavery's Frontier, also published by Oxford.

Green's "Freedom and Criminal Responsibility in American Legal Thought"

Out from Cambridge University Press next month, but available for pre-order now, is Freedom and Criminal Responsibility in American Legal Thought, by Thomas Andrew Green, the John P. Dawson Collegiate Professor of Law emeritus and Professor of History emeritus at the University of Michigan
As the first full-length study of twentieth-century American legal academics wrestling with the problem of free will versus determinism in the context of criminal responsibility, this book deals with one of the most fundamental problems in criminal law. Thomas Andrew Green chronicles legal academic ideas from the Progressive Era critiques of free will-based (and generally retributive) theories of criminal responsibility to the midcentury acceptance of the idea of free will as necessary to a criminal law conceived of in practical moral-legal terms that need not accord with scientific fact to the late-in-century insistence on the compatibility of scientific determinism with moral and legal responsibility and with a modern version of the retributivism that the Progressives had attacked. Foregrounding scholars’ language and ideas, Green invites readers to participate in reconstructing an aspect of the past that is central to attempts to work out bases for moral judgment, legal blame, and criminal punishment.
Saith Lawrence A. Alexander, University of San Diego School of Law:
Thomas Green's Freedom and Criminal Responsibility in American Legal Thought delivers what its title promises, namely, over a hundred years of history of the debate among American legal academics and philosophers over the implications for criminal responsibility of the free will/determinism issue. Green comprehensively and critically surveys the views of all of the major and not-so-major contributors to this debate, from Roscoe Pound to Michael Moore and beyond. A tour de force.
Contents after the jump.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Labor Law Conference at Jagiellonian University

[We have the following communication from Kacper Górski, the Leader of Student Learned Society of State and Law History at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków.]

I am delighted to invite you to attend and register for an international conference Ab servi usque ad operari – history of labour law and social policy, Krakow 24-25 January 2015. The event is organized by employers, PhD students and members of the Student Learned Society of State and Law History of the Faculty of Law and Administration at Jagiellonian University.

The topic of this year's conference is history of labour law and social policy in the broadest sense. We expect papers e.g. on the following problems: status of slaves, legal problems of slavery, workers in the Middle Ages, forming and division of feudal society, guild statutes and membership, serfdom, enfranchisement of peasantry, legal aspects of industrialisation, the beginnings of trade unions and social insurances, anti-discriminatory acts, social policy during the Great Depression.

We would like to invite young researchers of law and the history of law: graduate students, PhD students and PhD graduates. Applications for the conference should be received until the 7th December 2014 on an application form and should include a short summary of main theses (maximum 300 words; methodology, bibliography). The applications will be verified and subsequently a response will be send. What is essential, the positive decision is required to make a payment. A presentation cannot take longer than 20 minutes and texts for publishing cannot exceed the length of 40000 characters. The language which shall be used during the conference is English. An edited book, composed of verified texts, is expected to be published, likewise antecedent events.

We provide participants with one meal during the conference. A conference fee is fixed at 100 zlotys (PLN)/25 Euros. The basic conference fee does not include accommodation. Conference organisers may provide accommodation in Students Hotels of Jagiellonian University for the price of 100 zlotys (PLN)/25 Euros per one night. For choosing accommodation selecting appropriate option in the application form is required. Bank account number will be attached to the response to your application.

For more information please contact us via e-mail:  We strongly invite you to come to Krakow.

Magna Carta at Michigan Law

Magna Carta Madness continues.  This month Michigan Law is hosting the Library of Congress's “commemorative traveling exhibit,” Magna Carta: Enduring Legacy 1215-2015.  The exhibit will be on display Oct. 1-23, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., in the Michigan Law Library, sub-1. “Featuring images of Magna Carta and related documents and artifacts from the Library of Congress's rare book collections, 16 banners tell the history and impact of the historic document from its sealing by King John in 1215 up to the present day. “ WKAR, Michigan State’s public radio station, interviewed with Paul Brand about the exhibit.  Listen to the interview here.

Review Essays in Summer 2014 Issue of Law & Social Inquiry

The Summer 2014 issue of Law & Social Inquiry includes two review essays that may be of interest:

"Law Clerks and Their Influence at the US Supreme Court: Comments on Recent Works by Peppers and Ward," by Mark C. Miller (Clark University). Here's the abstract:
There has been a fair amount of recent scholarly attention to the role and influence of law clerks at the Supreme Court of the United States. This new wave of systematic research began when Todd C. Peppers (2006) published Courtiers of the Marble Palace: The Rise and Influence of the Supreme Court Law Clerk at almost exactly the same time as Artemus Ward and David L. Weiden's (2006) Sorcerers' Apprentices: 100 Years of Law Clerks at the United States Supreme Court. Then Peppers and Ward (2012) teamed up to produce an edited volume, In Chambers: Stories of Supreme Court Law Clerks and Their Justices, in which each chapter focuses on the relationship of a specific justice and his or her clerks. Together these three works raise interesting questions about how one properly studies the role and power of law clerks at the US Supreme Court. How does one measure the influence of these temporary assistants to the justices? Should sociolegal scholars trust them to help us understand the approaches and behavior of the justices today or in the past or do they have an unrealistic and inflated view of their own contributions? This essay offers a broad overview of what scholars and journalists currently know about the role of clerks at the Supreme Court.
"Across Oceans and Revolutions: Law and Slavery in French Saint-Domingue and Beyond," by Laurie M. Wood (University of Wisconsin Law School). The abstract:
New work on colonial legal regimes suggests new pathways for scholarship on legal regimes, legal consciousness, judicial personnel, and the Atlantic world. Malick Ghachem's recent book, The Old Regime and the Haitian Revolution (2012), introduces scholars to one legal regime—that of the French plantation colony of Saint-Domingue—to show how enslaved and free people continually negotiated the terms of master sovereignty and manumission. This debate lasted from Saint-Domingue's establishment as a slave society in the seventeenth century to its revolution in the 1790s, which overthrew the slave regime and culminated in independence in 1804 as the republic of Haiti.
Subscribers may access full content here

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Fighting Inequality: Class, Race, and Power

[We have the following CFP.]

Fighting Inequality: Class, Race, and Power: Joint Conference of the Labor and Working-Class History Association and the Working-Class Studies Association, May 28-31, 2015.  Georgetown University, Washington, DC

Economic inequality, while long a challenge for working-class people, has grown and become increasingly central in public life. It has been a theme in struggles for justice for low-wage workers and has shaped policies related to education, housing, health care, and the right to organize. Fifty years after the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, even access to the most basic democratic right faces new threats. We see concern with inequality growing in religious institutions, and it has been a theme in the media and the arts, as well -- in spoken-word poetry about the link between mass incarceration and slavery, in documentaries about individuals and communities struggling to "recover" from economic restructuring, and in a variety of commentaries and reflections.

Fighting Inequality will bring together scholars, activists, and artists to explore some core questions about economic inequality and strategies for resistance, both historically and in the current moment:
  • What forces - social, political, economic, and cultural - have contributed to inequality and influence people's responses to it?
  • How do working-class people gain power within democracy when access and rights are limited by policy and ideology?
  • How have the complex relationships among class, race, and power sometimes enabled and sometimes constrained working-class resistance?
We welcome proposals that address these questions or other aspects of working-class life through
historical, cultural, social, and/or political lenses. Because we will meet in the nation's capital in a period when past democratic achievements are under assault, we particularly encourage those that wrestle with issues of democracy and public policy. We invite proposals for varied formats, including individual presentations, roundtables, debates, working groups, workshops, teaching sessions, and performances.

Whenever possible, session proposals should involve participants from multiple disciplines and roles, linking scholars across fields and connecting academic research with activism and/or the arts.

Guidelines for Proposals

Sessions will be scheduled for 75 minutes, including 30 minutes for discussion among speakers and attendees. Proposals may take one of the following forms:
o Panel, roundtable, or workshop with multiple presenters
o Individual presentation
o Performance, reading, display, or screening

Proposals should include:
o Proposed title and a brief (150-word for individual presentations, 300 for panels) description
o Suggested topic category (see website for details)
o One-paragraph biography for each presenter
o Contact information for each presenter, including mailing and e-mail addresses
o Technology needs, if any

While individuals may submit more than one proposal, due to time and space constraints, no one may present more than once at the conference. Submit proposals online here.

Questions?  Contact Sherry Linkon,, or Vail Kohnert-Yount, DEADLINE for submissions is: October 15, 2014

Szymanski on Baltimore's Anti-Smoke Movement, 1895-1931

Although access is gated, the property teachers amongst us may be interested in Regulatory Transformations in a Changing City: The Anti-Smoke Movement in Baltimore, 1895–1931, by Ann-Marie Szymanski, University of Oklahoma, which appeared in the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 13 (2014): 336-76.  Here is the abstract:
Baltimore, 1939 (LC)
This study of the Baltimore anti-smoke movement illustrates how Americans altered their approach to environmental regulation during the Progressive Era. After citizen groups came to recognize the limits of common-law regulation, they became enamored with administrative regulation and the promise of rationalized, professional agencies. While Baltimore did mirror the national regulatory trends, the city's unique circumstances limited its capacity to reduce the sooty, black smoke that provoked episodes of public activism. Fearful about the city's economic future, regulators exempted manufacturing from the city's early anti-smoke measures. Furthermore, although railroads were major polluters, they balked at electrifying the bulk of their tracks. Finally, the anti-smoke movement was narrowly based in the northeastern, more affluent parts of the city and failed to expand its support to working-class whites and African Americans. Hence, while the ideas about what constituted appropriate regulation “modernized” in Baltimore, the city did not alter its regulatory practices until the 1930s, long after other cities had done so.