Monday, June 18, 2018

Bhattacharyya on empire, ecology, and law in the Bengal Delta

Debjani Bhattacharyya, Drexel University, has published Empire and Ecology in the Bengal Delta: The Making of Calcutta with Cambridge University Press. From the publisher:
Empire and Ecology in the Bengal DeltaWhat happens when a distant colonial power tries to tame an unfamiliar terrain in the world's largest tidal delta? This history of dramatic ecological changes in the Bengal Delta from 1760 to 1920 involves land, water and humans, tracing the stories and struggles that link them together. Pushing beyond narratives of environmental decline, Bhattacharyya argues that 'property-thinking', a governing tool critical in making land and water discrete categories of bureaucratic and legal management, was at the heart of colonial urbanization and the technologies behind the draining of Calcutta. The story of ecological change is narrated alongside emergent practices of land speculation and transformation in colonial law. Bhattacharyya demonstrates how this history continues to shape our built environments with devastating consequences, as shown in the Bay of Bengal's receding coastline.
Praise for the book:

"Debjani Bhattacharyya resurrects Calcutta's forgotten watery origins to recuperate an entirely riveting account of the city and its real estate market. The book shows how the fictitious capital of property value relies on an enduring amnesia about the intractable and transient texture of ecological landscapes. Deeply researched and brilliantly conceived, it offers a path-breaking account of the urban ecological crisis and its uncertain future." -Bhavani Raman

"In this fascinating study of the emergence of the metropolis of Calcutta out of the swampy landscape of the Bengal delta, Bhattacharyya shows how the production of a modern urban property regime entailed a forgotten transformation of the very earth upon which it was constructed." -Andrew Sartori

Further information is available here.

Stahl to UC Berkeley

We're delighted to report that recent guest blogger Ronit Stahl will join the faculty this fall at the University of California, Berkeley. She will be an Assistant Professor of History, as well as a member of the Religious Diversity Cluster of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society.

As readers of this blog know, Stahl's work focuses on the intersection of politics, law, and religion. She is the author of Enlisting Faith: How the Military Chaplaincy Shaped Religion and State in Modern America (Harvard University Press, 2017), which explores how the U.S. military "struggled with, encouraged, and regulated religious pluralism over the twentieth century."

Congratulations to Ronit Stahl and to Berkeley!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Weekend Roundup

  • Anders Winroth has been named the Birgit Baldwin Professor of History at Yale UniversityMore.
  • The latest congressional briefing organized by the National History Center is on the history of U.S. trade policy.  It will take place Friday, June 29, 2018 from 10:00 am-11:00 am in Cannon House Office Building, Room 121.  "The president's tariffs on steel and aluminum imports and threats to impose other protectionist measures have sparked renewed controversy over US trade policy. But debates over free trade versus protectionism have a long history in the US. How can the history of US trade policy help us to understand the current administration's trade agenda?" The speakers will be Susan Aaronson, George Washington University, and Alfred Eckes, Jr., Ohio University.  The moderator: Marc Levinson of the Congressional Research Service.  RSVP here.
  • “Virginia Humanities’ award-winning public radio show With Good Reason has partnered with James Madison’s Montpelier to produce a five-part podcast series that will explore connections between constitutional history and contemporary issues, with an emphasis on the First Amendment.”  More.
Weekend Roundup is a weekly feature compiled by all the Legal History bloggers.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Interpretatio Prudentium

[We have the following announcement from the IP editorial committee and Eduardo Vera-Cruz Pinto, Director da IP and Professor Catedrático da Faculdade de Direito da Universidade de Lisboa]

The Editorial Committee of Interpretatio Prudentium: Roman Law and Roman Legal Tradition in Review (IP), biannual scientific publication, submitted to blind peer-review, edited by Teoria e História do Direito - Centro de Investigação da Universidade de Lisboa, within the line of research Tradição romanística em acçãoAs experiências de língua portuguesa, has the pleasure of offering to the library of your department of the first two issues of IP. For that purpose, we ask you if you could as kind as to indicate an address which we can send the copies to.  IP's subscription can be made through [here]. 

On this occasion, we would also wish to communicate that until 15 September 2018 we are admitting papers (monographs or reviews to recent publications), to be published in IP's second number of 2018.

Thai on China's war on smuggling

Philip Thai, Northeastern University, has published China's War on Smuggling: Law, Economic Life, and the Making of the Modern State, 1842-1965 with Columbia University Press. From the publisher:
China's War on SmugglingSmuggling along the Chinese coast has been a thorn in the side of many regimes. From opium and weapons concealed aboard foreign steamships in the Qing dynasty to nylon stockings and wristwatches trafficked in the People’s Republic, contests between state and smuggler have exerted a surprising but crucial influence on the political economy of modern China. Seeking to consolidate domestic authority and confront foreign challenges, states introduced tighter regulations, higher taxes, and harsher enforcement. These interventions sparked widespread defiance, triggering further coercive measures. Smuggling simultaneously threatened the state’s power while inviting repression that strengthened its authority.
Philip Thai chronicles the vicissitudes of smuggling in modern China—its practice, suppression, and significance—to demonstrate the intimate link between illicit coastal trade and the amplification of state power. China’s War on Smuggling shows that the fight against smuggling was not a simple law enforcement problem but rather an impetus to centralize authority and expand economic controls. The smuggling epidemic gave Chinese states pretext to define legal and illegal behavior, and the resulting constraints on consumption and movement remade everyday life for individuals, merchants, and communities. Drawing from varied sources such as legal cases, customs records, and popular press reports and including diverse perspectives from political leaders, frontline enforcers, organized traffickers, and petty runners, Thai uncovers how different regimes policed maritime trade and the unintended consequences their campaigns unleashed. China’s War on Smuggling traces how defiance and repression redefined state power, offering new insights into modern Chinese social, legal, and economic history.
Praise for the book:

"Philip Thai skillfully explores how smuggling remade the Chinese state by enabling it to establish better protection of its borders and its revenues and by standardizing regulations; he also examines the ways that political and economic disruptions constantly challenged this process. Thai weaves together a creative combination of social, political, economic, and legal history, ranging from a sophisticated technical discussion of tariff autonomy to a clever explication of the visual representation of smuggling in the public imagination of 1930s China. The combination of a broad theme—illicit economic activities interacting with state power—with many smaller case studies of smuggling incidents brings the story alive." -Elisabeth Köll

"Breaking chronological and geographic conventions, this important book places Nationalist-period state-building and the struggle for sovereignty in a framework of the long-term growth of infrastructural state power in China. By linking the rise of policing, legal regulation of production and consumption, and government intrusion in the economy with the operation of markets and economic life, Philip Thai accomplishes the remarkable feat of a fresh perspective on China from the bottom to top." -Brett Sheehan

Further information is available here.

Goldberg and Cardozo and the Death of the Common Law

John C. P. Goldberg, Harvard Law School, has posted Benjamin Cardozo and the Death of the Common Law, which appears in the Touro Law Review 34 (2018): 147-158:
Although a member of the Supreme Court at the time, Benjamin Cardozo did not participate in Erie Railroad Co. v. Tompkins. He was dying. It is a mere fortuity that Cardozo’s death coincided with the death of the general common law. Yet it has since proved to be something more—or so this symposium essay argues. It is in part because our highest court took itself out of the business of making law in contract, property, tort, and related areas that Cardozo’s beloved common law has fallen on hard times, and that even state-court judges have increasingly lost their feel for how to reason about it. Today, there is no member of a state judiciary who rivals Cardozo in stature. Mainly this is a testament to his extraordinary gifts. But it also reflects the waning of the common law in the United States, and a concomitant loss of the sense of what it means to be a great common-law judge.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Bernstein on Prevailing Wage Laws, Race, and History

David E Bernstein, George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School, has posted Prevailing Wage Legislation and the Continuing Significance of Race, which appears in the Notre Dame Journal of Legislation 44 (2018): 154-169:
Since the early twentieth century, labor unions have lobbied federal and state governments to enact and enforce laws requiring government contractors to pay “prevailing wages” to employees on public works projects. These laws, currently active at the federal level and in approximately thirty states, typically in practice require that contractors pay according to the local union wage scale. The laws also require employers to adhere to union work rules. The combination of these rules makes it extremely difficult for nonunion contractors to compete for public works contracts.

Meanwhile, construction unions have been among the most persistently exclusionary institutions in American society. Not surprisingly, in many cases, the history of prevailing wage legislation has been intertwined with the history of racial discrimination. Economists and others argue that prevailing wage legislation continues to have discriminatory effects on minorities today. Union advocates, not surprisingly, deny that prevailing wage laws have discriminatory effects. More surprisingly, they deny that the granddaddy of modern prevailing wage legislation, the federal Davis-Bacon Act of 1931, had discriminatory intent.

Part I of this Article discusses the discriminatory history of the most significant of all prevailing wage laws, the Davis-Bacon Act. As discussed below, Davis-Bacon was passed with the explicit intent of excluding African American workers from federal construction projects, and its discriminatory effects continued for decades.

Part II of this Article discusses the controversy over whether prevailing wage legislation continues to have discriminatory effects. The section begins with a discussion of the empirical literature on the effects of prevailing wage discrimination on minority employment. The section next presents evidence that construction unions continue to discriminate against members of minority groups, albeit much more subtly than in the past. The section concludes by recounting allegations that prevailing wage legislation serves to exclude minority contractors from obtaining government contracts.

A Global Conference on Rudolf von Jhering (1818-1892)

[We have the following announcement.]

Jhering Global: International Symposium on the occasion of Rudolf von Jhering’s 200th birthday

On 6 and 7 September 2018, the international symposium Jhering Global will be held in Hanover (Germany), marking the 200th anniversary of Rudolf von Jhering’s birth in 1818. It is organized by Professors Inge Kroppenberg (Georg August University Göttingen) and Stephan Meder (Leibniz University Hanover).

Jhering Global’s main intention is the development of a broad research perspective, both international and interdisciplinary, on the scientific work of Rudolf von Jhering (1818-1892). There is hardly a legal scholar whose work would be more suitable for this kind of research proposal than Jhering, whose impact on the fields of jurisprudence and social sciences was so lasting and fruitful and whose works are still being translated into many languages, even today.

Jhering Global’s purpose is twofold. Firstly, it will aim to explore the trajectories of Jhering's scientific ideas over the course of the past 150 years across Europe, the Americas and Asia. In order to achieve this, it calls on eminent legal scholars from several continents to present their perspectives on Jhering's work, and to bring different modes of reception to the table for discussion with scholars from Germany, Jhering’s native country. Thus, the conference will make a major contribution to exploring the history of the global transfer of juristic ideas from the 19th to the 21st centuries.

Secondly, Jhering Global will take an interdisciplinary approach. Since Jhering's work did not only cross geographical borders but also transcended the boundaries between scientific disciplines, the symposium will examine its impact on the establishment and development of social and political sciences since the late 19th century. Here, Jhering’s numerous allusions and references to the natural sciences, especially chemistry, will play a crucial role.
Conference program after the jump

Doctoral Program in Global History and Governance

We have word of the establishment of a Ph.D. program in Global History and Governance at the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa, Italy:
The PhD in Global History and Governance is an advanced research degree at the end of which each student must defend a dissertation based on independent and original academic research.  The course offers a multi-disciplinary training program based on history and law and open to contributions from other disciplines, such as economics, political science and political philosophy. The program focuses on the comparison, connections and processes of globalization that have characterized different areas of the planet since the first epoch of global imperialism and does so by focusing on the relational dimension of historical processes, legal regimes and the organization of power, on the interdependencies between economic, political, juridical, cultural and social factors and on the circulation, exchange and interconnection of ideas, people, institutions, legal cultures, political models, concepts, rights and goods on a global scale.
Members of the PhD board can offer training and preparation for research at the level of the best international centers in the following areas:

    History and historiography
    European empires of the modern and contemporary age
    States, wars and violence in the nineteenth and twentieth century
    History of slavery and forced labor
    The legal heritage of Europe and its integration
    Religions and the sacred in the modern and contemporary world
    Ideas, conceptions and practices of citizenship
    States, nations, languages, peoples, classes
    The globalization of law

The PhD course in Global History and Governance is designed for highly prepared and motivated students who also manage different languages and willing to study in multi and interdisciplinary environment.  Classes are taught either in Italian or English.  Candidates for the PhD are normally expected to hold a master’s degree (or an equivalent qualification) in a subject relevant to the intended topic of study.  The Coordinator is Daniela Luigia Caglioti and the PhD Board for 2018-2019 is here.  The deadline for applying is August 24, 2018.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Kent on Piracy, the Law of Nations and Due Process

Andrew Kent, Fordham University School of Law, has posted Piracy, the Law of Nations, and the Limits of Due Process, which is forthcoming in the Michigan Journal of International Law 39 (2018)
This Article engages the long-running debate about the geographical and contextual scope of U.S. constitutional protections. There is agreement that both citizens and noncitizens enjoy largely equal rights when present within the United States, and that when they venture abroad, U.S. citizens carry most of their constitutional rights with them. But beyond that, there are many disputes. Do noncitizens have any constitutional protection from the U.S. government when it acts against them outside U.S. borders? Does it matter whether the location is the ungoverned high seas or the sovereign territory of another nation? Does the context matter? Is law enforcement different from military force? Does it matter whether the subject is an internationally-recognized sovereign versus a non-state actor?

Scholars have tried to bring the original understanding of the Constitution to bear on these questions, with some hoping to show that individual rights were understood to be global and universal. A vision of extraterritorial constitutional rights for all has most recently been offered by Professor Nathan Chapman, in an article entitled Due Process Abroad, addressing the legal framework for English and American governmental efforts to suppress piracy. Chapman argues that, outside the context of state-to-state warfare, due process required that anyone, anywhere, suspected of violating criminal or civil anti-piracy statutes could only be proceeded against by judicial process, rather than military force.

I conclude that Chapman's historical arguments for global due process are unsupported and unsound. By first examining piracy suppression in the law of nations, English domestic law, and English government practice in the centuries leading up to American independence, and then American law and government practice during the Founding and antebellum periods, I conclude that pirates on the high seas were viewed as outside the protection of domestic and international law and thus could lawfully be subject to summary violence. Although both England and the early United States did frequently use the criminal justice system to address piracy, due process did not require that approach. The extensive use of law enforcement methods (with its attendant procedural protections) was driven by a mix of factors, sounding in international law, government policy, and a concern for fair treatment. These considerations, rather than a misplaced theory about the original meaning of the Constitution, should be at the center of our debates about counterterrorism and other extraterritorial security efforts today, as they were in our predecessors' approach to piracy.

Bazyler on the Holocaust, genocide, and law

Michael Bazyler, Fowler School of Law, Chapman University published Holocaust, Genocide, and the Law: A Quest for Justice in a Post-Holocaust World with Oxford University Press in 2016. From the publisher:
Cover for 

Holocaust, Genocide, and the Law

A great deal of contemporary law has a direct connection to the Holocaust. That connection, however, is seldom acknowledged in legal texts and has never been the subject of a full-length scholarly work. This book examines the background of the Holocaust and genocide through the prism of the law; the criminal and civil prosecution of the Nazis and their collaborators for Holocaust-era crimes; and contemporary attempts to criminally prosecute perpetrators for the crime of genocide. It provides the history of the Holocaust as a legal event, and sets out how genocide has become known as the "crime of crimes" under both international law and in popular discourse. It goes on to discuss specific post-Holocaust legal topics, and examines the Holocaust as a catalyst for post-Holocaust international justice. Together, this collection of subjects establishes a new legal discipline, which the author Michael Bazyler labels "Post-Holocaust Law."
Praise for the book, which won the 2016 National Jewish Book Award:

"Michael Bazyler has written a comprehensive and compelling study of the legal historiography of the Holocaust, the paradigm of radical evil, and of genocide, the 'crime of crimes.' This book makes a singular contribution to the pursuit of international justice, and to the prevention and combatting of mass atrocity and genocide in our time. An indispensable resource." -Irwin Cotler

"A unique and important book. Michael Bazyler presents a broad, up-to-date overview of Holocaust justice ranging from landmark criminal trials to restitution litigation to the prosecution of Holocaust deniers. He also discusses the ramifications of the Holocaust's judicial reckoning on how the world has addressed, successfully or not, contemporary state-sponsored atrocities across the globe."-Norman Goda

"Prof. Bazyler's book is different than other books on the Holocaust. He first depicts the Holocaust as 'a legal event,' arguing that it was the law, and not its absence, that became an instrument for destruction. He then analyzes current efforts to build a legal world based on what he labels 'Post-Holocaust Law.' This book is a must-read." -Dina Porat

"Bazyler deploys considerable legal expertise to underpin his first, and for readers of this Journal arguably most important thesis: that the Nazi persecution of the Jews, leading ultimately to the attempted genocide of the entire Jewish people, was carried out within a framework of law, even though this was in reality a corrupted and perverted form of pseudo-legality in which only the external forms of true legality were preserved." - Anthony Grenville

 Further information is available here.

AJLH 58:2

Here’s the TOC for the American Journal of Legal History 58:2 (June 2018), now available online.

Defending Person and Reputation: Efforts to End Extralegal Violence in Western Virginia, 1890-1900   
Josh Howard

Developing Privacy Rights in Nineteenth-Century Germany: A Choice between Dignity and Liberty?   
Thomas J Snyder

Law versus Equity—as Reflected in Lord Eldon’s Manuscripts   
Michelle Johnson; James Oldham

The Grand Jury of New Zealand in The Nineteenth Century   
Greg Taylor

Book Reviews

Pippa Holloway, Living in Infamy: Felon Disenfranchisement and the History of American Citizenship   
James M Binnall

M.C. Mirow, Latin American Constitutions: The Constitution of Cádiz and its Legacy in Spanish America   
Jonathan M Miller

Joachim Rückert, Abschiede vom Unrecht. Zur Rechtsgeschichte nach 1945 (Beiträge zur Rechtsgeschichte des 20. Jahrhunderts)   
Jean-Louis Halpérin

Ferdinando Mazzarella, Un Diritto per l’Europa industriale. Cultura giuridica ed economica dalla rivoluzione francese al secondo dopoguerra   
Sylvain Bloquet

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

A Symposium on Gordon's "Taming the Past"

Stanford Law Review 70:2 is out online, including a symposium from that conference celebrating the publication of Robert W. Gordon's Taming the Past (Cambridge University Press, 2017), with contributions from Ariela J. Gross , Susanna L. Blumenthal, Roy Kreitner, Sara Mayeux, Kunal M. Parker, Claire Priest, David M. Rabban, Reva B. Siegel, and John Fabian Witt.

Seligman's "Third Degree"

Scott Seligman has published The Third Degree: The Triple Murder that Shook Washington and Changed American Criminal Justice, with Potomac Books, an imprint of the University of Nebraska Press.  We were pleased to receive the following commendation of the book from George Yin, UVA Law, who is related to one of the slain diplomats:
The book provides the back story of Ziang Sung Wan v. U.S., 266 U.S. 1 (1924), one of the important precedents for the 1966 Miranda decision. The case involved a young Chinese student who was accused of murdering one of three Chinese diplomats in Washington, DC in 1919.  The police held the accused in custody for about 10 days, first in New York, then in a DC hotel, and finally at the murder scene, and kept interrogating Wan until he finally confessed to one of the murders. Throughout the period, Wan was ill with the widespread Spanish flu, had no attorney or other help, and was not advised of any rights. Justice Brandeis’s opinion for the unanimous Court overturned Wan’s conviction based on the involuntariness of the confession, and although Wan was tried twice more, he was eventually freed. The book tells the fascinating story, involving cameo appearances of people like John W. Davis, very well.
The press’s description after the jump:
If you’ve ever seen an episode of Law and Order, you can probably recite your Miranda rights by heart. But you likely don’t know that these rights had their roots in the case of a young Chinese man accused of murdering three diplomats in Washington DC in 1919. A frantic search for clues and dogged interrogations by gumshoes erupted in sensational news and editorial coverage and intensified international pressure on the police to crack the case.

Part murder mystery, part courtroom drama, and part landmark legal case, The Third Degree is the true story of a young man’s abuse by the Washington police and an arduous, seven-year journey through the legal system that drew in Warren G. Harding, William Howard Taft, Oliver Wendell Holmes, John W. Davis, and J. Edgar Hoover. The ordeal culminated in a sweeping Supreme Court ruling penned by Justice Louis Brandeis that set the stage for the Miranda warning many years later. Scott D. Seligman argues that the importance of the case hinges not on the defendant’s guilt or innocence but on the imperative that a system that presumes one is innocent until proven guilty provides protections against coerced confessions.

Today, when the treatment of suspects between arrest and trial remains controversial, when bias against immigrants and minorities in law enforcement continues to deny them their rights, and when protecting individuals from compulsory self-incrimination is still an uphill battle, this century-old legal spellbinder is a cautionary tale that reminds us how we got where we are today and makes us wonder how far we have yet to go.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Libson's "Law and Self-Knowledge in the Talmud"

Ayelet Hoffmann Libson, Harvard Law School, has published Law and Self-Knowledge in the Talmud (Cambridge University Press):.  Professor Libson is the Gruss Visiting Professor of Jewish Law at Harvard Law School and an assistant professor of law at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya.  From the press:
This book examines the emergence of self-knowledge as a determining legal consideration among the rabbis of Late Antiquity, from the third to the seventh centuries CE. Based on close readings of rabbinic texts from Palestine and Babylonia, Ayelet Hoffmann Libson highlights a unique and surprising developing in Talmudic jurisprudence, whereby legal decision-making incorporated personal and subjective information. She examines the central legal role accorded to individuals' knowledge of their bodies and mental states in areas of law as diverse as purity laws, family law and the laws of Sabbath. By focusing on subjectivity and self-reflection, the Babylonian rabbis transformed earlier legal practices in a way that cohered with the cultural concerns of other religious groups in Late Antiquity. They developed sophisticated ideas about the inner self and incorporated these notions into their distinctive discourse of law.

Viola on Stalin-era trials in Soviet Ukraine

Lynne Viola, University of Toronto published Stalinist Perpetrators on Trial: Scenes from the Great Terror in Soviet Ukraine with Oxford University Press in 2017. From the publisher:
Cover for 

Stalinist Perpetrators on Trial

Between the summer of 1937 and November 1938, the Stalinist regime arrested over 1.5 million people for "counterrevolutionary" and "anti-Soviet" activity and either summarily executed or exiled them to the Gulag. While we now know a great deal about the experience of victims of the Great Terror, we know almost nothing about the lower- and middle-level Narodnyi Komissariat Vnutrennikh Del (NKVD), or secret police, cadres who carried out Stalin's murderous policies. Unlike the postwar, public trials of Nazi war criminals, NKVD operatives were tried secretly. And what exactly happened in those courtrooms was unknown until now. 
In what has been dubbed "the purge of the purgers," almost one thousand NKVD officers were prosecuted by Soviet military courts. Scapegoated for violating Soviet law, they were charged with multiple counts of fabrication of evidence, falsification of interrogation protocols, use of torture to secure "confessions," and murder during pre-trial detention of "suspects" - and many were sentenced to execution themselves. The documentation generated by these trials, including verbatim interrogation records and written confessions signed by perpetrators; testimony by victims, witnesses, and experts; and transcripts of court sessions, provides a glimpse behind the curtains of the terror. It depicts how the terror was implemented, what happened, and who was responsible, demonstrating that orders from above worked in conjunction with a series of situational factors to shape the contours of state violence. 
Based on chilling and revelatory new archival documents from the Ukrainian secret police archives, Stalinist Perpetrators on Trial illuminates the darkest recesses of Soviet repression -- the interrogation room, the prison cell, and the place of execution -- and sheds new light on those who carried out the Great Terror.
Praise for the book:

"A research tour de force from one of the leading historians of Stalinism, shedding remarkable new light on what happened at the end of the Great Purges. A 'must read' for scholars and students of the Soviet period."-Sheila Fitzpatrick

"This book is exceptional among the voluminous scholarship on Stalin's terror. Lynne Viola has written a fascinating and valuable work. The voices of those hangmen who ultimately became victims of the terror, as well as those they arrested, provide a stark picture of the Great Terror. The author explores the banality of evil in the Stalinist context: from the daily routine of torture and murder emerges the familiar figure of the self-righteous criminal."-Oleg V. Khlevniuk

"Stalinist Perpetrators draws back the curtain on how the Stalinist Terror actually operated--not just how the state ordered it, but how it happened in provincial offices and prison cells. Her subject is the 'purge of the purgers,' the trial and often execution of the men responsible for the Terror. The nature of her source material--voluminous case files on these accused individuals--allows her to reconstruct the process and practices of the Stalinist Terror, including the beatings and torture, at the level of individuals, both in Kyiv and in more mundane provincial cities." -Peter Holquist

"The Stalinist purges of the late 1930s stand as one of the most horrific episodes of state terror in the twentieth century. Yet the perpetrators of those crimes have remained anonymous for many decades, protected mainly by the rules of historical access in Russia. Now, Lynne Viola, working in Ukrainian archives, provides the first remarkable study of the perpetrators. In this groundbreaking book, we see for the first time who these individuals were, their backgrounds, what brought them to their position of life and death decisions, what life was like for them and their families during such a time. Most important, Viola examines with keen and dispassionate acumen how Stalin's murderers justified the torture and killing of hundreds of thousands of their fellow citizens. This is a disturbing book, and one that needs to be read." -David Shearer

Further information is available here.

Bix on Tamanaha on Historical Jurisprudence

Brian Bix, University of Minnesota Law School, has posted A New Historical Jurisprudence? Which appears in the Washington University Law Review 95 (2018): 1035-1047:
As part of a conference on Brian Tamanaha’s book, A Realistic Theory of Law, this article evaluates Tamanaha's claims in favor of Historical Jurisprudence. I agree with Tamanaha that the great works of that school of thought deserve more attention than they are now receiving. Also, as Tamanaha points out, some of the insights of Historical Jurisprudence were adapted by (or emerged independently in) the works of American Legal Realists and Sociological Jurisprudence. Ultimately, though, the article argues that the role of history in understanding law and legal systems must be distinctly different from the role claimed for history by the writers of the Historical Jurisprudence school.
H/t: Legal Theory Blog

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Sunday Book Review Roundup

Anders Walker's The Burning House: Jim Crow and the Making of Modern America is reviewed in The Nation.  Also reviewed in The Nation is We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights by Adam Winkler.

In The New York Times is a review of Catherine Nixey's The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World.  

Sarah E. Igo's "utterly original" The Known Citizen: A History of Privacy in Modern America is reviewed in The Washington Post.

At H-Net is a review of Jimmy Patino's Raza Sí, Migra No: Chicano Movement Struggles for Immigrant Rights in San DiegoAlso at H-Net is a review of Phillipe Sands'  East West Street: On the Origins of "Genocide" and "Crimes Against Humanity".  Also posted on the site is a review of Elizabeth Gillespie McRae's Mothers of Massive Resistance: White Women and the Politics of White Supremacy.

At NPR, Marc Dollinger speaks about his Black Power, Jewish Politics: Reinventing the Alliance in the 1960s.

In a review essay at The New Republic, Mychal Denzel Smith takes up Elaine Tyler May's Fortress America: How We Embraced Fear and Abandoned Democracy and Alex S. Vitale's The End of Policing.  

Denmark Vesey’s Garden: Slavery and Memory in the Cradle of the Confederacy by Ethan Kytle and Blain Roberts are also reviewed at The New Republic

Exploring the historical role these financial institutions have played as "political symbols for a wide variety of ideological interests," Mehrsa Baradaran discusses her The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap at Public Books.  Also at Public Books is a review of Brittney Cooper's Beyond Respectability: The Intellectual Thought of Race WomenCooper's intellectual history of black women thinkers is described as a corrective to the focus "on black male intellectual production and the physical lives of women" and "demands that we dive deeper into the intellectual artifacts left by black women thinkers."

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Weekend Roundup

  • We were saddened to learn of the death of Ira Berlin (1941-2018), an extraordinary scholar and a mentor to so many, including many legal historians. Here are some of the notices from around the web: the Washington Post; the New York Times; the Nation (by Eric Foner); and the Harvard University Press Blog. Scroll through the remembrances on Twitter, too.
  • The Supreme Court has released its much-anticipated decision in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case. For one historian's take on it, see this Washington Post op-ed by Jim Downs (Connecticut College).
  • From the New York Times: Tera W. Hunter (Princeton University) on "the long history of child-snatching."
  • Cambridge University Press reports that, on behalf of the American Bar Foundation, it will now publish Law & Social Inquiry (edited by our recent guest blogger Christopher Schmidt).
  • The DC Bar has published a nice profile of William Eskridge (Yale Law School), for its "member spotlight" series.
Weekend Roundup is a weekly feature compiled by all the Legal History bloggers.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Legal History at LSA 2018

We’ve just received, courtesy of Joanna Grisinger, Northwestern University, and an organizer of the Law and Society Association's Legal History Collaborative Research Network (CRN)  a list of legal history panels at LSA's annual meeting now underway in Toronto.  It appears after the jump.

Siegel and Greenhouse on Roe v. Wade

Reva Siegel and Linda Greenhouse, Yale Law School, have posted The Unfinished Story of Roe v. Wade:
We tell the story of Roe v. Wade for a forthcoming volume in the Foundation Press Law Stories series. To those who support abortion rights, Roe demonstrates the Court’s crucial role in protecting individual rights in the face of determined political opposition. For its critics, Roe was the work of an “unelected” Court creating new constitutional rights; supposedly, by deciding matters properly left to democratic determination, the Court inflamed conflict over abortion and riled our politics.

We explain the origins of the abortion right and conflicts over it differently. The story we tell is not simply a litigation history of a landmark case, but as importantly a story about the democratic foundations of our constitutional law. We start our account of the abortion conflict before Supreme Court litigation begins. Conflict enters the picture well before the courts do, as people argue over the Constitution’s meaning in their everyday lives. We recount how citizens who lacked power in any conventional sense were able over time to change the way the nation and its courts understood longstanding guarantees of liberty, of equality, and of life.

Roe itself, filed in federal district court in Dallas in March 1970, was one of many cases in the late 1960s and early 1970s that invoked the Constitution to challenge the century-old regime of criminal abortion statutes; Roe just happened to be first in line on the Supreme Court's docket. These cases emerged from principled and heated dialogue among powerful social movements that initially did not even have courts in view. The story of Roe v. Wade is the story of conflict born in democratic politics that engendered the rights claims that the Court would ultimately recognize. The conflict continues to this day, even as advocates and their arguments have changed as few would have expected.

This framework offers a fresh context for reading Roe. Enlarging our perspective in this way allows us to recover claims for and against abortion rights to which the Court’s opinion in Roe responded, as well as claims that the Court ignored—claims for women’s equality and for protecting potential life that played an important role in reshaping the abortion right nearly twenty years later in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey.

Deadline for Cromwell Dissertation Prize Extended to June 29

[Recent Ph.Ds who wrote a dissertation related to legal history, what are you waiting for?  Submit now!  H/t: H-Law.]

The William Nelson Cromwell Foundation has generously funded a dissertation prize of $5,000. The winning dissertation may focus on any area of American legal history, including constitutional and comparative studies; topics dealing with the colonial and early national periods will receive some preference. Anyone who received a Ph.D. in 2017 will be eligible for this year’s prize. The Foundation awards the prize after a review of the recommendation of the Cromwell Prize Advisory Committee of the American Society for Legal History.

To be considered for this year’s prize, please send one hard-copy of the dissertation and the curriculum vitae of its author to John D. Gordan, III, Chair of the Cromwell Prize Advisory Committee, and each member of the Cromwell Dissertation Prize Advisory Subcommittee with a postmark no later than June 29, 2018.

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

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

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

 Laura Weinrib
University of Chicago Law School
1111 E. 60th St., Room 410
Chicago, IL 60637

Please contact the dissertation prize committee chair Lisa Ford ( if you have any questions.

Ibhawoh on Africans & the Privy Council

We don't usually go this far back for new book announcements, but we missed this one when it came out in 2013. Bonny Ibhawoh, McMaster University, published Imperial Justice: Africans in Empire' Court with Oxford University Press. From the publisher:
Cover for 

Imperial Justice

 Imperial Justice explores the imperial control of judicial governance and the adjudication of colonial difference in British Africa. Focusing on the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council and the colonial regional Appeal Courts for West Africa and East Africa, it examines how judicial discourses of native difference and imperial universalism in local disputes influenced practices of power in colonial settings and shaped an evolving jurisprudence of Empire.  
Arguing that the Imperial Appeal Courts were key sites where colonial legal modernity was fashioned, the book examines the tensions that permeated the colonial legal system such as the difficulty of upholding basic standards of British justice while at the same time allowing for local customary divergence which was thought essential to achieving that justice. The modernizing mission of British justice could only truly be achieved through recognition of local exceptionality and difference. Natives who appealed to the Courts of Empire were entitled to the same standards of justice as their 'civilized' colonists, yet the boundaries of racial, ethnic, and cultural difference somehow had to be recognized and maintained in the adjudicatory process. Meeting these divergent goals required flexibility in colonial law-making as well as in the administration of justice. In the paradox of integration and differentiation, imperial power and local cultures were not always in conflict but were sometimes complementary and mutually reinforcing.  
The book draws attention not only to the role of Imperial Appeal Courts in the colonies but also to the reciprocal place of colonized peoples in shaping the processes and outcomes of imperial justice. A valuable addition to British colonial literature, this book places Africa in a central role, and examines the role of the African colonies in the shaping of British Imperial jurisprudence.
Praise for the book:

"In his engaging new book, Bonny Ibhawoh navigates his reader through the complicated operation of imperial legality by uncovering the worlds of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) and the colonial appeal courts of West Africa (WACA) and East Africa (EACA) ... Throughout the book, Ibhawoh strikes a good balance between explaining the big picture and the details of many fascinating landmark cases ... This book successfully addresses pertinent questions about the nature of globalization by showing how both empires and marginal actors used judicial spaces to construct their own vision of power, citizenship, and Sovereignty." -Trina Leah Hogg

"Imperial Justice opens the door of a rich archive that provides an additional lens to examine histories of empires. Along with laboratories of legal modernity, appeal courts also showed the forced insertion of Africans within liberalism, individualism, and capitalist monetization of human emotions such as grief and pain as well as the establishment of local rigid social hierarchies. Imperial Justice: African Empire's Court is a necessary monograph on the relationship between jurisprudence and the British Empire." -Giusi Russo

Further information is available here.

Fiti Sinclair on international organizations and modern states

Guy Fiti Sinclair, Victoria University of Wellington Law School published To Reform the World: International Organizations and the Making of Modern States with Oxford University Press in 2017. From the publisher:
Cover for 

To Reform the World

This book explores how international organizations (IOs) have expanded their powers over time without formally amending their founding treaties. IOs intervene in military, financial, economic, political, social, and cultural affairs, and increasingly take on roles not explicitly assigned to them by law. Sinclair contends that this 'mission creep' has allowed IOs to intervene internationally in a way that has allowed them to recast institutions within and interactions among states, societies, and peoples on a broadly Western, liberal model. Adopting a historical and interdisciplinary, socio-legal approach, Sinclair supports this claim through detailed investigations of historical episodes involving three very different organizations: the International Labour Organization in the interwar period; the United Nations in the two decades following the Second World War; and the World Bank from the 1950s through to the 1990s. 
The book draws on a wide range of original institutional and archival materials, bringing to light little-known aspects of each organization's activities, identifying continuities in the ideas and practices of international governance across the twentieth century, and speaking to a range of pressing theoretical questions in present-day international law and international relations.
Praise for the book:

 "Studies on globalization rarely notice the profound role played by international institutions on the ideology and practices of the modern administrative state. In this eye-opening work Sinclair examines the way the International Labour Organization, the UN, and the World Bank have expanded their legal competences, often unnoticed by their member states, so as to impose on the latter definite (Western) models of domestic governance.Thanks to Sinclairs meticulous work, we can now witness how the informal dynamics of international law and practice have, since early 20th century, made global institutions relatively autonomous from their member states, projecting on the latter definite, sometimes deeply contested ideas about good governance. This is a superb study of the globalization of ideology." - Martti Koskenniemi

"International organizations play an unprecedented role in our everyday lives. Guy Sinclair's superb book ranges over and compares three major organizations and their activities over many decades. It illuminates in detail the complex legal, pragmatic and technocratic arguments developed and deployed by organizations to justify their ever expanding practices. It explains in this way how institutions participate in the central themes of global governancewar, peace, developmentand thus shape the modern world. This is an outstanding study of the inner lives of international organizations and the personalities that ran them. It offers enduring insights into issues that will only become more important over time." - Antony Anghie

"With a strong historical rationale, Sinclairs approach avoids both a morality driven vision for a better but far distant future and a power-driven neorealistic narrative of a dark present... This elegantly written and inspiring book investigates the expansion of powers of international organizations as a practice intertwined with the making of modern Western states through the lens of international law." - Journal of the History of International Law

Further information is available here.

Kearley's "Lost in Translations"

Timothy G. Kearley, Professor Emeritus of Law at the University of Wyoming College of Law, has published Lost in Translations: Roman Law Scholarship and Translation in Early Twentieth-Century America, in the Legal History Series (edited by Duke Law’s H. Jefferson Powell) of the Carolina Academic Press:
Earlier generations of Americans were connected to the classical past—to ancient Greece and Rome—to an extent we find hard to understand today. The Founders’ training in Latin and ancient history led them to model their new nation after the Roman Republic, and most educated Americans had broadly similar skills and knowledge until the early twentieth century.  Lost in Translations describes how this connection helped inspire men who were educated in the late 1800s to dedicate much of their lives to translating fundamental documents of Western Civilization—such as Justinian’s Code—and to write extensively about Roman law. This book addresses the history of American education (including legal education), as well as the function of Roman law among the elite bar. The book also uses correspondence and other previously unpublished information to humanize such major figures as Roscoe Pound.

Lost in Translations
focuses on five Roman law scholars (all but one of whom were trained as lawyers) who worked early in the twentieth century: Samuel Parsons Scott (1846–1929), Charles Sumner Lobingier (1866–1956), Charles Phineas Sherman (1874–1962), Fred H. Blume (1875–1971), and Clyde Pharr (1883–1972). Among them, they produced the first English translations of the Codex Theodosianus and Justinian’s entire Corpus Juris Civilis, as well as other ancient Roman laws. This book describes their heroic and often solitary labor, some of which they did not see come to fruition in their own lifetimes. It should be of interest to historians, lawyers, educators, and classicists.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Fisher on Judicial Finality

Louis Fisher’s The Claim of Judicial Finality: Theory Undercut by Experience, is available on the website of the University of New Hampshire Law Review, in which it appears:
Justices of the Supreme Court, legal scholars, and reporters who cover judicial proceedings frequently claim that when the Court issues a constitutional decision it remains final unless the Court changes its mind or the Constitution is amended to reverse the Court. However, the record of more than two centuries offers an entirely different picture. Decisions by the Supreme Court lack finality on constitutional issues partly because the Court makes mistakes and has done so throughout its history. Human institutions, including the judiciary, are prone to miscalculation, including law, history, and political developments. After the Court issues a constitutional decision it does not deprive the elected branches from adopting policies directly contrary to what the Court has announced. This article offers many examples to demonstrate that constitutional interpretation is not centered entirely in the Supreme Court. The process involves all three branches, the states, scholars, and the general public. At times the Court recognizes the deficiency of an earlier decision and overrules it. However, the sole-organ error in Curtiss-Wright (1936) was not corrected by the Court until its decision in Zivotofsky v. Kerry on June 8, 2015. On other occasions, the regular political process offers constitutional interpretations that override the Court.

Bernstein Revisits Buchanan v. Warley

David E Bernstein, George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School, has posted Reflections on the 100th Anniversary of Buchanan v. Warley: Recent Revisionist History and Unanswered Questions, which is forthcoming in the Cumberland Law Review 48 (2018): 101-124:
In 1917, in Buchanan v. Warley, the Supreme Court invalidated a Louisville residential segregation law, one of a wave of such laws spreading through the United States. Even though Buchanan v. Warley was a dramatic victory for racial equality at a time in American history when anti-black racism was at a post-Civil War peak, with an avowed segregationist occupying the White House, the opinion was largely ignored or misinterpreted until recently. The problem has been that Buchanan does not fit the dominant narrative about the so-called Lochner era Supreme Court. Part I of this article reviews scholarship that has challenged the traditional dismissive view of Buchanan v. Warley over the last twenty years.

Part II of this article suggests various research topics raised by Buchanan v. Warley that should receive more scholarly attention, including: (1) How did African Americans manage to migrate to formerly all-white neighborhoods despite restrictive covenants and other barriers?; (2) To what extent did Buchanan v. Warley reflect a viable alternative civil rights vision to the progressive vision that came to dominate legal discourse?; (3) Under what circumstances judicial intervention on behalf of minority groups is likely to occur, and when it is likely to be successful; and (4) To what extent can early twentieth-century progressivism, as opposed to societal racism more generally, can be blamed for the rise of residential segregation ordinances that led to Buchanan?

Cicero Jr., "Creating the Land of Lincoln: The History and Constitutions of Illinois, 1778-1870"

The University of Illinois Press recently released Creating the Land of Lincoln: The History and Constitutions of Illinois, 1778-1870 (April 2018), by Frank Cicero Jr. (independent scholar). A description from the Press:
In its early days, Illinois seemed destined to extend the American South. Its population of transplants lived an upland southern culture and in some cases owned slaves. Yet the nineteenth century and three constitutions recast Illinois as a crucible of northern strength and American progress. 
Frank Cicero Jr. provides an appealing new history of Illinois as expressed by the state’s constitutions—and the lively conventions that led to each one. In Creating the Land of Lincoln, Cicero sheds light on the vital debates of delegates who, freed from electoral necessity, revealed the opinions, prejudices, sentiments, and dreams of Illinoisans at critical junctures in state history. Cicero analyzes decisions large and small that fostered momentous social and political changes. The addition of northern land in the 1818 constitution, for instance, opened up the state to immigrant populations that reoriented Illinois to the north. Legislative abuses and rancor over free blacks influenced the 1848 document and the subsequent rise of a Republican Party that gave the nation Abraham Lincoln as its president. Cicero concludes with the 1870 constitution, revealing how its dialogues and resolutions set the state on the modern course that still endures today.
A few blurbs:
“Well-written, clearly organized, traditional history that shows the changing issues in Illinois politics and government. The focus on the history of slavery is important and noteworthy. A real contribution.”--Ann Durkin Keating 
“Extremely strong in research, clarity, and narrative. As I read, I knew I was in the hands of a skilled researcher, one who had really mastered a complex sequence of events and learned and digested a complex set of political debates.”--Robert Michael Morrissey 
More information is available here.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Malhotra, Isitt and friends on disability

Ravi Malhotra, University of Ottawa and Benjamin Isitt have co-edited Disabling Barriers: Social Movements, Disability History, and the Law, now out with UBC Press. From the publisher: 
Disabling BarriersDisabling Barriers analyzes issues relating to disability at different moments in Canadian and American history. In this volume, legal scholars, historians, and disability-rights activists demonstrate that disabled people can change their social status by transforming the political and legal discourse surrounding disablement.
Traditionally, disabled people were regarded as objects of pity and condescension. The rise of the social model of disablement – which identifies barriers, rather than physiological impairments, as the main problem facing people with disabilities – has resulted in a dramatic reconfiguration of how we regard political and legal structures affecting people with disabilities. Employing tools from the fields of law and history, this volume explores how disabled people have been portrayed and treated in a variety of contexts, including within the labour market, the workers’ compensation system, the immigration process, and the legal system (both as litigants and as lawyers).

This original contribution deepens our knowledge of the role of people with disabilities within social movements in disability history. The contributors encourage us to rethink our understanding of both the systemic barriers disabled people face and the capacity of disabled people to effect positive societal change.

This book will be of interest to scholars in the fields of disability studies, disability history, and disability law, as well as to disability activists in Canada and the United States.
Praise for the book:

"This diverse collection was a pleasure to read. The editors’ disparate backgrounds deliver on a promise suggested from the start: to launch a deep conversation between legal scholars and historians on the premises and promises of social movements where disability has been concerned." -Sue Schweik

"Disabling Barriers examines the concept of disability in relation to broader themes of political economy and social theory. The contributors take an explicitly interdisciplinary approach, examining disability in relation to class and gender, while always remaining aware of the personal issues associated with disability. The essays examine a variety of subjects, some well known, others much less so, but always with fresh approaches and interesting insights. The book provides a valuable addition to the field and deserves a wide audience." -Steven Noll

Here is the Table of Contents:
Foreword / Bryan D. Palmer 
Introduction: Bringing History and Law to Disability Studies / Ravi Malhotra and Benjamin Isitt 
Part 1: Historical Debates on Work and Disability
1 Bearing the Marks of Capital: Solidarities and Fractures in E.T. Kingsley’s British Columbia / Mark Leier
2 Employers, Disabled Workers, and the War on Attitudes in Late Twentieth-Century Canada / Dustin Galer
3 Gender and the Value of Work in Canadian Disability History / Geoffrey Reaume 
Part 2: Debates in Disability Studies
4 Dancing with a Cane: The Public Perception of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Disability / Anne Finger
5 Disability in Motion: Aesthetics, Embodiment, Sensation, and the Emergence of Modern Vestibular Science in the Nineteenth Century / Mark Walters
6 “Of Dark Type and Poor Physique”: Law, Immigration Restriction, and Disability in Canada, 1900–30 / Jen Rinaldi and Jay Dolmage 
Part 3: Legal Debates
7 Battling the Warrior-Litigator: An Exploration of Chronic Illness and Employment Discrimination Paradigms / Odelia R. Bay
8 Towards Full Inclusion: Addressing the Issue of Income Inequality for People with Disabilities in Canada / Megan A. Rusciano
9 Compensating Work-Related Disability: The Theory, Politics, and History of the Commodification-Decommodification Dialectic / Eric Tucker
Further information is available here.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Igo, "The Known Citizen: A History of Privacy in Modern America"

New from Harvard University Press: The Known Citizen: A History of Privacy in Modern America (May 2018), by Sarah E. Igo (Vanderbilt). A description from the Press:
Every day, Americans make decisions about their privacy: what to share and when, how much to expose and to whom. Securing the boundary between one’s private affairs and public identity has become a central task of citizenship. How did privacy come to loom so large in American life? Sarah Igo tracks this elusive social value across the twentieth century, as individuals questioned how they would, and should, be known by their own society. 
Privacy was not always a matter of public import. But beginning in the late nineteenth century, as corporate industry, social institutions, and the federal government swelled, increasing numbers of citizens believed their privacy to be endangered. Popular journalism and communication technologies, welfare bureaucracies and police tactics, market research and workplace testing, scientific inquiry and computer data banks, tell-all memoirs and social media all propelled privacy to the foreground of U.S. culture. Jurists and philosophers but also ordinary people weighed the perils, the possibilities, and the promise of being known. In the process, they redrew the borders of contemporary selfhood and citizenship. 
The Known Citizen reveals how privacy became the indispensable language for monitoring the ever-shifting line between our personal and social selves. Igo’s sweeping history, from the era of “instantaneous photography” to the age of big data, uncovers the surprising ways that debates over what should be kept out of the public eye have shaped U.S. politics and society. It offers the first wide-angle view of privacy as it has been lived and imagined by modern Americans.
A few blurbs:
“A masterful history of the role that privacy has played in the lives of American citizens. Following the ‘known citizen’ over time, Igo brilliantly reveals what it means to be modern—to claim protection against the prying eyes of marketers or the national security state while making one’s self more visible by a social security number or disclosing intimate secrets on social media. An amazing book!”—Brian Balogh 
“From prison cells to memoirs, from suburban living to the big data revolution, this remarkable book chronicles how Americans have defined, debated, and litigated privacy for more than a hundred years. The Known Citizen shows that drawing the line between the private self and public citizen has been the essential modern social question.”—Robert O. Self
More information is available here.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Semley on Citizenship in France's Atlantic Empire

Laurelle Semley, College of the Holy Cross, Massachusetts published To Be Free and French: Citizenship in France's Atlantic Empire with Cambridge University Press in 2017. From the publisher:
To Be Free and FrenchThe Haitian Revolution may have galvanized subjects of French empire in the Americas and Africa struggling to define freedom and "Frenchness" for themselves, but Lorelle Semley reveals that this event was just one moment in a longer struggle of women and men of color for rights under the French colonial regime. Through political activism ranging from armed struggle to literary expression, these colonial subjects challenged and exploited promises in French Republican rhetoric that should have contradicted the continued use of slavery in the Americas and the introduction of exploitative labor in the colonization of Africa. They defined an alternative French citizenship, which recognized difference, particularly race, as part of a "universal" French identity. Spanning Atlantic port cities in Haiti, Senegal, Martinique, Benin, and France, this book is a major contribution to scholarship on citizenship, race, empire, and gender, and it sheds new light on debates around human rights and immigration in contemporary France.
Praise for the book:

"Semley seeks to understand the intersection of citizenship, race, and gender within the 19th- and 20th-century French Atlantic empire. She does this through a series of engaging and well-researched chapters centered on important imperial events where the local and imperial intersect and where imperial subjects see themselves within both French and local identities. … As a whole, the work illustrates the complexity of race, citizenship, and gender in that they often worked together while they were also at odds. Many of the figures described in the book embraced the larger revolutionary ideals of citizenship, but then had to negotiate them within their local contexts. Finally, even as slaves became free and freed men became citizens, women had to wait. … Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above." -T. M. Reese

Further information is available here.

Edds, "We Face the Dawn: Oliver Hill, Spottswood Robinson, and the Legal Team That Dismantled Jim Crow"

New from the University of Virginia Press: We Face the Dawn: Oliver Hill, Spottswood Robinson, and the Legal Team That Dismantled Jim Crow (2018), by Margaret Edds (independent scholar). A description from the Press:
The decisive victories in the fight for racial equality in America were not easily won, much less inevitable; they were achieved through carefully conceived strategy and the work of tireless individuals dedicated to this most urgent struggle. In We Face the Dawn, Margaret Edds tells the gripping story of how the South's most significant grassroots legal team challenged the barriers of racial segregation in mid-century America. 
Virginians Oliver Hill and Spottswood Robinson initiated and argued one of the five cases that combined into the landmark Brown v. Board of Education, but their influence extends far beyond that momentous ruling. They were part of a small brotherhood, headed by social-justice pioneer Thurgood Marshall and united largely through the Howard Law School, who conceived and executed the NAACP’s assault on racial segregation in education, transportation, housing, and voting. Hill and Robinson’s work served as a model for southern states and an essential underpinning for Brown. When the Virginia General Assembly retaliated with laws designed to disbar the two lawyers and discredit the NAACP, they defiantly carried the fight to the United States Supreme Court and won. 
At a time when numerous schools have resegregated and the prospects of many minority children appear bleak, Hill and Robinson’s remarkably effective campaign against various forms of racial segregation can inspire a new generation to embrace educational opportunity as the birthright of every American child.
An advance review:
"The product of prodigious research, We Face the Dawn tells the terrifically important story of a largely unheralded subject. Oliver Hill and Spottswood Robinson lie just outside the pantheon of much-studied NAACP lawyers such as Thurgood Marshall, Charles Houston, and William Hastie. Yet these two lawyers were key figures in the legal arm of the movement, and they practiced in an equally key state, Virginia. Edds has done a painstaking piece of research in unearthing their lives and careers, and her book communicates the rich details of those lives and much of their importance." -- Kenneth W. Mack
More information is available here

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Weekend Roundup

  • In response to news of child-parent separation at the U.S. border, scholars have stepped up to offer historical perspective. Some instances we've come across: Martha Jones (Johns Hopkins) on WNYC's "The Takeaway"; Rebecca Ederling in the Washington Post. 
  • ICYMI: Legal historian Ariela Gross (University of Southern California) has been one of the moving forces in the (successful) campaign for a change in leadership at USC. (Here's a news story about the events that gave rise to the campaign.) Here's her L.A. Times op-ed on how she hopes the university will move forward. 
  • Hendrik Hartog was one of four recipients of the Graduate Mentoring Award at Princeton University.  One of his mentees–and a former LHB Associate Blogger!–Emily Prifogle will be a National Fellow at the Jefferson Scholars Foundation at the University of Virginia next year.
  • Via H-Law we learn of the posting of the ninth installment its its podcast series, conducted by Siobhan Barco.  It is with Holly Brewer, University of Maryland, and discusses her article in the October 2017 issue of the American Historical Review.
  • Now online: The Task of History: An MIT Community Dialogue, held on May 3, 2018, in which “four MIT historians–Lerna Ekmekcioglu, Malick Ghachem, Tanalis Padilla, and Craig Steven Wilder–“ spoke on “how understanding the past can be a powerful tool for shaping the future.,” based on their experiences with the “MIT and Slavery” project.
  • The Special Collections Department of the Georgetown Law Library has recently acquired Metropolitan Police Blotter 27, of the 22nd Precinct New York City.  It spans the dates July 29, 1864 to October 8, 1864. 
  • Over at the Freedom Forum Institute, LHB guest blogger Chris Schmidt's The Sit-Ins is described as "a most compelling read."  
Weekend Roundup is a weekly feature compiled by all the Legal History bloggers.