Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Happy New Year!
Meriwether on Black Voters, Africa, and the 1960 Presidential Campaign
When John F. Kennedy telephoned Coretta Scott King to express sympathy for her jailed husband, he had little idea that his two-minute call would move to center stage in the 1960 presidential election. That call, James H. Meriwether argues, has obscured Kennedy’s broader efforts to secure the support of black voters while not alienating white voters in the no longer “solid South.” Kennedy drew on the growing transnational relationship black Americans had with an ancestral continent undergoing its own freedom struggles, revealing that he was more interested in Africa than in civil rights. Africa, the newest frontier for Kennedy, became a place where he could show his Cold War credentials, find common ground with black American voters, and strengthen his chances to win the presidency.
Schottenhammer on Sino-Japanese Relations from the Kangxi to the Early Qianlong Reigns
Sino-Japanese relations experienced great qualitative changes during the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. By the reign period of the Yongzheng Emperor (r. 1723-1735) one can even speak of a partial reversal of the former master-vassal relationship, which existed during the Ming period: whereas during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries Japan was the vassal which had to obey strict regulations in China and which accepted the formal subordination under the Chinese tribute system, the new Tokugawa rulers, starting from the time of Ieyasu (1542-1616; r. 1603-1616), were no longer willing to restore the former vassal-tribute relations with China. Instead they issued their own trade licenses (shinpai, in Chinese sources also referred to as Wozhao) for foreign ships and initiated a series of new regulations in order to monopolize the China trade more strictly. By the early seventeenth century the Chinese in Japan were increasingly subject to political control and found themselves very much restricted in their mobility, as the Japanese had formerly been in China. At the same time, however, it is evident that both China and Japan still wanted to maintain mutual trade relations, although for different reasons. Whereas the Chinese were primarily interested in Japanese silver and, starting from the late seventeenth century onwards, in Japanese copper, the Japanese mainly sought Chinese silk, medicinal products, medical knowledge, physicians and various other kinds of "practical knowledge" to be imported from China. Because of decreasing copper imports in the course of the first third of the eighteenth century, the Chinese were increasingly dissatisfied with the Japan trade. Developments even prompted high Qing officials to send "secret agents" to Japan to inquire about the causes for reduced export quotas. But in the end none of these "secret missions" had any far-reaching consequences for China's Japan policy. The paper intends to look behind the scenes and to give an overview of the causes and changes in Sino-Japanese relations. In addition, it seeks to provide an answer for why, from the Chinese perspective, these missions remained without consequences and why Japan, despite her rising self-confidence and the subsequent reformation of the China trade at Nagasaki, continued to be considered the 'tiny dwarf country' (cui'erguo) by the Chinese.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
The Promise of Digital History
Digital history is an approach to examining and representing the past that works with the new communication technologies of the computer, the Internet network, and software systems. On one level, digital history is an open arena of scholarly production and communication, encompassing the development of new course materials and scholarly data collections. On another, it is a methodological approach framed by the hypertextual power of these technologies to make, define, query, and annotate associations in the human record of the past. To do digital history, then, is to create a framework, an ontology, through the technology for people to experience, read, and follow an argument about a historical problem.
Digital history scholarship also encourages readers to investigate and form interpretive associations of their own. That might be the defining characteristic of the genre. Readers are not presented with an exhibit, or an article with appendices, or any other analog form simply reprocessed into the Web format....Instead, they are presented with a suite of interpretive elements, ways to gain leverage on the problem under investigation.
Digital history possesses a crucial set of common components—the capacity for play, manipulation, participation, and investigation by the reader. Dissemination in digital form makes the work of the scholar available for verification and examination; it also offers the reader the opportunity to experiment. He or she can test the interpretations of others, formulate new views, and mine the materials of the past for overlooked items and clues. The reader can immerse him/herself in the past, surrounded with the evidence, and make new associations. The goal of digital history might be to build environments that pull readers in less by the force of a linear argument than by the experience of total immersion and the curiosity to build connections. (Versus the narrative anticipation of what comes next, this is a curiosity about what could be related to what and why.)
Steven Mintz, Columbia, adds:
We have now entered Stage 3.0, in which the emphasis is on active learning, collaboration, and enhanced interaction. Wikis, blogs, mash-ups, podcasts, tags, and social networking are the buzz words. These technological innovations offer opportunities to students to share resources and create collaborative projects.
Stage 4.0 lurks just beyond the horizon. It includes three-dimensional virtual reality environments, which allow students to navigate and annotate now-lost historical settings. A stunning example is Lisa M. Snyder’s reconstruction of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
Stage 4.0 is informed by a “constructivist” understanding of learning, in which students devise their own conceptual models for understanding our collective past. With support from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), a colleague in instructional technology, Sara McNeil, and I, are completing MyHistory, which will allow students to create online history portfolios, in which they can develop multimedia projects, and construct timelines, annotate images, and keep notes.
Other participants in this roundtable include Daniel J. Cohen, George Mason University; Michael Frisch, University at Buffalo, State University of New York; Patrick Gallagher, Gallagher & Associates; Kirsten Sword, Indiana University; Amy Murrell Taylor, State University of New York–Albany; and William J. Turkel, University of Western Ontario.
The discussion takes up the impact of digital history on teaching, research, publication, and the field as a whole. Sword sums it up this way: "The new media are profoundly changing the ways most historians work, whether or not we are self-conscious about how we are becoming digital."
Read the rest here.
Hernandez-Saenz Reviews "Empire of Laws and Indian Justice in Colonial Mexico"
With the acquisition of its American colonies, Spain became the first European power to wrestle with issues such as the justification for conquest, the place of the indigenous population in colonial society, and their role as subjects to the crown. Conquest brought new subjects as well as new challenges to the crown, which accepted the defeated as "inferior" subjects of the empire. Legislation sought to separate the conquered from the conquerors by establishing two "republics" that, although complementary, were to be kept separate. Legally, such division continued to exist into the seventeenth century but in reality both encroached on each other and were separated by a large gray area rather than a clear line. Empire of Law and Indian Justice in Colonial Mexico explores the role played by the legal processes "in mediating the relationship among people very differently situated in Spain's empire in the New World."The review continues on H-Law.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Soliz and Joseph on Native American Literature, Ceremony, and Law
Briggs on Villeins' "Choice of Court"
Medieval villagers were assiduous users of legal structures in defence of private interests. To enforce contracts against and recover debts from residents of other villages, rural plaintiffs had to prosecute in courts situated beyond the boundaries of their 'home' manors. The ability to sue elsewhere than the local manor court was thus crucial to commercial development in the countryside. This article explores the obstacles to such litigation, challenging the claim that servile villeinage acted to restrict villagers' choice of court. It lays the foundation for a larger investigation into the importance of villagers as civil litigants in ecclesiastical and royal jurisdictions.Thanks to Rob Richards for the reference. Image credit.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Roberts on The Rockefeller Philanthropies and the Evolution of Public Administration, 1927-36
Friday, December 26, 2008
Lande and Langenfeld on The Evolution of Federal Merger Policy
Money Matters at Tel Aviv University
Richard Sylla, New York University, “The Political Economy of Supplying Money to a Growing Economy: Monetary Regimes and the Search for an Anchor to Stabilize the Value of Money"
Randall Wray, University of Missouri–Kansas City, "An Alternative Approach to Money"
Mitu Gulati, Duke University, Sarah Ludington, North Carolina Central University & Alfred L. Brophy, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, “Applied Legal History: The Case of Odious Debts”
Bruce G. Carruthers, Northwestern University, "Money and Society: A Sociological Perspective"
Jeffrey Sklansky, Oregon State University, “The Middleman as Statesman: Nicholas Biddle and the Problem of Representation in Early American Finance”
Michael Zakim, Tel Aviv University, "Inventing Industrial Statistics"
Christine Desan, Harvard Law School, “Coin Reconsidered: The Political Alchemy of Commodity Money”
Ronen Palan, University of Birmingham, "Financial Centers: The British-Empire, the City-State and Commercially Oriented Politics"
Neta Ziv, Tel Aviv University, "Credit Cooperatives in Early Israeli Statehood: Financial Institutions and Social Transformation"
Elimelech Westreich, Tel Aviv University, "Evolution (of Elements) of Negotiability in Jewish Law in Medieval Spain"
Barry Eichengreen, University of California, Berkeley & Nergiz Dincer, Turkish State Planning Organization, "Central Bank Transparency: Causes, Consequences and Updates”
Anastasia Nesvetailova, City University London, “The End of the Great Illusion: Credit Crunch and Liquidity Meltdown “
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Tushnet, Teles, and "What Consequences Do Ideas Have?"
Teles is essential reading for anyone interested in late 20th century legal history or the role of institution-building in social change efforts. One point Tushnet doesn't raise in this extremely helpful review, in spite of his title, is the way Teles's fine but necessarily focused work underplays the role of certain ideas in "the conservative legal movement."
Steven Teles's book, The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement, is a case study of ideological challenge. Teles, a political scientist, emphasizes the institutional dimensions of such challenges. Relying on interviews and internal documents produced by conservative organizations, he examines the development of conservative litigating groups (i.e., conservative public interest law firms), the growth of the Federalist Society, and the embedding of law and economics within the legal academy. There have been similar studies of liberal public interest law firms and of the rise of liberal legalism in the academy, but Teles's is the first to look on the other side of the ideological divide. And, given the dominance of liberal legal ideology, his analysis brings out in sharp relief many new insights into the institutions that affect the outcomes of ideological contests. In addition, Teles connects his analysis to a broader theme in recent studies of American political development. The rise of the
conservative legal movement was intimately connected to changes in the dominant political order that have occurred over the past thirty years: the decay of the New Deal-Great Society political order, and the Reagan Revolution and its limits. In these ways Teles provides a firm foundation for thinking (or perhaps merely speculating) about future developments in the institutional apparatuses associated with conservative and liberal legal thought.
This Review summarizes and critiques Teles's analysis of the three components of the conservative legal movement, beginning with the least important, law and economics in the legal academy, and then turning to conservative public interest law firms and the Federalist Society. It concludes with some speculations about the future of that movement, in light of the connection Teles rightly draws between that movement and the American political regime of the late twentieth century.
Left out of Teles's account is the role of the religious right, and I suspect that this is the reason that abortion rights play so little role in Teles's description of legal conservatism. Roe v. Wade was not just a case, but also a catalyst for organizing against the Court, enabling fund raising efforts and mass mobilization.
Others have criticized Teles for this absence, and Teles, a careful political scientist, has an appropriate response: First, another book covers religious conservatives, Steven Brown’s Trumping Religion: The New Christian Right, The Free Speech Clause, and the Courts (Alabama, 2004), and "One of the main reasons I did not go into the subject at any greater length than I did was that I did not feel I had much to offer that Brown had not already covered." Second, and perhaps more important, Teles explains: "while I believed I was already reasonably far up the learning curve on the subjects I covered in the book (despite not being a lawyer), I do not have any particular training or background in Christian conservatism....To write a book like mine that covered Christian conservatives would require that the author have an intuitive sense of that part of the movement, and in all honesty, that is not part of my intellectual capital." He develops this point here.
But this means that Teles's point that he could only do so much and has not written a comprehensive history of legal conservatism must be kept in mind when we draw lessons from this work about the content and impact of the conservative legal movement. (I also wonder whether conservative women, who rarely appear in this otherwise excellent book, would play more of a role in a broader account.)
Because of this, although the book is a must-read for anyone interested in legal thought in the late 20th century, the limitations of Teles's methodology mean that, at least when it comes to the movement's motivating ideas, it cannot be read as a history of the conservative legal movement, but instead of critically important parts of it.
Stopler on The Role of Patriarchal Religion and Culture in the Subordination of Women
Finkelman on Regulating the Slave Trade
In 1807 the U.S. Congress passed legislation, which became effective on January 1, 1808, to end all importations of slaves into the United States. Even before that date, Congress had passed a series of laws which prevented Americans from participating in the trade as sailors, ship captains, ship owners, ship builders, or investors in slave trading ventures. The bicentennial of closing the trade to United States provides an appropriate moment to examine how the United States withdrew from this form of commerce. At one level, the tale is inspiring. This was the first time in history that a slaveholding nation voluntarily ceased to import new slaves. At another level, this is a cautionary, but nevertheless instructive, tale about how to use law to effectuate social change.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Kiel on Desegregation in the Memphis City Schools
Sugrue and McMillen at the Miller Center
On Monday, January 12, at 11:00 AM, Thomas J. Sugrue, the Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Professor of History and Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, will present (and sign copies of) his new book, Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North (Random House, 2008). Sugrue is a specialist in twentieth-century American politics, urban history, civil rights, and race and is the author of The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit (Princeton University Press, 1996), which won the Bancroft Prize in American History, the Philip Taft Prize in Labor History, and the President's Book Award of the Social Science History Association.
On Friday, January 23, at 12:30 PM, Christian McMillen, Department of History, University of Virginia, will present two papers: "The Historians' Brief in Carcieri v Kempthorne," an Indian law case from the Supreme Court's current term, and "Proof, Evidence and History in Indigenous Land Claims," a paper blending history with the law in the early years of Indian claims. McMillen is the author of Making Indian Law: The Hualapai Land Case and the Birth of Ethnohistory (Yale University Press, 2007), which has recently won book prizes from the American Society for Legal History and the William Nelson Cromwell Foundation.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Law and History Review 27:2
Rebecca Probert, Control over Marriage in England and Wales, 1753-1823: The Clandestine Marriages Act of 1753 in Context
It has been widely assumed that the Clandestine Marriages Act of 1753 was absolute in its requirement that parental consent be given to the marriage of any minor, and that the period during which it was in force marked a distinctive epoch in English legal history in this respect. Yet even after the Act the absence of parental consent did not invalidate a marriage in all circumstances, and there were a number of ways in which parental control could be avoided. Moreover, both the earlier canon law and the legislation that in 1823 replaced the 1753 Act also required parental consent, even if its absence did not render a marriage void. There has also been a tendency to view the provisions of the 1753 Act in isolation from other legal initiatives, but within the propertied classes conditions in wills that made financial provision dependent on the recipient marrying with the consent of a named person provided a further layer of control, as did the wardship jurisdiction of the Court of Chancery. Viewed in context, the 1753 Act was both less drastic and less distinctive than has been assumed, and the extent to which a minor’s choice of marriage partner might be constrained varied considerably according to class and gender.Daniel R. Ernst, The Politics of Administrative Law: New York’s Anti-Bureaucracy Clause and the O’Brian-Wagner Campaign of 1938
In the latter half of 1938 administrative procedure was at the center of political debate in New York State. In August a constitutional convention adopted, subject to ratification in the fall, a provision to permit courts to determine for themselves the facts underpinning the adjudications of state agencies. In October John Lord O’Brian’s bid to unseat U.S. Senator Robert F. Wagner became a referendum on the procedures of his legislative offspring, the National Labor Relations Board. The controversies revealed divisions in the legal profession and the party system that would ultimately determine how the bureaucracies of the 1930s were incorporated into the American legal and political order. Trial lawyers in the New York State Bar Association and “Old Guard” Democrats and Republicans pressed for heightened judicial review. They were opposed by Wall Street lawyers and liberals in the state Republican Party who preferred to make agencies’ procedures more like those of the courts. The election returns in November showed the political superiority of this “procedural Diceyism” and had implications for the history of party competition, the sociology of the legal profession, and the New Deal.Leslie J. Reagan, Rashes, Rights, and Wrongs in the Hospital and in the Courtroom: German Measles, Abortion, and Malpractice before Roe and Doe
This essay analyzes an innovation in malpractice law–now known as “wrongful birth” and “wrongful life” suits–through a close reading of trial transcripts and surrounding legal, medical, and popular media materials. These suits first arose in the early 1960s in the midst of the German measles epidemic when the nation feared the disease and its “crippling” effects on the developing fetus. The trial record exposed much of medical practice, physician-patient communication, and ideas about disability, but it also suppressed crucial information. Analyzed in conjunction with media sources and the social record, these suits reveal the complex and subtle ways in which reputations, religion, race, and class entered medical decision-making about providing medical care, in these cases, therapeutic abortions. Finally, this article provides a new perspective on the cultural and parental attitudes toward children with disabilities in the 1960s.Mary Ziegler, The Framing of a Right to Choose: Roe v. Wade and the Changing Debate on Abortion Law
Roe v. Wade has produced an impressive body of historical scholarship, focused on rights-based arguments and alliances that shape abortion debate today. However, before Roe, policy-based arguments were at least as important to abortion advocacy. One such argument described abortion as a method of population control, designed to cut welfare expenses, reduce pollution, or cut illegitimacy rates. By shifting the balance in the debate away from policy-based arguments, including those related to population control, Roe reshaped the coalitions involved in the abortion debate. Before Roe, supporters of population control, now not associated with pro-choice advocacy, were willing to support abortion reform. In turn, pro-life activists emphasized the threat that population control might pose to African-Americans, and some African-Americans who supported abortion after Roe opposed abortion reform when, before the decision, abortion was thought of as population control. Roe helped to change the rhetoric and coalitions that define abortion debate. By neglecting this change, the leading histories have missed what Roe reveals about how judicial decisions matter politically and culturally. In re-framing a political issue, a judicial decision can help to reshape the coalitions and arguments that define the debate.
Aroney on Australia and ideas about federalism in the late 19th century
Two from Roberts on the Brownlow Committee and dissent within the academic community
In 1938, Congress rejected a package of administrative reforms that had been developed by a committee of academics headed by Louis Brownlow. The defeat was the worst that President Roosevelt would suffer in three terms as President. This article suggests that the Brownlow Committee contributed to the debacle in Congress by ignoring evidence that its recommendations would prove contentious. It is argued that the committee members were caught in a dilemma: On the one hand, they wanted to obtain immediate reforms for a president to whom they felt a personal loyalty; on the other, they needed to maintain a demonstration of neutrality, which made it difficult to undertake the tasks of political management that were essential to craft a viable reform program. The demonstration of neutrality was a combination of arguments and routines that the academic community had invented to allay public skepticism about its members' trustworthiness as advisers on contentious issues.
Roberts' second paper is The Brownlow-Brookings Feud: The Politics of Dissent within the Academic Community. It appeared in the Journal of Policy History (1995). Here's the abstract:
In January, 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt submitted an ambitious plan for administrative reform of the national government to Congress. The Brownlow recommendations produced intense debate in Congress. However, some of the most
important skirmishes in this battle were not fought in public, and even after half a century remain largely obscured from public view. One such skirmish was the contest within the academic community about the recommendations on administrative reform that were to be put before Congress. This paper considers why all three parties to this fight -- the Brownlow Committee, the Brookings Institution, and the Rockefeller Foundation -- went to such lengths to avoid public disagreement about the Brownlow recommendations. A public disagreement threatened to undermine the academic community's demonstration of neutrality, and thus to undermine the stability of the Public Administration community itself.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Rehnquist Papers Release Delayed
The initial release of papers is discussed here. As Mauro notes, "scholars were eagerly awaiting the next group, which includes correspondence and memoranda Rehnquist wrote and received throughout his career, as well as copies of his own opinions, and drafts and manuscripts of the four non-fiction books he wrote while on the Court."
The rest of the story is here. Hat tip to Mauro.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Over 1000 historians write Obama about the economic stimulus plan, the New Deal, and working women
we are heartened by your commitment to a jobs stimulus program inspired by the New Deal and aimed at helping "Main Street." We firmly believe that such a strategy not only helps the greatest number in our communities but goes a long way toward correcting longstanding national problems.
For all our admiration of FDR's reform efforts, we must also point out that the New Deal's jobs initiative was overwhelmingly directed toward skilled male and mainly white workers. This was a mistake in the 1930s, and it would be a far greater mistake in the 21st century economy, when so many families depend on women's wages and when our nation is even more racially diverse.
We all know that our country's infrastructure is literally rusting away. But our social infrastructure is equally important to a vibrant economy and livable society, and it too is crumbling. Investment in education and jobs in health and care work shore up our national welfare as well as our current and future productivity. Revitalizing the economy will require better and more widespread access to education to foster creative approaches and popular participation in responding to the many challenges we face.
As you wrestle with the country's desperate need for universal health insurance, we know you are aware that along with improved access we need to prioritize expenditure on preventive health. We could train a corps of health educators to work in schools and malls and medical offices. As people live longer, the inadequacy of our systems of care for the disabled and elderly becomes ever more apparent. While medical research works against illness and disability, there is equal need for people doing the less noticed work of supervision, rehabilitation, prevention, and personal care.
We are also concerned that if the stimulus package primarily emphasizes construction, it is likely to reinforce existing gender inequities. Women today make up 46 percent of the labor force. Simple fairness requires creating that proportion of job opportunities for them. Some of this can and should be accomplished through training programs and other measures to help women enter traditionally male-occupied jobs. But it can also be accomplished by creating much-needed jobs in the vital sectors where women are now concentrated.
The most popular programs of the New Deal were its public jobs. They commanded respect in large part because the results were so visible: tens of thousands of new courthouses, firehouses, hospitals, and schools; massive investment in road-building, reforestation, water and sewage treatment, and other aspects of the nation's physical plant--not to mention the monumental Triborough Bridge, and the Grand Coulee and Bonneville dams. But the construction emphasis discriminated against women. At best women were 18% of those hired and, like non-white men, got inferior jobs. While some of the well-educated obtained jobs through the small white-collar and renowned arts programs, the less well-educated were put to work in sewing projects, often at busy work, and African American and Mexican American women were slotted into domestic service. This New Deal policy assumed that nearly all women had men to support them and underestimated the numbers of women who were supporting dependents.
Today most policy-makers recognize that the male-breadwinner-for-every-household assumption is outdated. Moreover, experts agree that, throughout the globe, making jobs and income available to women greatly improves family well-being. Most low-income women, like men, are eager to work, but the jobs available to them too often provide no sick leave, no health insurance, no pensions, and, for mothers, pay less than the cost of child care. The part-time jobs that leave mothers adequate time to care for their children almost never provide these benefits.
Meanwhile the country needs a stronger social as well as physical infrastructure. Teachers, social workers, elder- and child-care providers and attendants for disabled people are overwhelmed with the size of their classes and caseloads. We need more teachers and teachers' aides, nurses and nurses' aides, case workers, playground attendants, day-care workers, home care workers; we need more senior centers, after-school programs, athletic leagues, music, and art lessons. These are not luxuries, although locality after locality has had to cut them. They are the investments that can make the U.S. economically competitive as we confront an increasingly dynamic global economy. Like physical infrastructure projects, these jobs-rich investments are, literally, ready to go.
A jobs-centered stimulus package to revitalize and “green” the economy needs to make caring work as important as construction work. We need to rebuild not only concrete and steel bridges but also human bridges, the social connections that create cohesive communities. We need a stimulus program that is maximally inclusive. History shows us that these concerns cannot be postponed until big business has returned to "normal." We look to the new administration not just for recovery but for a more humane direction—and in the awareness that what happens in the first 100 days and in response to immediate need sets the framework for the longer haul of reform.
Quint on Currie on the German Constitution
Particularly in his later work, Professor Currie became an important legal historian, tracing the history of the American Supreme Court and the history of constitutional debates in Congress in six comprehensive volumes. His interest in constitutional history--and his evident conviction that this history has strong illuminating power for the present--also comes through very clearly in his work on the German Constitution.Update: It turns out that Quint's article is part of a symposium issue of the German Law Journal, devoted to Professor Currie's work.
Rosen on Andrew Jackson's Military Tribunals
In April 1818, during the First Seminole War, General Andrew Jackson captured and executed two British allies of the Seminoles in Spanish Florida. During the months following the executions, Americans vigorously debated the validity of Jackson's conduct, contesting and defending the general's decision to deny Alexander Arbuthnot and Robert Ambrister the rights normally accorded to prisoners of war. The extensive congressional discussion of the executions and the comprehensive newspaper coverage indicate that the incident was prominent and important to contemporaries. As the Boston Intelligencer observed, the public mind was "in a ferment" on the subject.Image credit. And thanks to Robert Richards for the reference.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Price on Stability and Change in Antebellum Property Law: A Study of Judicial Rhetoric
Fellowship in Cold War History
a dissertation and post-doctoral fellowship as well as several travel grants for the 2009-2010 academic year. Our mission is to support research on the Cold War at home and the ways in which this ideological and geopolitical conflict with the Soviet Union affected American politics, culture, and society. We are particularly interested in proposals that deal with the impact that the Cold War had on the U.S. political economy, the national security state, civil rights, civil liberties, labor relations, and gender relations. The Center also looks forward to supporting projects that relate foreign policy to domestic politics and those that see the central issue as U.S. response to revolutionary nationalism and decolonization in Asia, Latin America, and Africa.Hat tip: H-Law. Image credit.
The application deadline is February 1, 2009. In order to apply, please send the information listed below to Professor Marilyn Young and Dr. Michael Nash (co-directors), Center for the United States and the Cold War, Tamiment Library, New York University, 70 Washington Square South, New York, N.Y. 10012.
1. Copy of curriculum vitae.
2. Short project description (five pages maximum).
3. Statement describing the relevance of the collections of the Tamiment Library to the project.
4. Two letters of recommendation.
5. Writing samples are also welcome.
Applicants for dissertation fellowships must have passed their comprehensive examinations and expect to complete their dissertations within two years. The post-doctoral fellowship is designed for junior scholars who have received the Ph.D. within the past five years. Travel grants are open to all.
Dissertation fellows will receive stipends of $20,000 for a nine-month academic year; stipends for post-doctoral fellows will be $40,000; and travel grants are $2,000 per month. One-semester fellowships may be offered at half of the above stipends. Health insurance is also available. Office space will be provided and all fellows will have a formal affiliation with New York University.
For more information applicants are encouraged to contact either Marilyn Young (Marilyn.Young@nyu.edu; 212-998-8610) or Michael Nash (Michael.Nash@nyu.edu; 212-998-2428).
Hovenkamp on Neoclassicism and the Separation of Ownership and Control
Lewis on Prohibition Referenda, 1907-1919
Michael Lewis, Access to Saloons, Wet Voter Turnout, and Statewide Prohibition Referenda, 1907–1919, 32 SOCIAL SCIENCE HISTORY 373 (2008). Here is the abstract:
When explaining the success of the Prohibition movement in the United States between 1900 and 1920, scholars argue that prohibitionists were able both to tap into the distrust of many rural, native-born, evangelical Protestants toward modern urban life and to bring together disparate groups of reformers around one goal: the elimination of the saloon. Furthermore, localized campaigns resulting in the elimination of saloons from many rural areas kept this base of voters energized, ultimately leading to impressive dry turnouts in statewide Prohibition referenda. This study extends and amplifies these findings through an analysis of three sets of factors on voting outcomes: the percentage of various demographic groups (urban, immigrant, and ritualistic religious populations) residing in a county; the distance of each county to saloons; the presence or absence of producers of alcohol in a county. Results of ordinary least-squares regression demonstrate that access to saloons and the percentage of immigrant and ritualistic church members in a county are the variables that most influence the results of Prohibition referenda. Furthermore, unlike what previous research has demonstrated, these variables have their greatest influence by affecting wet turnout rates.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Rees on The Early Constitutional History of Maryland
This article tells the story of the evolution of Maryland's Constitution from 1632 to 1851. That story includes not only the remarkable evolution described above, but also a number of developments important to American constitutional history. This history of the Maryland Constitution spans the colonial era, revolutionary times, and early statehood (before the Civil War).
In the colonial era, the 1632 Charter of Maryland provided a kind of constitution and a representative assembly for the Province of Maryland, one of the first in the colonies. An "Act ordeining certain Laws for the Goverment of this Province," enacted in 1639, was a temporary legislative bill of rights and perhaps "the first American Bill of Rights." An "Act Concerning Religion," also known as the Toleration Act of 1649, recognized a measure of freedom of conscience and was probably the first document protecting the free exercise of religion.
In revolutionary times, an Association of the Freemen of Maryland (1775) helped establish a republican form of government and placed Maryland in a union of American colonies. A Declaration, dated July 6, 1776, proclaimed Maryland an independent state, based on the sovereignty of the people. Maryland's first constitution of the people, also in 1776, had separated powers and a Declaration of Rights.
In the early statehood period, the case of Whittington v. Polk, like Marbury v. Madison in the United States Supreme Court, established judicial review, i.e., that courts are the primary interpreters and enforcers of the constitution. Amendments to the constitution in 1802, 1810, and afterward extended the franchise beyond those initially entitled to vote, i.e., free, white, male, 21 years of age, and property owners. Reform amendments to the constitution (1837-1838) provided direct popular elections of certain state officials and reapportionment of the House of Delegates, the lower house of the Maryland General Assembly. The Constitution of 1851 provided for popular participation in constitutional change by regularly taking "the sense of the people" as to calling a constitutional convention.
Some developments after 1851 are briefly described to show how matters have continued to evolve.
Rösler on Harmonizing the German Civil Code with a Modern Constitution
Legal History Forum at Hebrew University, Jerusalem
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Holiday gift for your favorite legal historian
The American Right and U.S. Labor at UC Santa Barbara
On the national scene and at the local level, the next few months promise to generate an intense debate on key issues facing the U.S. labor movement, as well as working Americans more generally. The effort to pass, or defeat, the Employee Free Choice Act will be central to this fight, but so too are questions arising over the role labor will play in the bailout of the financial, housing, and automobile sectors of the economy and in the character of the economic stimulus and recovery package now being crafted by the Obama Administration. Of course, an intense and systematic hostility to trade unionism on the part of American conservatism is hardly news. It has been a notable feature of the nation's political landscape for decades. But an understanding and deconstruction of this phenomenon requires something more than mere condemnation, especially during the next few years when an effort to reform American labor law, along with the rise of labor's influence within the Democratic Party, is almost certain to generate a furious and determined counter attack from those who seek to limit the power and marginalize the legitimacy of U.S. trade unionism.
Our conference, "The American Right and U.S. Labor," will explore the character of the political institutions, ideological impulses, and journalistic/rhetorical tropes deployed by those who oppose working-class self-organization and seek to delegitimize it in the larger world of culture, politics, and economic life. We have invited more than 30 historians, economists, sociologists, and legal scholars, among them Michael Honey, Sanford Jacoby, David Brody, Jefferson Cowie, Joe McCartin, David Witwer, Gordon Lafer, Catherine Fisk, John Logan, Reuel Schiller, Judith Stein, and Mel Dubofsky. The keynote speaker is Fred Feinstein, former General Counsel, National Labor Relations Board.
Lacey on the Context and Significance of the Hart-Fuller Debate
Images: Fuller (l), Hart (r).
Lesaffer on the nature of legal history
It would be so helpful to hear from legal historians outside the U.S. on their sense of the field. Here's an excerpt from Lesaffer:
First, there is the study of ‘history in law’. Lawyers, in whatever capacity, often need to refer to the past in order to argue the existence or the interpretation of a certain rule. Whether the formal source of the rule is customary, legislative, judicial or jurisprudential, the rule roots in a more or less remote past. A rule’s history is an inherent as well as constitutive part of it....
Second, there is ‘law in history’. This refers to the study of law within its broad social, economic, cultural and political context. The object of study is the mutual interaction between law and society at a certain time and certain place in history. This kind of historical research into the law is more often conducted by historians working in history departments rather than law schools and is, in terms of methodology, the most ‘historical’ of all three. What this entails will be explained in the final pages of this chapter.
Third, there is ‘history of law’. This type of legal historical literature holds a middle position in the continuum between the former two. This type of legal history is first and foremost the preserve of legal historians who hold law degrees and are attached to law schools or legal research institutes. Under this denominator falls research which considers law as a self-contained historical phenomenon. The purpose of this type of legal history is to understand what the ‘law’ was at a certain time and place in history. It only differs from the study of contemporary law in that it concerns law from the past. The object of study may be either the law system as a whole, or just a particular branch, institution, principle, rule or concept. While often one refers to the study of the law as a whole as external legal history and of particular parts of its as internal legal history, it would be more correct to speak of macro- and micro-legal history. The term external legal history could better be applied to ‘law in history’ and internal legal history to ‘history of law’.