Thursday, May 6, 2010

Legal History "Comps"

A friend recently asked me to revisit my “exam lists,” compilations of readings in specialized fields that I used to prepare for one of the major hurdles of the Ph.D. process, the comprehensive exams. This friend was compiling her legal history list and wanted to know how I put mine together. Looking back, the list seems to break down into three categories: legal history “classics” (e.g., Morton Horwitz’s 2-volume The Transformation of American Law); important books that cover themes, topics, or time periods that I also traverse; and books that are directly relevant to my dissertation.

But there are a handful of books and articles that I read for different reasons and that I’ve returned to often. These are sources that blend theory and method. They raise questions that all legal historians should grapple with; they explore the different vantage points from which to view legal historical sources; and they interrogate what it means, ultimately, to do legal history. My list includes:
What would you all suggest to legal history graduate students?

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