Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cambridge UP Article Rental

It's the wrong time of year for an April fool's prank, so perhaps someone can weigh in on how the Cambridge University Press new article rental program will affect the Law and History Review. It's described on the Chronicle of Higher Ed's Wired Campus Blog:
Will researchers pay for short-term access to journal articles? Cambridge University Press is about to find out. The publisher has just announced a rental program for articles from the more than 280 peer-reviewed journals it publishes.

“For just £3.99, $5.99 or €4.49, users are now able to read single articles online for up to 24 hours, a saving of up to 86% compared with the cost of purchasing the article,” the press said in an announcement. “After registration and payment, the reader is e-mailed a link, through which they can access and read the article in PDF format as often as they wish during the subsequent 24 hours.”

Readers may not download, print, or copy and paste the articles. That’s similar to the conditions set by DeepDyve, which also offers 24-hour, no-download access to research articles, but on a monthly subscription basis.
Would you "rent" an article under these terms?

Welcome, Felicia Kornbluh!

Image credit
We are thrilled to announce that Felicia Kornbluh will be joining us for the month of December.  She is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Vermont, where she is also the Director of the Program in Women's and Gender Studies.  Her 2007 book The Battle for Welfare Rights: Poverty and Politics in Modern America (University of Pennsylvania Press) won high praise for illuminating the complexities of the welfare rights movement in one of its epicenters, New York City, and for providing broader insights into women's activism, poverty law and policy, civil rights, and urban politics in the post-World War Two U.S.  She is also the author of a terrific recent JAH article on the National Federation of the Blind and the "Right to Organize" in the 1950s.

She is currently deep into a study of gender, disability, and the law of equality, which centers on activist-scholar Jacobus tenBroek, but I know that she has other irons in the fire as well. We are looking forward to hearing about them. Welcome, Felicia Kornbluh!

Mel Urofsky, Kermit Hall, and New York Times v. Sullivan

With his newest book, Mel Urofsky has accomplished something important and, for me, unexpected.  In New York Times v. Sullivan: Civil Rights, Libel Law, and the Free Press, in the University Press of Kansas series, Landmark Law Cases and American Society, he brings back Kermit Hall, and reminded me of how much I miss him. 

Kermit Hall
Kermit was writing about the important First Amendment case New York Times v. Sullivan when he went for a swim near his home at Hilton Head, South Carolina, in August 2006.  After what was described as a "swimming accident," he was rescued, but then died.  Kermit was sixty-one.  At the time, he was President of the University at Albany.  He is remembered for his leadership, mentorship and his scholarship.  I remember him most importantly as one a handful of people who welcomed me into the community of legal historians in a way that made me feel, from the beginning, that even though I was an unknown and very junior legal historian in Iowa, I was both welcomed and valued.

Now Mel brings Kermit back to us.  At the request of Kermit's editor, Mel took up Kermit's unfinished manuscript.  There was much to complete, but the book is now in print, and will surely be an excellent teaching resource.  So we have two things to thank Mel Urofsky for:  another wonderful book, and a chance to remember Kermit Hall.

Here's the book description from the press:
Illuminating a classic case from the turbulent civil rights era of the 1960s, two of America's foremost legal historians--Kermit Hall and Melvin Urofsky--provide a compact and highly readable updating of one of the most memorable decisions in the Supreme Court's canon.

When the New York Times published an advertisement that accused Alabama officials of willfully abusing civil rights activists, Montgomery police commissioner Lester Sullivan filed suit for defamation. Alabama courts, citing factual errors in the ad, ordered the Times to pay half a million dollars in damages. The Times appealed to the Supreme Court, which had previously deferred to the states on libel issues. The justices, recognizing that Alabama's application of libel law threatened both the nation's free press and equal rights for African Americans, unanimously sided with the Times.

As memorably recounted twenty years ago in Anthony Lewis's Make No Law, the 1964 decision profoundly altered defamation law, which the Court declared must not hinder debate on public issues even if it includes "vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials." The decision also introduced a new First Amendment test: a public official cannot recover damages for libel unless he proves that the statement was made with the knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false.

Hall and Urofsky, however, place a new emphasis on this iconic case. Whereas Lewis's book championed freedom of the press, the authors here provide a stronger focus on civil rights and southern legal culture. They convey to readers the urgency of the civil rights movement and the vitriolic anger it inspired in the Deep South. Their insights place this landmark case within a new and enlightening frame.
And the blurbs:
"By connecting what most commentators have seen as a controversial freedom of press case to the contentious civil rights movement that produced it, Hall and Urofsky have provided new insights into both legal and political history. An excellent and accessible book about an important moment in American history."--Steven F. Lawson, author of Civil Rights Crossroads: Nation, Community, and the Black Freedom Movement
"When the court declared that `debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open,' it said something profound, and this account properly focuses on that extraordinary finding. . . . A remarkably timely book."--Todd Gitlin, author of The Sixties: Years of Hope, Years of Rage

Hickman, The Most Dangerous Branch: The Supreme Court and Its Critics in the Warren Court Era

"The Most Dangerous Branch: The Supreme Court and Its Critics in the Warren Court Era" is a recent dissertation of interest by Christopher Allen Hinkman, George Washington University.  I was going to post the abstract, but I'm unable to copy and paste it.  But here's the entire dissertation!  Chapter Six focuses on Alexander Bickel.

The most dangerous branch: The Supreme Court and its critics in the Warren Court era.

A Posthumanist Approach to the Debate on Women's Suffrage

Ruth A. Miller, an Associate Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, has published Seven Stories of Threatening Speech: Women's Suffrage Meets Machine Code with the University of Michigan Press.  Here is the press’s description, which describes the work as “a radical methodological initiative” for specialists in law as well as historians and others.
In Seven Stories of Threatening Speech: Women's Suffrage Meets Machine Code, Ruth A. Miller demonstrates the potential of taking nonhuman linguistic activity-such as the running of machine code-as an analytical model. Via a lively discussion of 19th-century pro- and antisuffragists, Miller tells a new computational story in which language becomes a thing that executes physically or mechanically through systems, networks, and environments, rather than a form for human recognition or representation. Language might be better understood as something that operates but never communicates, that sorts, stores, or reproduces information but never transmits meaning. Miller makes a compelling case that the work that speech has historically done is in need of reevaluation. She severs the link between language and human as well as nonhuman agency, between speech acts and embodiment, and she demonstrates that current theories of electoral politics have missed a key issue: the nonhuman, informational character of threatening linguistic activity.

Seven Stories of Threatening Speech thus represents a radical methodological initiative not just for scholars of history and language but for specialists in law, political theory, political science, gender studies, semiotics, and science and technology studies. It takes posthumanist scholarship to an exciting and essential, if sometimes troubling, conclusion.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Age of Fracture Roundtable on the U.S. Intellectual History Blog

U.S. Intellectual History has posted comments from a Roundtable on Daniel Rodgers, Age of Fracture.  The panel was held at the Fourth Annual U.S. Intellectual History Conference recently in New York.  This may be of interest to legal historians. Rodgers' book incorporates some aspects of late 20th Century legal history into his broader analysis of the way ideas fracture in late 20th century American thought.

To follow the discussion, I would start with Andrew Hartman's excellent opening comment, since he lays out the ideas in the book as a whole. In Rodgers' book, Alexander Bickel is something of a peripheral character.  My remarks set him in the center of constitutional theory in the 1960s and 70s, which I think clarifies the intellectual environment within which the 1980s originalists, who Rodgers focuses more directly on, were writing.  But I started with something else entirely:  the experience of going to law school at a time when the developments in Rodgers' book were unfolding.  (Mine is just a small conference comment.  The most important work on the history of Yale Law School is of course Laura Kalman's.)  My comment assumes that you've read the book, so apologies if it's a bit opaque.

U.S. Intellectual History, which began as a blog, has now become a "real" organization (you can join here).  I would keep an eye out for it.  We need their serious treatment of ideas in history.  And frankly, they need us to get the legal history part of this right.  For coverage of the conference, see this New York Times piece.

J. Edgar Reviewed at AHA Today

At AHA Today, find a review of Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar.  Here's a snippet of the review, "Finding Emotion and Humanity in History," by Nike Nivar.
In a move common to Hollywood movies, Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar downplays the historical significance of this controversial figure for a more in-depth look into the man. The historical element, though present and comprehensive, isn’t at the heart of the film narrative in the same way as J. Edgar Hoover’s underdog qualities: his sexual repression, his social quirks, the unhealthy relationship with his mother, the speech impediment.
The film buffs among our readers also will be interested in the AHA Today's terrific list of 100 Films Reviewed by Historians. In addition to critiquing specific films, many of the reviews contemplate familiar questions that continue to  provoke heated debate.  Can we learn history through film? Are only those cinematic depictions of the past that historians judge accurate pedagogically useful? The compilation of reviews is a great resource for those interested in integrating film into teaching.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Now in Paperback: The Cambridge History of Law in America

Just in time for the Holiday gift-giving season, the Cambridge History of Law in America is now available in paper.  The three-volume set runs $150.

New Books in U.S. Constitutional/Legal History

Via H-Law, we have the latest edition of New Books in U.S. Constitutional/Legal History, compiled by Timothy S. Huebner (Rhodes College).  The list includes titles published between summer and fall 2011.  Here it is:
Bailey, Michael A. and Forrest Maltzman.  The Constrained Court:  Law, Politics, and the Decisions Justices Make.  Princeton, N.J.:  Princeton University Press, 2011.  217 pp.  (cloth, $75.00, paper, $26.95).
Baum, Howell S.  Brown in Baltimore:  School Desegregation and the Limits of Liberalism.  Ithaca, N.Y.:  Cornell University Press, 2010.  (cloth, $75.00, paper, $24.95).

Berkowitz, Daniel and Karen B. Clay.  The Evolution of a Nation:  How Geography and Law Shaped the American States.  Princeton, N.J.:  Princeton University Press, 2011.  240 pp.  (cloth, $34.95, ebook, $34.95).

Brookhiser, Richard.  James Madison.  New York:  Basic Books, 2011.  287 pp.  (cloth, $26.99).

Crane, Elaine Forman.  Witches, Wife Beaters, and Whores:  Common Law and Common Folk in Early America.  Ithaca, N.Y.:  Cornell University Press, 2011.  (cloth, $35.00).

Dale, Elizabeth.  Chicago’s Trunk Murder:  Law and Justice at the Turn of the Century.  DeKalb, Ill.:  Northern Illinois University Press, 2011.  188 pp.  (cloth, $32.00).

Davis, Hugh.  “We Will Be Satisfied with Nothing Less”:  The African American Struggle for Equal Rights in the North during Reconstruction.  Ithaca, N.Y.:  Cornell University Press, 2011.  (cloth, $45.00).

Emanuel, Anne.  Elbert Parr Tuttle:  Chief Jurist of the Civil Rights Revolution.  Athens, Ga.:  University of Georgia Press, 2011.  Studies in the Legal History of the South.  424 pp.  (cloth, $34.95, ebook, $34.95).

Feimster, Crystal.  Southern Horrors:  Women and the Politics of Rape and Lynching.  Cambridge, Mass.:  Harvard University Press, 2011.  Paperback ed.  336 pp.  (paper, $19.95).

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Making a List: This Week in the Book Pages

The New York Times has selected "100 Notable Books of 2011." The non-fiction list includes numerous biographies (e.g., John Farrell's biography of Clarence Darrow, Manning Marable's Malcolm X), and much on the history of war and wartime experiences (e.g., Amanda Foreman's A World on Fire, Adam Hochschild's To End All Wars).  Also The Origins of Political Order, by Francis Fukuyama, Why the West Rules -- For Now, by Ian Morris, and The Memory Chalet, by the late Tony Judt.

But don't skip the NYT reviews section this week.  Kevin Boyle covers two new histories of the KKK:  One Hundred Percent American: The Rebirth and Decline of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s (Ivan R. Dee), by Thomas R. Pegram, and Gospel According to the Klan: The KKK’s Appeal to Protestant America, 1915-1930 (University Press of Kansas), by Kelly J. Baker. These books remind us, Boyle writes, of the "dark strain of bigotry and exclusion running through the national experience."

  • A new history of the Pacific War, Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942 (W. W. Norton and Co.), by Ian W. Toll (also reviewed this week in the Wall Street Journal, here). 
From the Nation, readers may be interested in the review of a new collection of Dwight Macdonald essays, Masscult and Midcult: Essays Against the American Grain ( NYRB Classics), edited by John Summers. The book caught my eye because I sometimes teach Macdonald's influential review of Michael Harrington's The Other America. Reviewer Jennifer Szalai convinced me that Macdonald constructed an entire "critical system," which itself is an artifact of a particular time and place.

Subscribers to the Chronicle of Higher Education may want to check out the review of Super Black: American Pop Culture and Black Superheroes (University of Texas Press), by Adilifu Nama. Here's a taste:
The author, an associate professor of African-American studies at Loyola Marymount University, writes that black superheroes began to appear during the ferment of the 1960s and 70s when "pop culture, the movement for racial equality, and comic books all intersected, resulting in superheroes becoming signifiers of real racial anxieties, desires, and wish fulfillments." The comic books they populated commented on the tensions among black self-determination, racial authenticity, political fantasy, and economic independence.

The latest issue of the London Review of Books covers Strangers on the Western Front: Chinese Workers in the Great War (Harvard), by Xu Guoqi (subscribers only, here), Then Everything Changed: Stunning Alternate Histories of American Politics: JFK, RFK, Carter, Ford, Reagan (Putnam), by Jeff Greenfield (open access, here), and Foner's The Fiery Trial (subscribers only, here).

This week in the New Republic: The Book, Richard Kahlenberg reviews Still a House Divided: Race and Politics in Obama’s America (Princeton University Press), by Desmond S. King and Rogers M. Smith.  According to the review, the book is part survey: King and Smith summarize "the history and the evolution of American thinking on race, from color-conscious white supremacist policies . . .  to color-blind policies . . . back to race-conscious affirmative action policies . . . ."  It is also part critique, of a President who "leans 'rhetorically toward the color-blind camp.'”  In light of existing racial inequalities, the authors argue, "[f]ailing to do anything to address our nation’s profound legacy of discrimination will leave the country racially divided."

"In the spirit of Thanksgiving," TNR also re-ran two earlier reviews, about the Puritans
and the founding fathers, respectively.

The Los Angeles Times is thankful for legendary mystery writer Agatha Christie. It spotlights her  autobiography, recently re-released with a new foreword by her grandson.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


The Legal History Blog is five years old today.  Thank you for reading!
Image credit.

Weekend Round-Up

  • The Daily Cougar--the student newspaper of the University of Houston--notes the ASLH's creation of the Craig Joyce Medal for extraordinary service to the Society and its initial conferral on its namesake here.  More on the Medal and its first recipient is here
The Weekend Round-Up is a weekly feature compiled by all the Legal History bloggers. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Travel Grants for Archival Research at Duke

From the blog of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University:
The David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library is now accepting applications for our 2012-2013 travel grants.

The Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture, the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture, and the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History will award up to $1,000 per recipient to fund travel and other expenses related to visiting the Rubenstein Library.

The grants are open to undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, independent scholars, artists, and activists living outside a 100-mile radius from Durham, NC with research projects that would benefit from access to the centers’ collections.

More details—and the grant application—may be found on our grants website. Applications must be postmarked or e-mailed no later than 5:00 PM EST on January 31, 2012. Recipients will be announced in March 2012.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The ASLH Annual Meeting: Looking Back and Forward

Charles Donahue, the webmaster of the American Society for Legal History (and the Paul A. Freund Professor of Law at the Harvard Law School and a former president of the ASLH) has posted his account of the recently concluded annual meeting at Atlanta, here.  (Hat tip: H-Law).

Here is the call for papers for the 2012 meeting.

The 2012 meeting of the American Society for Legal History will take place in St. Louis, Missouri, November 8-11, 2012. The ASLH invites proposals on any facet or period of legal history, anywhere in the world. In selecting presenters, the Program Committee will give preference to those who did not present at last year’s meeting. Among the people selected to present, limited financial assistance will be available for those in need—with special priority given to graduate students and post-docs, as well as scholars traveling from abroad.

The Program Committee welcomes proposals for both full panels and individual papers, though please note that individual papers are less likely to be accepted. As concerns panels, the Program Committee encourages the submission of a variety of different types of proposals, including:
• classical 3-paper panels (with a separate commentator and chair)
• incomplete 2-paper panels (with a separate commentator and chair), which the
Committee will try to complete with at least 1 more paper
• panels of 4 or more papers (with a separate commentator and chair)
• thematic panels that range across traditional chronological or geographical fields
• author-meets-reader panels
• roundtable discussions

All panel proposals should include the following:
• A 300-word description of the panel
• A c.v. for each presenter (including complete contact info)
• In the case of paper-based panels only, a 300-word abstract of each paper
Individual paper proposals should include:
• A c.v. for each presenter (including complete contact info)
• A 300-word abstract of each paper
The deadline for submitting proposals is February 29, 2012. Proposals should be sent as email attachments to Kaitlin Burroughs at 
Substantive questions should be directed to Michael Willrich ( or Adriaan Lanni ( 
Those unable to send proposals as email attachments may mail hard copies to: 2012 ASLH Program Committee
c/o Adriaan Lanni
Harvard Law School
1525 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138 U.S.A.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Archive Alert: Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal Papers at Georgetown

The Georgetown Law Library has announced the acquisition of the John G. Brannon papers:

“… I am fighting for a human life. The life of a hated enemy but nevertheless a life,” wrote John G. Brannon on November 25, 1947 in a letter to his brother Bernard.  John Brannon had arrived in Tokyo, May 17th, 1946, about five years after the attack on Pearl Harbor.  He was an American attorney from Kansas City, Missouri, appointed by MacArthur to defend Class A Japanese war criminal Osami Nagano, Chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff, in his trial before the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal. 
The Law Library’s Special Collections has recently acquired over 150 letters written by John Brannon to his brother over a period of 3 years (1946-1949), along with numerous photographs, manuscripts and two 16mm films (John G. Brannon Papers).  It is a collection teeming with fervent American patriotism, Truman politics and personal reflections of a transitional time in world history.  In his letters, Brannon discusses and describes:  Japanese culture, his defense strategies, the Tribunal, the Defense team, mounting U.S. tension with Russia, and the stigma attached to American attorneys defending the enemy after the war in the Pacific.  His writing is a vibrant personal view of the inner workings of, and politics behind, an important historic and international trial.  
According to the announcement, Georgetown also holds the papers of George Yamaoka, who was "one of the select group of American attorneys appointed by General MacArthur in 1945 to help in the defense of those Japanese accused of war crimes." More information is here.

US Navy Honors Rights Leader Medgar Evers, Subject of New Biography

Here's a story that nicely follows up on news of Mary Dudziak's important work on African Americans and the military.  This month the United States Navy christened a new Navy cargo ship in honor of the slain Mississippi civil rights leader, Medgar Evers--a World War II combat veteran who served in the European theater. The ship, the USNS Medgar Evers, honors Evers' state NAACP leadership, voting rights activism, and efforts in support of the desegregation of 'Ole Miss.  Assassins took Evers' life in 1963. The Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, a former governor of Mississippi, spoke at the ceremony naming the vessel after Evers. For the first time, the Navy named a ship for a civil rights leader. Myrlie Evers, the leader's widow, had this to say about the development:

Former Mississippi Governor [and current Navy Secretary] Ray Mabus made a promise to me that he would do something to see that Medgar was remembered. Well, it came into fruition. As a result of the USNS Medgar Evers being built and christened, I feel as though I'm free.

Read more about the USNS Medgar Evers herehere, and here.

The christening of the ship coincides with the release of a new biography of Evers by Michael Williams (Mississippi State--history), entitled Medgar Evers: Mississippi Martyr (Arkansas, Nov. 2011). Here is the publisher's description of the book.

Civil rights activist Medgar Wiley Evers was well aware of the dangers he would face when he challenged the status quo in Mississippi in the 1950s and ‘60s, a place and time known for the brutal murders of Emmett Till, Reverend George Lee, Lamar Smith, and others. Nonetheless, Evers consistently investigated the rapes, murders, beatings, and lynchings of black Mississippians and reported the horrid incidents to a national audience, all the while organizing economic boycotts, sit-ins, and street protests in Jackson as the NAACP’s first full-time Mississippi field secretary. He organized and participated in voting drives and nonviolent direct-action protests, joined lawsuits to overturn state-supported school segregation, and devoted himself to a career path that cost him his life.

This biography of an important civil rights leader draws on personal interviews from Myrlie Evers-Williams (Evers’s widow), his two remaining siblings, friends, grade-school-to-college schoolmates, and fellow activists to elucidate Evers as an individual, leader, husband, brother, and father. Extensive archival work in the Evers Papers, the NAACP Papers, oral history collections, FBI files, Citizen Council collections, and the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission Papers, to list a few, provides a detailed account of Evers’s NAACP work and a clearer understanding of the racist environment that ultimately led to his murder.

Saban on Law and the Arab-Palestinian Minority in Isreal's First Three Decades

Theorizing and Tracing the Legal Dimensions of a Control Framework: Law and the Arab-Palestinian Minority in Israel’s First Three Decades (1948–1978) has just been posted by Ilan Saban, University of Haifa - Faculty of Law.  It appears in the EMORY INTERNATIONAL LAW REVIEW, Vol. 25, pp. 299-378, 2011.  Here's the abstract:
This article aims to provide three contributions to the field of law and minorities: it suggests adopting a different theoretical structure for the analysis of the legal status of minorities in deeply-divided societies; it attempts to advance us in answering one of the most fundamental questions of law and society – the intriguing involvement of the law in engendering stability among certain exploitive power relations (in this case vis-à-vis ethnic minorities); it presents these theoretical arguments not only in the abstract, but also by applying (and verifying) them through a case study. The major part of the article is dedicated to the exploration of the case of the Arab-Palestinian minority during certain formative years. As the discussion of law and minorities comes to the fore in many countries, this article carries comparative significance as well.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

'The Martial Spirit' in American History: John Hope Franklin on Militarization and War

On November 28, I'm delivering a lecture at Duke Law School.  As the John Hope Franklin Chair while a visitor at Duke this fall, my initial plan was to simply draw a connection between Franklin's work and new scholarship on African Americans and war, as well as my new work on the nature of wartime.  But the more I read, the more I came to believe that engaging Franklin's work requires a rethinking of the history of American militarization.  And that became the lecture.  Here's the announcement:
On Nov. 28, legal historian Mary L. Dudziak will deliver Duke University’s Robert R. Wilson lecture titled “The ‘Martial Spirit’ in American History: John Hope Franklin on Militarization and War.” Her lecture will draw both from Franklin’s work and from recent historical scholarship on African Americans and war to place African American history at the center of American militarization.
The lecture will begin at 12:30 p.m. in room 3041 of Duke Law School, located at 210 Science Drive on Duke University’s West Campus. Parking is available at the Bryan Center. A light lunch will be served on a first-come first-served basis.

The role of militaries in enabling or undermining democracy has been on display in 2011 during the Arab Spring. In American history as well, said Dudziak, military conflict has played an important role in shaping domestic politics and culture. “African American history is often seen as peripheral to the history of war and militarization, but Franklin placed it at the center,” she said. “From one of his early books, initially titled The Martial Spirit, which detailed the growth of militias to guard against slave insurrection, to the dynamic impact of war in his sweeping survey, From Slavery to Freedom, Franklin shows us that African American history and the history of American war and militarization were intertwined, from the slave patrols, to the race discrimination in the World War II military that scarred his own family, to the military as a workplace for contemporary people of color.”
More details are here.

Fernandez on "Fading Federalists" and Family Law

Angela Fernandez, University of Toronto Law, has posted the paper she presented at this month’s meeting of the American Society for Legal History, Tapping Reeve, Nathan Dane, and James Kent: Three Fading Federalists on Marital Unity. Here is the abstract:
Tapping Reeve wrote in his treatise on the law of husband and wife, Baron and Femme (1816), that husband and wife were not one person in law. His rejection of Blackstone’s maxim is not as well-known as it should be. Yet, his position was not idiosyncratic, as it was also adopted by Nathan Dane in his important General Abridgment and Digest of American Law (1823). However, James Kent did not follow it in his Commentaries on American Law (1826-30). This paper explores whether Dane’s agreement with Reeve in rebelling against marital unity was based on their New England background (Reeve lived in Connecticut and Dane in Massachusetts), which Kent (from New York) simply did not share. Reeve, Dane, and Kent were all “Fading Federalists,” using their legal expertise and their position as law book writers and law teachers as a way to continue to exert influence lost to them in the political world. They turned to the creation of an American common law as a way to continue to have influence on what America would become. Like Reeve, Dane was involved in various moral campaigns, including the temperance movement, which was an early kind of women’s movement. He was also religious like Reeve and against slavery -- according to some, Dane was responsible for the anti-slavery clause in the North West Ordinance. Kent was not interested in these causes or interests and, indeed, considered those who were to be fanatics or zealots. This helps explain why, when he wrote about married women he was inclined to choose the traditional English approach, Coke and Blackstone, over the indigenous position that jurists in New England were cultivating that sought to emphasize the rights of married women.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fraley Profiled

The public relations folks at Washington & Lee Law have posted a nice profile on the school's recently hired legal historian Jill Fraley.  In it, Professor Fraley explains that her forthcoming book "traces how the federal government created the identifiable region we know as 'Appalachia' through the mapping practices of the Tennessee Valley Authority and later the Appalachia Regional Commission,."  It also explores "why these regional governing bodies were established and what the challenges are to governing an area based on land features rather than state lines."

Education as the Engine of Social Mobility: A Myth?

Here's recommended reading for historians of law and education and scholars of law and inequality: an insightful review in the L.A. Review of Books. The review, "The Educational Lottery," by Steve Brint (11/15/11), covers four texts that challenge the commonly-held view that education is or should be an engine of  social mobility in the United States. Here's an excerpt from the review.

Education is as close to a secular religion as we have in the United States. In a time when Americans have lost faith in their government and economic institutions, millions of us still believe in its saving grace. ...
[I]t is not that the educational gospel is wrong (a truly democratic, meritocratic school system would, if it existed, be a good thing); it is that the benefits of education have not yet spread evenly to every corner of American society, and that the trend toward educational equality may be heading in the wrong direction.
Other heresies are more radical, and thus more disturbing to settled beliefs about the power of education. One currently growing in popularity we might call “the new restrictionism.” According to the new restrictionists, ... access to higher education may have gone too far.

The reviewed books are: John Marsh, Class Dismissed: Why We Cannot Teach or Learn Our Way Out of Inequality (Monthly Review Press, July 2011); Professor X, In the Basement of the Ivory Tower: Confessions of an Accidental Academic (Viking, March 2011); Felicity Allen, ed., Education (Whitechapel/MIT Press, Aug. 2011); and Philip W. Jackson, What Is Education? (Univ. of Chicago, Dec. 2011.).

Lecture: Brewer-Carías on Hispanic Independence and U.S. Con Law Books

D.C.-area readers: This Tuesday, November 22, the Law Library of Congress will host a lecture by Venezuelan constitutional law scholar Allan Brewer-Carías. The topic is: "The Connection between the U.S. Independence and the Hispanic American Independence Movement in the Context of Several Key Constitutional Law Books Published in the United States at the beginning of the 19th century." 

Here's more, from In Custodia Legis:
The influence of French revolutionary ideas over the Latin American independence movement has been well-documented.  However, the strong impact that the founding documents of the United States of America had on the Latin American independence cause has received slightly less attention from scholars, and remains less known to the general American public.
Professor Brewer-Carías will seek to re-discover and highlight how the main documents related to United States independence influenced the thinking, design, and implementation of the principal constitutional structures conceived by the fathers of the Hispanic American independence movement.
More information, including about the accompanying rare book exhibit, is here.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

SCOTUSblog Preview of Judge Henry Friendly Biography

Our readers may find Professor Ronald Collins' preview of a biography of Judge Henry J. Friendly of interest. Collin's commentary is cross-posted from SCOTUSblog.

Book preview: Finally, a biography of Judge Henry J. Friendly
by Ronald K.L. Collins
Judge Richard Posner called him the “greatest federal appellate judge of his time.” And while time has taken some of the luster off his renown, his name is still revered in some of the highest quarters. For example, he has been cited by name in more than 125 Supreme Court opinions – including in Martin v. Franklin Capital Corp. (2005), the first opinion for the Court by Chief Justice John Roberts. Since then, he has been mentioned sixteen times in the pages of the United States Reports in other opinions by the Chief Justice (six more) and Justices Alito, Kennedy, Stevens, Ginsburg, and Souter, in cases touching upon everything from federal jurisdiction and securities law to habeas corpus and Fourth Amendment law.  Additionally, his fame is kept alive by many of his former law clerks, including the Chief Justice (1979-80) and federal judges Michael Boudin (1964–1965), Merrick Garland (1977-78), and A. Raymond Randolph (1969-70), among others.  And Chief Justice Warren Burger once said of him that he could not identify “any judicial colleague more highly qualified to have come to the Supreme Court of the United States than Henry Friendly.”
He is Henry Jacob Friendly (1903-1986), the respected jurist of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the court on which he sat from 1959 until 1986.  Despondent over his wife’s death and his failing eyesight, Friendly ended his life in 1986, leaving notes in his Park Avenue apartment. (See Paul Gewirtz, “A Lawyer’s Death,” 100 Harv. L. Rev. 2053 (1987)).
Henry Friendly, who succeeded Judge Harold Medina, was a giant in the fields of constitutional law, administrative law, federal jurisdiction, statutory interpretation, securities law, and trademark law. His 1967 book, Benchmarks, was profoundly thoughtful and covered topics ranging from Erie v. Tompkins and Miranda v. Arizona to his views on Learned Hand, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Louis Brandeis, for whom he clerked in 1927.  Likewise, his The Federal Administrative Agencies (1962) was hailed as a brilliant contribution to the legal literature.  In 1970 he wrote a careful and cautious draft opinion on abortion, which was the subject of a 2005lecture by his former clerk, Judge Randolph. Friendly’s jurisprudence, says Professor Stephen Barnett (another Friendly clerk), was “rational, probing, even-handed, wry, skeptical, . . . and distrustful of abstract principles; today it would be called ‘pragmatic.’” Hispapers are now on file at the Harvard University Library.
While some fine essays have been written about Judge Friendly’s life and jurisprudence, many feared that a full biography might never materialize.  But at long last, things stand to change. Late next March a biography of Judge Friendly is scheduled to be published.  The author is David M. Dorsen, a seasoned trial lawyer and Harvard Law graduate who served as an editor on theHarvard Law Review, followed by stints as (among other things) an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (1964-1969) and Assistant Chief Counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities (1973-1974).
The forthcoming five-hundred-plus-page biography is titled Henry Friendly: Greatest Judge of His Era. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press is the publisher and Judge Richard Posner has apparently written a foreword to the book, which speaks well for the undertaking.  Pace Law Review recently published a sampling of Dorsen’s treatment of his subject.
* * *
While some of Friendly’s scholarly thought ran counter to the progressive perspective of the Warren Court, one can find in it a sober Learned Hand-like approach to judging.  As Professor Stephen Barnett put it: Judge “Friendly’s opinions embody and reflect both his own remarkable gifts and the experience of a lifetime of intensely hard work—in class, in law office, and in board room. The issues Friendly decided have been or will be overtaken by events; the way he went about deciding them remains to instruct.” Moreover, his influence on the current Court, especially with Chief Justice Roberts, seems to be increasing.
There is much to say about Henry Friendly – the bright Harvard-educated student who graduated first in his law school class, the lawyer who was one of the founding partners of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, the one-time General Counsel of Pan American World Airways, the revered jurist who authored some one thousand opinions, and the scholar who penned weighty articles such as “The Courts and Social Policy” (33 U. Miami L. Rev. 21 (1978 )).  He was also the 1977 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
To get a sense of Henry Friendly, consider what he found admirable in Learned Hand.  Here is what he said in a 1962 speech at Brooklyn Law School: “Superb as Judge Hand’s achievements were, they are not strange in light of the capacities he brought to the job. Some of these lay in his genes, others were acquired characteristics.  A catalogue, necessarily incomplete, would list among them a strong and inquiring mind; a warm and vivid nature; intense concentration and sharp analysis; education in philosophy under James, Royce, and Santayana, and in law under Ames, Thayer, and Gray; a knowledge, both wide and deep, of the world’s great books from the Greeks’ day to our own; the few warm friendships that are all any man can have, and wide acquaintances with seniors, contemporaries, and juniors of many sorts and in varied disciplines; a gift of style or, more accurately, of styles, for his could vary as was appropriate from the simplest to the most sublime; a rare insight into the nature of his fellow men; and, finally, and not the least important, a sense of humor, even – indeed especially – about himself.”
Whether Mr. Dorsen can do for his subject what Gerald Gunther did in his remarkable Learned Hand: The Man and the Judge(1994) remains to be seen.  Stay tuned.
Ronald Collins is the Harold S. Shefelman scholar at the University of Washington School of Law.

Needs and Wants: This Week in the Book Pages

Bob Gordon (image credit)
This week in the New York Review of Books: Robert W. Gordon (Yale Law) contemplates "How the Justices Get What They Want," and asks "what the lessons are for the decision on Obama’s health care law." It is a review of Supreme Power: Franklin Roosevelt vs. the Supreme Court (Norton), by Jeff Shesol, and Scorpions: The Battles and Triumphs of FDR’s Great Supreme Court Justices (Twelve), by Noah Feldman.

More from the latest issue of the NYRB -- on the "third world," the "modern" world, and "mutual understanding" -- is here.

"Never underestimate the power of a cold, calculating and unaffectionate mother to inspire ambition in her child." The line comes from a delightful New York Times review, by Kathryn Harrison, of Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman (Random House).  At age 82, author Robert K. Massie "hasn’t lost his mojo," Harrison writes; as ever, he is "a biographer with the instincts of a novelist." Another review, from the Wall Street Journal, is here.

Also in the NYT:
  • A review of Remedy and Reaction: The Peculiar American Struggle Over Health Care Reform (Yale University Press), by sociologist and Clinton policy advisor Paul Starr. The "compact but thorough" book is "an unofficial companion volume to his Pulitzer Prizewinning 1982 book, 'The Social Transformation of American Medicine.'" Reviewer Timothy Noah (of the New Republic) ends the piece by speculating about the fate of "Obamacare" in light of challenges to the individual mandate.
  • A review of Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945 (Knopf), by Max Hastings. Reviewer Richard J. Evans insists that Hastings, though author of "no fewer than eight books about key campaigns and personalities of the war," has written "a new, original and necessary history." Another recent review is here.

In the pages of the New Republic: The Book, Ellen Handler Spitz (University of Maryland) pits two patriotic children's books against one another: Sweet Land of Liberty, by Callista Gingrich ("the third Mrs. Gingrich"), and Of Thee I Sing, by Barack Obama. Neither wins. "Rather than superficial glosses," writes Spitz, "what children need are American histories that treat important matters importantly." She advocates "books of substance, which connect children to greater horizons by challenging them with unresolved problems and stimulate the growth of their innate powers of empathy, imagination, and responsibility."

In the Chronicle of Higher Education, subscribers may access a review of Margaret Sanger: A Life of Passion (Hill and Wang), by Jean H. Baker. Thanks to Herman Cain, the review notes, the facts of Sanger's life are newly relevant.

Do you, like me, try to give your loved ones the gift of history around this time of year? (What could be better, right?) If so, check out the Wall Street Journal's history book gift guide.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Weekend Round-Up

  • More ASLH coverage: over at the Faculty Lounge, Al Brophy has posted a podcast of the roundtable on teaching American Legal History, as well as some of his own impressions of the meeting.
  • The Massachusetts Historical Society will offer short-term and long-term research fellowships for the upcoming academic year. More information is here. (Hat tip: H-Law)
  • Dallas-area readers: On Tuesday, November 29, the Legal History Discussion Group of the Dallas Bar Association has invited Michael Ariens (St. Mary's University School of Law) to talk about his new book, Lone Star Law: A Legal History of Texas. More information is here
  • Bay-area readers: On Monday, November 21, the Center for the Study of Law and Society at the University of California, Berkeley, will host a talk by Karen Tani, titled "'Precisely Who Is My Brother's Keeper?'": Welfare, Federalism, and the Rule of Law, 1935-1965." Details here.
  • The Law and Courts section of the American Political Science Association has announced the inauguration of a new peer-reviewed journal: the Journal of Law and Courts.  According to the Empirical Legal Studies blog, the editorial manager is now accepting submissions.
The Weekend Round-Up is a weekly feature compiled by all the Legal History bloggers.  

Friday, November 18, 2011

Linda Kerber’s ASLH Address: A Challenge to Con Law Profs

Courtesy of Univ of Iowa
Linda Kerber (Iowa--History) challenged constitutional law professors to do a better job talking about sex at the annual meeting of the American Society for Legal History. The distinguished professor’s plenary address surveyed the multitudinous ways in which the law has drawn distinctions between men and women, to the detriment of the “second sex.” Kerber also had suggestions for teaching about this history.  The U.S. Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment and the Court's “intermediate” scrutiny of sex-based classifications should not be the sole frame of reference when constitutional law professors teach about gender and the law, Kerber admonished. Scholars also should emphasize the Equal Rights Amendment and its affirmative vision of sex equality. If ERA is a topic of discussion, students will have the opportunity to think critically about constitutional law and its conceptualizations of women's equality rights. 

Even as I welcomed Kerber’s challenge, I imagined that it might seem daunting; already, it's difficult to incorporate the many topics stuffed into the introductory constitutional law course. On closer consideration, however, it’s probably not that difficult at all to have a substantive discussion of ERA in even an intro con law course. One approach might be to merge a discussion of the ERA with the ever-present topics of federalism/separation of powers. It might be quite pedagogically useful, for instance, to ponder the impact of the equal rights amendments enacted in several states after the failure of the ERA campaign at the federal level. One might consider whether and how these amendments have affected the level of scrutiny to which sex-based classifications are subject in state courts. Whatever the impact of state ERAs, one could then consider what the outcomes indicate about the relative importance of doctrine to judicial decision making, as opposed to factors external to the law. In short, one might contemplate whether the equal rights amendments delivered the affirmative results that proponents imagined, and if not, why not.
What sources might scholars consult if they wished to provide the more comprehensive and critical perspective on sex discrimination law and the ERA that Kerber suggests? In the legal literature, Reva Siegel’s articles on the “de facto ERA” and her synthetic account of Nineteenth and Fourteenth Amendment history, “She the People,” are critical contributions (find links to these publications here). Scholarship on the effectiveness of the ERA also is an important resource. Some scholars argue that state ERAs have yielded disappointing results for litigators; other vehemently disagree. Compare Paul B. Linton, "State Equal Rights Amendments: Making a Difference or Making a Statement," 70 Temp. L. Rev. 907 (1997) to Linda J. Wharton, "State Equal Rights Amendments Revisited: Evaluating Their Effectiveness in Advancing Protection Against Sex Discrimination," 36 Rutgers L.J. 1201 (2005). In the historical literature, see Sex, Gender, and the Politics of ERA: A State and the Nation, an important case study by Donald Mathews & Jane S. de Hart. See also the short and useful, Why ERA Failed: Politics, Women's Rights, and the Amending Process of the Constitution by Mary Frances Berry.

Writing Fellowships, Washington College

The C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience at Washington College invites applications for its residential writing fellowships program.

The Patrick Henry Writing Fellowship supports outstanding writing on American history and culture by both scholars and nonacademic authors.
  • Fellowship award: $45,000 plus health benefits, book allowance, and faculty privileges
  • Duration: nine months (September-May)
  • Residence: exclusive occupancy of a restored circa-1735 house in historic Chestertown on the Eastern Shore of Maryland
  • Work space: private office in the circa-1745 waterfront Custom House, home of the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience
  • Deadline for 2012-13: February 15, 2012.
Further information and criteria:         

The Hodson Trust – John Carter Brown Fellowship supports academics, independent scholars, writers, filmmakers, novelists and artists working on significant projects relating to the literature, history, culture, or art of the Americas before 1830.
  • Fellowship award: $20,000 plus housing and university privileges
  • Duration: two months of research in Providence, RI (September-May) and two months of writing in Chestertown, Md. (June – August)
  • Residence: In Providence, a private room in the John Carter Brown Library’s Fellows’ Residence; in Chestertown, exclusive occupancy of a restored circa-1735 house.
  • Work space: In Providence, space in the John Carter Brown Library; in Chestertown, a private office in the circa-1745 waterfront Custom House, home of the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience
  • Deadline for 2012-13: March 15, 2012.
Further information and criteria: 

Legal History at the AHA

Two panels on legal history on the program for the upcoming meeting of the American Historical Association have caught my eye:

Building the Liberal State: Social Workers, Lawyers, and Rights from the Progressive Era to the Great Society

Chair: Felicia Kornbluh, University of Vermont

Pride and Prejudice: Social Workers, Lawyers, and the Provision of Free Legal Aid, 1911-40 Felice Batlan, Chicago-Kent College of Law

The Women of Gault: Pursuing Social Justice for the Child in Great Society America David S. Tanenhaus, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Human Needs and Legal Rights: Social Workers and Lawyers in New Deal Welfare Administration Karen Tani, University of California, Berkeley

Comment: Felicia Kornbluh, University of Vermont

Lawyers and social workers were major participants in building the American liberal state from the Progressive Era through the Great Society. Yet the interactions, networks, and professional communities built by and between these two professions have not been fully explored by historians. Each of the panelists examines how in a different time period, and in a different historical setting, the two professions interacted and how these interactions shaped each of the professions, professional identities, and the structure of benefits, entitlements, and rights that each supported. Moreover similarities and distinctions between the professions also reflected shifting ideas of gender, power, expertise, and authority. As the panelists show, throughout the twentieth century, disciplinary boundaries between law and social work were often deeply porous and many of the leading women social workers such as Sophinisba Breckenridge, who shaped both the profession of social work and the curriculum that would be taught in schools of social work, were trained as lawyers.

At times, however, lawyers' and social workers' methodologies significantly differed as did their understandings of rights and entitlements. The presenters explore why and how this was the case. For example, in its broadest contours, social workers defined the family and then the community as its basic unit of inquiry, where lawyers' primary focus was on the individual. Related to this, social workers perceived justice as requiring a form of social justice, where lawyers understand justice to be a constellation of individual rights. Moreover, social workers understood rights as grounded in social context, specific situations, and human need where lawyers often saw a more abstract and process oriented quality to rights. Law also was coded as a masculine profession, where social work was coded as a female profession. These differences as well as others would have profound affects in terms of the reforms that lawyers and social workers envisioned, the bureaucratic structures that they built, and how they worked with one another.

Legal historians often primarily have been concerned with those actors clearly defined as formally trained lawyers, where historians of women have produced a rich literature on social workers. Each of the panelists attempts to create a new history by analyzing the interactions, criticisms, and overlapping communities and networks between these two professions. In doing so, they seek to explore the significant continuities as well as ruptures between the Progressive era, the New Deal, and the Great Society.

Transnational Legal Networks and the Limits of American Power, 1906-39

Chair: Stanley N. Katz, Princeton University

"To Internationalize International Law": American Philanthropic Initiatives and Transatlantic Legal Thought, 1906-21
Benjamin Allen Coates, American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Twisted Borrowings and Failed Exports: The Chinese Republic and the Early Structure of American Transnational Legal Networks
Jed Kroncke, Harvard University

American Philanthropic Organizations and Laws on Race Relations in the United States, South Africa, and Germany Maribel Morey, Princeton University

Comment: Mary L. Dudziak, University of Southern California

Lawyers have historically played a central role in shaping American laws; and by the beginning of the 20th century, they became part of transnational networks with the idea of influencing laws and legal institutions abroad. Within a decade, they were joined by a new professional group equally engaged in shaping American and international legal development: American philanthropists and social scientists.

By analyzing these transnational networks, this panel reveals how American lawyers, philanthropists, and social scientists combined to shape a wide variety of socio-legal projects in the first half of the twentieth century. The three papers-covering the growth of the transatlantic international law profession, the highly internationalized reform discourse in the Chinese Republic after the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1911, and the introduction of apartheid in South Africa - all demonstrate the vital role of American legal concepts and actors in the construction of national policies and the international community.

The first paper, "`To Internationalize International Law': American Philanthropic Initiatives and Transatlantic Legal Thought, 1906-1921," by Benjamin Coates, explains how the Carnegie Endowment of International Peace (CEIP) changed the nature of international lawyers' conversations on international law in the early twentieth century. The second paper, "Twisted Borrowings and Failed Exports: The Chinese Republic and the Early Structure of American Transnational Legal Networks," written by Jed Kroncke, details American and Chinese lawyers' relationship in the same time period, and how many Chinese attempts to learn from the American legal experience were as warped by the presumption of export embedded in these transnational networks as were American attempts to influence Chinese legal development. The third paper, "Philanthropists, Social Scientists, and Laws on Race Relations in the United States, South Africa, and Germany," by Maribel Morey, describes the role a community of American philanthropists and social scientists played in determining the course of public policies on race in the U.S., Germany, and South Africa in the 1930s.

In each of these three cases, Americans sought to use transnational networks to spread their ideas about proper national and international order. They necessarily entered into dialogue with the intended recipients of their ideas in China, South Africa, and Europe. In so doing, these American attempts to create a world of legal order in their own image led to complicated and often contraindicated outcomes: the international society that surfaced in the interwar period, the Chinese legal institutions, and policy solutions to the international problem of White-Black relations that developed in the 1930s (and particularly the Nuremberg laws) departed in important and unexpected ways from the best-laid plans of American actors.

This panel contributes to the conference's themes of "Communities and Networks" and opens a conversation on the extent to which Americans in the twentieth century were successfully able to create a global empire of legal order crafted in their own image. Moreover, it will also discuss how-by looking at transnational networks of socio-legal actors-historians can expose the specific national nature of international legal projects and the international scope of seemingly national legal projects

Historicizing Routines

[Here's a call for papers on an intriguing topic.  Hat tip: Legal Scholarship Blog.]

The Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society at the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, Delaware and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania present Historicizing Routines Nov. 1-2, 2012. The organizers “invite empirical and historically focused papers that explore the development, devolution, destruction, and re-creation of routines in 20th century organizations and bounded communities.” Proposals are due March 31, 2012.

    Routines are central to much human behavior, both within organizations and more broadly, because they facilitate the navigation of complex social, economic, and ecological environments. Too often, however, they are simplistically equated with stasis and adaptation, and unfairly counter-posed to innovation or transformation. In reality, routines can be dynamic, as the organizations and individuals that follow them encounter and respond to new situations or conditions that disrupt established behaviors. Indeed, well-designed routines can anticipate novel complications and can help manage and channel change, thereby reinforcing or enhancing traditional and vernacular practices and relationships rather than undermining them. Historically, both those routines that fail in the face of challenge and environmental shifts, and those which reflexively embrace disruption and reordering are of especial interest. While the presence of routines is most obvious in business firms, governments, militaries, labor unions, and other bureaucracies, they also are embedded in emergency response structures, research protocols, religious organizations, and settled communities. Hence exploring routines, especially their development, devolution, and transformation, can generate new insights to our understanding of the past.

    Papers may be framed at any geographical scale (local, regional, national, transnational), but should detail what constitutes particular routines, how they came into being, how well adapted they may have been to environments and opportunities, how amenable they were to change, and what dynamics such changes actually provoked. We are especially interested in historical studies and ethnographies that explore how routines influence fluidity and stasis, how they organize and shape innovation, as well as how they interfere with or facilitate adaptation to new conditions. Failures often generate a search for new and more effective routines, another important process. Papers also may address the relationship between routines and “success”, e.g. how routine practices by firms or bureaucracies impede or assist an organization achieve its objectives and/or do better than others.

    The deadline for receipt of paper proposals is March 31, 2012. Please send a 500 word description of your paper and the sources on which it is based along with a brief c.v. to Carol Lockman, clockman [at] Travel funding will be available for presenters.

The American State: Power Obscured

The American State: Power Obscured,” an interview of William Novak, Michigan Law, and James Sparrow, University of Chicago History, now appears on Books&, “the English-language mirror website of La Vie des Idées, a free online journal which has gained a large readership and established itself in France as a major place for intellectual debate since 2007.”
Finding the American state where historians never looked before: this could be the motto of the new history of the state, of which William Novak and James Sparrow are two of the strongest advocates. To capture the specificity of state formation in the U.S., they encourage historians to look at the mutual constitution of state and society, instead of taking their separation for granted. Their approach is key to understanding the current legitimation crisis undergone by the American state.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cromwell Fellowships Announced

At last week’s meeting of the American Society for Legal History, the William Nelson Cromwell Foundation announced the award of three fellowship awards intended to support research and writing in American legal history. (Preference is given to scholars at the early stages of their careers.)  The ASLH’s Committee for Research Fellowships and Awards reviews the applications and makes recommendations to the Cromwell Foundation.  This year’s recipients are:

Cynthia Greenlee-Donnell, PhD candidate, Duke University, for “Daughters of the Nadir: Black Girls and Childhood on Trial in South Carolina Courts, 1885-1905"

Jeffrey Kahn, PhD candidate, University of Chicago, for “Cracking Sovereignty: Haitian Migration and the Transformation of U.S. Immigration Law, 1974-1994"

Kimberley A. Reilly, post-doc, University of Baltimore, for “Bonds of Affection: Marriage Law and Culture, 1870-1920"

Melissa Hayes, PhD, for “Sex in the Witness Stand: Legal Culture, Community and Out-of-Wedlock Sexual Governance in the Nineteenth-Century Midwest.”