Thursday, December 5, 2013

CFP: A Graduate Conference on Legal History

[We have the following CFP for a graduate student conference.]

The Law in Action: Re-Thinking the Boundaries of Law and Society,  April 18, 2014

Call for Papers: application deadline January 6, 2014

The law is everywhere. Few historians would deny law’s importance, whether interpreted as a safeguard of equality or an instrument of oppression. Yet, too often, legal history is considered the sole domain of scholars steeped in law’s inner workings.

By re-considering law’s role in society, this conference seeks to spark intellectual exchange across historical sub-fields and time periods. The conference will consider the law in its broadest sense, discussing civil law, ecclesiastical law, and written or unwritten notions of justice in diverse cultural contexts. This collective consideration of law’s role in society has the potential to transcend the divide between law and norms conventionally considered extra-legal, between legal history and other historical sub-fields, and between the study of law as text and law as cultural practice.

Keynote speaker Rebecca Scott (University of Michigan), guest commentator Mitra Sharafi (University of Wisconsin-Madison), and other faculty commentators will join graduate student presenters for dynamic cross-disciplinary conversation.

All with an interest in law, broadly defined, are encouraged to apply. Submissions might address, but are not limited to, some or all of the following questions:
  • How does law help structure race, gender, sexuality, and other aspects of identity, including those often considered beyond law’s reach?
  • When does law figure in historical processes, practices, and events conventionally considered extra-legal?
  • How does the law contribute to equality or inequality?
  • How might a broader consideration of law help to recast debates over historical causality and change?
If interested, please send a short (400 word maximum) paper abstract and CV to CCHS Graduate Fellow, Jesse Nasta ( by Monday, January 6, 2014. Please contact Jesse Nasta with any questions.

A committee of history faculty members will then select conference panelists. Selected participants will need to submit their final papers by or before Monday, March 31.