Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Early American Legal Histories: A CFP

[We have the following call for proposals for the workshop Early American Legal Histories.]

The Omohundro Institute and the University of Southern California-Huntington Library Early Modern Studies Institute are pleased to announce the tenth in a series of William and Mary Quarterly-EMSI workshops designed to identify and encourage new trends in understanding the history and culture of early North America and its wider world.

Participants will attend a two-day meeting at the Huntington Library (May 29-30, 2015) to discuss a precirculated chapter-length portion of their current work in progress along with the work of other participants. Subsequently, the convener may write an essay elaborating on the issues raised at the workshop for publication in the William and Mary Quarterly. The convener of this year’s workshop is Sarah Barringer Gordon of the University of Pennsylvania.

This workshop will explore new work in law and history, with the goal of bridging the two disciplines. Scholars of early American history have long probed the legal past through research in government and court records. Legal historians have explored the evolution of doctrine and substantive law. Recent scholarship has united the two fields, resulting in work that spans disciplinary boundaries and brings new insight to both. This workshop presents a unique opportunity to deepen and broaden the growing cross-disciplinary conversation. The organizers welcome proposals that address (among other topics) the law of empire and legal status of colonies from Atlantic, continental, and comparative perspectives, as well as the status of Native peoples, enslaved and other bound persons, and colonists; competing legal systems and legal pluralism, including indigenous legal systems and religious and customary law; domestic relations, including the law of master and servant, husband and wife, and parent and child; property in land as well as persons; trade, finance, and debt; war and conquest; the legal profession; courts and/or the judiciary.

Proposals for workshop presentations should include a brief abstract (250 words) describing the applicant’s current research project, an equally brief discussion of the particular methodological, geographic, or historiographical issues they are engaging (which will be circulated to all participants along with the chapter or essay), and a short c.v. The organizers especially encourage proposals from midcareer scholars. Materials should be submitted online at the conference website by October 27, 2014.

Questions may be directed to Joshua Piker, Editor, William and Mary Quarterly, at

The workshop will cover travel and lodging costs for participants.