Monday, October 19, 2020

Call for Applications: J. Willard Hurst Summer Institute in Legal History

 Via the American Society for Legal History, we have the following call for applications:

The J. Willard Hurst Summer Institute in Legal History is a biennial event sponsored by ASLH and traditionally held in June in Madison, Wisconsin, with support from the Institute for Legal Studies of the University of Wisconsin, where the late Professor James Willard Hurst was a founding member of the modern field of legal history. Each Hurst Institute is organized and chaired by a well-known legal historian and includes visiting senior scholars who lead specialized sessions. An ASLH committee reviews applications and selects 12 early career scholars from around the world as Institute Fellows. The Fellows participate in seminars, meet other legal historians, and present their own work. The program is structured but informal, and features discussions of core readings in legal history and analysis of the work of the participants in the Institute. Fellowships are supported by dedicated funds donated in honor of leading mentors in the field, the alumni of past Hurst fellows, and for other worthy ASLH goals that reflect its commitment to supporting early career scholars.

Scholars in law, history and other disciplines pursuing research on legal history of any part of the world and all time periods are eligible to apply. The seminar and written materials are conducted in English, and we cannot consider non-anglophone applications. Applicants with no formal training in legal history are encouraged to apply. Traditionally, the selection committee has sought to create a cohort of fellows with varying degrees of familiarity with the field, and welcome applications from scholars at an early stage of their career (beginning faculty members, doctoral students who have completed or almost completed their dissertations, and J.D. graduates).

Applications for the eleventh Hurst Summer Institute, which will take place June 13 – 26, 2021, will be accepted until January 15, 2021. Applicants should be aware that it is possible that the 2021 session may be held remotely. This would, of course, be a significant change in the program, but we are committed both to supporting early career scholars and to ensuring the safe conduct of the Institute. While a virtual program would be different from an in-person one, we will do everything possible to build community that will be of lasting value to fellows. A decision will likely be made by the end of March in consultation with the ASLH Hurst Committee and accepted Fellows, in light of conditions at the time. 

Applications must include a cover letter, CV, and research agenda (of no more than 2,500 words) as a single PDF document. Submit your application any time between December 1, 2020 and January 15, 2021. Additionally, two letters of recommendation should be submitted on each applicant’s behalf by the January 15 deadline. Questions on the application process can be directed to It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that we receive a complete application packet by the deadline. Please note that incomplete applications will not be accepted. Applicants will be notified of a decision no later than March 1, 2021.

The 2021 Institute will be chaired by Lauren Benton, Barton M. Biggs Professor of History and Professor of Law at Yale University, and Sarah Barringer Gordon, Arlin M. Adams Professor of Constitutional Law and Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania. Previous Hurst Institute sessions were led by distinguished legal history scholars, Lawrence Friedman (Stanford University), Robert W. Gordon (Yale and Stanford), Barbara Young Welke (University of Minnesota), Hendrik Hartog (Princeton University), and Mitra Sharafi (University of Wisconsin).

I think all the LHB Bloggers would attest to the high quality of the Hurst Institute and the terrific opportunity it presents to emerging scholars. Please spread the word!

-- Karen Tani