Saturday, April 30, 2022

Weekend Roundup

  • Congratulations to our friends at BC law for winning the American Association of Law Libraries’ 2022 Innovations in Technology Award for its website, “Robert Morris: Civil Rights Lawyer and Antislavery Activist.” 
  • Congratulations to Katrina Jagodinsky for her receipt of a Research Experience for Undergraduates site award from the National Science Foundation "to host eight undergraduate researchers for a ten-week summer program in digital legal research at University of Nebraska Lincoln for the next three years."  (More.)  She tells us she is eager to speak to those seeking more information about her project and the award.
  • That Harvard report on the university's legacy of slavery has generated related statements and commentary.  Among them is HLS Dean John F. Manning’s announcement of “initiatives to honor the enslaved people whose labor generated wealth that contributed to Harvard Law School’s founding and to better understand the legacy of slavery” (Harvard Law Today).  WaPo's report is here; Lawrence S. Bacow and Tomiko Brown-Nagin's op-ed in WaPo is here.
  • Registration for British Legal History Conference 2022 closes on Monday, May 2.
  •  The Death Panel podcast is spotlighting the history of Section 504, a landmark disability rights law. Part one is here.
  • NPR's Morning Edition interviewed Mary Ziegler (Florida State University College of Law) about "red state abortion restrictions" and their relationship to the Supreme Court's evolving reproductive rights jurisprudence.

Weekend Roundup is a weekly feature compiled by all the Legal History bloggers.

Friday, April 29, 2022

Black's "Gender and Punishment in Ireland"

Lynsey Black, Maynooth University, has published Gender and Punishment in Ireland: Women, Murder and the Death Penalty, 1922-64 (Manchester University Press):

Drawing on comprehensive archival research, including government documents, press reporting, the remnants of public opinion and the voices of the women themselves, the book contributes to the burgeoning literature on gender and punishment and women who kill. Engaging with concepts such as 'double deviance', chivalry, paternalism and 'coercive confinement', the work explores the penal landscape for offending women in postcolonial Ireland, examining in particular the role of the Catholic Church in responses to female deviance. The book is an extensive interdisciplinary treatment of women who kill in Ireland and will be useful to scholars of gender, criminology and history.

--Dan Ernst

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Swain and Fairweather on Usury Law in New South Wales

Warren Swain and Karen Fairweather, University of Auckland, have posted To Your Marrowbones All: Loan Transactions and the Law in 19th Century New South Wales:

Economic growth in the early Australian colony was fuelled by credit. The boom ended in a slump in the 1840s. By this time questions had started to be raised about how credit should be regulated in the colony. In England, the prohibitions on usury which governed loan transactions were not completely abolished until 1854. The application of the English usury laws in the colony was controversial. Some favoured regulating interest rates whilst others saw it as likely to discourage investment. Usury provides a good example of a wider debate about the extent to which English law ought to apply in the different conditions of the early colony of New South Wales.
--Dan Ernst

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

John Phillip Reid (1930-2022)

John Phillip Reid (NYU)
We are very sorry to report that John Phillip Reid, the Russell D. Niles Professor of Law Emeritus at NYU Law, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an honorary fellow of the American Society for Legal History and the namesake of an ASLH book award, died yesterday at the age of 91.  He taught legal history at NYU for over 45 years before his retirement in 2017.  His books include judicial biography and histories of the law of the Cherokee Nation, of the American West, and of the American Revolution.

--Dan Ernst.  H/t: DJH

Chu on an Italian Fascist and the Chinese Penal Code

Ming-hsi Chu, a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at Northwestern University and the holder of an LL.B. and an LL.M. from the National Taiwan University, has posted the conference paper, The Fascist Origin of Modern Chinese Criminal Law? Revisiting Attilio Lavagna's Contribution to the Chinese Penal Code of 1935:

The Chinese Nationalist Government established the Drafting Committee of Penal Code in 1931 and invited Attilio Lavagna, a judge at the Turin Court of Appeal in Fascist Italy, as legal advisor. The penal code was passed by the Chinese legislature in 1934, took effect in 1935, and is currently in force in Taiwan. This paper delves into Chinese and Italian archives to investigate possible Fascist legacies of Chinese criminal law.

Lavagna and other Italian scholars have claimed that the 1930 Italian Penal Code and Fascist legal principles influenced Chinese legislators. During his two years in China, Lavagna published in law journals, commented on penal code drafts, and lectured to legislators, judges, and scholars on Fascism. He highlighted three principles of Fascist law: power, order, and fairness, and reported to the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the Chinese audience was highly interested in exploring Fascism. Enrico Altavilla argued in 1938 that China had modeled after the Italian penal code in terms of territoriality, prohibition against analogy, security measures, subjective principles, and positive criminology theories. Historians of Sino-Italian relations have underscored Lavagna’s contribution to Chinese law.

This paper, however, finds that Italian Fascism’s influence was insignificant. Lavagna’s suggestions only focused on technical issues such as how many punishment choices judges should have. Altavilla’s arguments are imprecise because most articles he discussed already appeared in earlier drafts before Lavagna’s arrival. Rather, this paper emphasizes that subjective principles and positive theories were part of the global trend of criminal legislation in the 1930s.

--Dan Ernst

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

New Books in Law seeks hosts

 Via our friends at H-Law, we have the following announcement:

New Books in Law ( is currently seeking hosts interested in conducting interviews with authors of new books on law and related fields. Hosting the channel is a good way to bring the work of legal scholars and historians to the attention of large audiences. Interested parties should write Marshall Poe at

New Books in Law is part of the New Books Network (, a non-profit consortium of 84 author-interview podcasts focused on academic books. The NBN serves one million episodes a month to a worldwide audience. Its mission is outreach and public education. 

-- Karen Tani

Campbell on "Truth and Justice"

The latest podcast of The Champlain Society is an interview by the Society's Greg Marchildon of Lyndsay Campbell about her book, Truth and Privilege: Libel Law in Massachusetts and Nova Scotia, 1820-1840.

Published by Cambridge University Press in 2022, this is the first book ever to be co-sponsored by the American Society for Legal History and the Osgood Society for Canadian Legal History. A transnational history, Truth and Privilege illustrates the power of applying the comparative method to legal history. Lyndsay Campbell is an Associate Professor in Law and History as well as the Associate Dean of Research in the Faculty of Law at the University of Calgary. She has previously published work comparing Canadian and American approaches to law and 19th century constitutionalism.

As the publisher, Cambridge University Press, explains:

Truth and Privilege is a comparative study that brings together legal, constitutional and social history to explore the common law's diverging paths in two kindred places committed to freedom of expression but separated by the American Revolution. Comparing Nova Scotia and Massachusetts, Lyndsay Campbell examines the development of libel law, the defences of truth and privilege, and the place of courts as fora for disputes. She contrasts courts' centrality in struggles over expression and the interpretation of individual rights in Massachusetts with concerns about defining protective boundaries for the press and individuals through institutional design in Nova Scotia. Campbell's rich analysis acts as a lens through which to understand the role of law in shaping societal change in the nineteenth century, shedding light on the essential question we still grapple with today: what should law's role be in regulating expression we perceive as harmful?
--Dan Ernst

Monday, April 25, 2022

The Docket 5:1

The Docket, the digital imprint of Law and History Review, is out with a new issue, 5:1 (2022).  Here's the TOC:

Editor’s Note: The Docket Forum on Hendrik Hartog’s “Four Fragments on Doing Legal History, Or Thinking With and Against Willard Hurst”

Risa Goluboff: Response to Dirk Hartog’s “Four Fragments” In a Flow Chart and Three Venn Diagrams

Mark V. Tushnet: Response to Dirk Hartog’s Four Fragments

Mia Brett: “Peculiar Jews: The Trial of Pesach Rubenstein and Antisemitism in Late Nineteenth-Century New York”

Anthony W. Orlando: How Racial Discrimination Persists Legally: Redlining as Policy vs. Redlining as Philosophy

Bruce W. Dearstyne: New York’s Court of Appeals and Progressive Reform

--Dan Ernst

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Daniel on Sumners and the Electoral Count Act

Josiah M. Daniel III, Vinson & Elkins and UT Austin, Department of History, has posted Congressman Hatton W. Sumners's 1928 Amendment to the Electoral Count Act:

Hatton Sumners (LC)
Inspired by the April 4, 2022 issuance of "Principles for ECA Reform" by the working group convened by the American Law Institute, this paper makes three points. First, the history of the Electoral Count Act is longer than the working group acknowledged, dating from 1792, not 1887, and that history is essential to any attempt to understand the ECA. Second, the example of the previously unknown amendment made to the ECA in 1928 by Congressman Hatton W. Sumners of Dallas is important and useful to the project of considering reform or revision of the ECA. His amendment, known as House Bill 7373, was by far the most extensive of the limited number of post-1887 and 1888 amendments. Those 1887 and 1888 amendments had been inspired by the three months of controversy following the Hayes v. Tilden election of 1875. There was no such exogenous imperative for Sumners’ proposal, but his legislation subserved the cause of “good government” and increased efficiency, transparency, and clarity in the interface between the Electoral College and the Congress. Third, while we do not know for certain, yet, the motivations and purposes of Sumners qua legislator of this amendment—the paper infers what those motivations were—, the specific legislative history of House Bill 7373 is interesting and useful.

The author concludes from the 1928 history that ECA revision may be possible, even today, if on a bipartisan basis, with a sponsor who is comfortable and capable of working with rational members of Congress across the aisle, and if the changes are in the nature of modernizations and tweakings of the Electoral College machinery. The paper closes with the hope that consideration of the history of the ECA will inform efforts to seek its amendment now.

--Dan Ernst

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Weekend Roundup

  • Congratulations to Lucy Salyer, University of New Hampshire, for winning the Gary Lindberg Award in UNH’s College of Liberal Arts, awarded annually to an outstanding teacher-scholar.   More.
  • The Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory hosts Duncan Kennedy, the Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence at Harvard Law School, Emeritus, on “Law Distributes I: Ricardo Marx CLS,” on Apr 27, 2022, 18:00 - 21:00.   More.
  • Sonia Hernández and Stephanie Hinnershitz have been named the 2022 recipients of the Philip Taft Labor History Award. Hernández received it for For a Just and Better World:  Engendering Anarchism in the Mexican Borderlands, 1900-1938.  Hinnershitz received it for Japanese American Incarceration:  The Camps and Coerced Labor During World War II.  More.
  • Sarah Seo reviews Anne Gray Fischer's The Streets Belong to Us in The Atlantic.
  • Mark Tushnet briefly blogs on The Hughes Court on the Cambridge University Press blog.
  • Nadav Orian Peer, University of Colorado Law School, has posted Money Creation and Bank Clearing, which is forthcoming in the Fordham Journal of Corporate and Financial Law.
  • ICYMI:  Marcia Coyle on Justice Kagan’s reluctant duel with Justice Gorsuch on “law-chambers history” of habeas corpus in Brown v. Davenport (

 Weekend Roundup is a weekly feature compiled by all the Legal History bloggers.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Enchantment and the History of Capitalism

[We have the following announcement.  DRE.]

Please join us for our (for now) final roundtable in the ‘Enchantment in the History of Capitalism’ series on May 5, 16:30 BST. We will be welcoming Professor Jean Comaroff, Professor Jens Beckert, and Professor Robert Kozinets for a session on enchantment in contemporary scholarship on economic life.

This is the third of a series of reading-group style workshops, intended to reflect on the meaning of enchantment and its uses in existing scholarship across different disciplines, with a longer-term view to redirect the concept and shed new light on the history of capitalism.

Please register here.  More information on our roundtables is available on the network website, We hope to see many of you there!

Anat Rosenberg and Astrid Van den Bossche
Harry Radzyner Law School
Reichman University

Thursday, April 21, 2022

U Chicago Seeks Instructional Professor in Law, Letters, and Society

We have the following call for applications, for an Instructional Professor in Law, Letters, and Society at the University of Chicago: 

The Social Sciences Collegiate Division at the University of Chicago is now accepting applications for a full-time Instructional Professor who will teach in the program in Law, Letters, and Society. The appointment is renewable, and the initial three-year term begins September 1, 2022. Appointment at rank Assistant, Associate, and full Instructional Professor will be considered based on the candidate’s experience.

The program in Law, Letters, and Society (LLSO) is an undergraduate program that offers a major, courses, student research opportunities, and a variety of co-curricular activities. The program is designed to develop students’ analytical skills and enable informed and critical examination of law broadly construed. Rather than situating the study of the law solely in contemporary debates in the field of American constitutional law, LLSO seeks to organize its exploration of law through the broader terms of “letters” and “society.” LLSO has approximately 120 undergraduate majors and offers courses taught by instructors from diverse disciplines. More information about the program in Law, Letters, and Society can be viewed in the College’s online catalog:

The successful candidate will teach six quarter-length courses each academic year, comprising required and elective courses in Law, Letters, and Society. Among the six quarter-length courses, the candidate may also contribute to teaching in the America in World Civilization general education sequence. The successful candidate will be prepared to teach the required LLSO course, “Introduction to Legal Reasoning.” Additional LLSO courses may address topics such as the law of corporations, the law of race and racism, comparative legal systems, or the law of gender and sexuality. The successful candidate will also participate in developing new coursework for the Law, Letters, and Society major; participate in planning and coordinating co-curricular activities; support the Director and Associate Director in developing workshops, student research experiences, and opportunities for internships and professional placement; and advise up to five B.A. theses.      

The position requires either a J.D. or a Ph.D. in a relevant field in the social sciences or humanities. Candidates must have completed all degree requirements no later than August 31, 2022. Experience teaching at the college level is required.

More information is available here.

-- Karen Tani

"The Bill of Rights in Modern America"

The third, revised, and expanded edition of The Bill of Rights in Modern America, edited by David J. Bodenhamer and James W. Ely, Jr., has now been published by the Indiana University Press:

Newly revised and expanded to address immigration, gay rights, privacy rights, affirmative action, and more, The Bill of Rights in Modern America provides clear insights into the issues currently shaping the United States. Essays explore the law and history behind contentious debates over such topics as gun rights, limits on the powers of law enforcement, the death penalty, abortion, and states' rights.

Accessible and easy to read, the discerning research offered in The Bill of Rights in Modern America will help inform critical discussions for years to come.
Table of Contents after the jump.

--Dan Ernst

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Legal History in Michigan's Book Review Issue

Several contributions to this year's book review issue of the Michigan Law Review might interest legal historians. Jessica A. Shoemaker reviews Gregory Ablavsky’s Federal Ground: Governing Property and Violence in the First U.S. Territories in The Truth about Property. Jeena Shah reviews Scott L. Cummings’s An Equal Place: Lawyers in the Struggle for Los Angeles, in Community Lawyering in Resistance to Neoliberalism. The issue has a symposium on Sara Mayeux’s Free Justice: A History of the Public Defender in Twentieth-Century America, consisting of an introduction by Brooke Simone and Aditya Vedapudi, Bennett Capers’s Free-ing Criminal Justice; and Alexis Hoag's The Color of Justice.  Deborah N. Archer revisits James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time in How Racism Persists in its Power.  Stephanie Toti provides a foreword, The Never-Ending Struggle for Reproductive Rights.

--Dan Ernst

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

German Legal History 2022

[We have the following announcement of German Legal History Conference 2022.  DRE.]

Forms of Validity of Law

Legal norms claim to be binding and thus valid. However, their validity cannot be taken for granted.  Depending on its social, political, economic and cultural environment, legal normativity is described in very different ways, and its declared binding and enforced by very different mechanisms.  The presentations, talks and discussions of the 43rd Legal History Conference will identify, analyze, and compare notions and limits of "legal validity" at different historical stages.  

Plenary lectures will ask about types and forms of legal validity in antiquity, the Middle Ages, the early modern and the modern period.  

In contrast, the sections of the Legal History Conference will focus on special contexts and problematic situations of the rule of law. With legal pluralism, the much-discussed question of the coexistence and, if necessary, also coexistence of claims to validity of different legal norms is examined. The section on arbitration focuses on the validity of legal norms and their application beyond the state. In the section on religious rights, the question is asked how and in what way the validity of law arises in the context of religious associations, sometimes in competition with secular sovereign rule. The interstate sphere of the rule of law is the subject of the section on the history of international law. The section “Media Change and Law” is devoted to the interdependence of the rule of law and the medial shaping of law. Last, but not least, the importance of specialized legal knowledge for the validity of law is the subject of the section “Expert Cultures of Law”.  

The validity of law, its foundations, its limits, and its content have repeatedly become questionable in the present. The 43rd Legal History Conference 2022 offers a broad historical horizon of reflection also and especially to these debates.

Monday, April 18, 2022

JSCH 47:1

Here's the TOC for Journal of Supreme Court History 47:1 (March 2022).


Timothy S. Huebner


“Commonly Estimated as One: Bushrod Washington and the Marshall Court”

Gerard N. Magliocca

If Walls Could Talk: the Supreme Court and DACOR Bacon House, Two Centuries of Connections

Terry Walz

The Chief Justice and the Page: Earl Warren, Charles Bush, and the Promise of Brown v. Board of Education

Todd C. Peppers 

Earl Warren’s Last Stand: Powell v. McCormack, Race, and the Political Question Doctrine

Olivia O’Hea

Book Reviews

The Great Dissenter: The Story of John Marshall Harlan, Peter S. Canellos, reviewed by Paul Kens


D. Grier Stephenson Jr.

Judicial Bookshelf

CFP: Legal Orders under Pressure

[We have the following Call for Papers.  DRE.]

Legal orders under pressure: Non-Western experiences of legal transformations in the 19th and early 20th centuries, 7th December-9th December 2022 (virtual)

Symposium Theme.  From the mid-19th century onwards, many regions underwent fundamental legal changes by following Western models, driven by both internal and external diplomatic or economic pressures. The most prominent example of this kind of pressure is the extraterritoriality that was applied e.g., to the Ottoman Empire, China, Japan, Siam, and Ethiopia, which deprived these countries of their judicial sovereignty, without abolishing their statehood altogether. Many other non-colonised regions were also subjected to other forms of strong pressure for legal reforms, such as in Eastern Europe, Russia, Iran, Afghanistan, among others.

The legal reforms initiated in these countries are usually examined with a focus on codifications. However, such a perspective limits the understanding of the complexity of the transformations that took place. Therefore, this symposium invites participants to tackle broader layers of law, and to look at the actors, the agencies, the dynamics of cultural translations, the diplomatic relations, and the interconnectedness between the spaces that were located neither in Western Europe, nor in North America. It will cover a time frame loosely running from ca. 1850 to 1940, according to each region’s own itinerary.

Thereby, the symposium offers a platform for gaining a better understanding of the characteristics of the legal translations and transformations that took place in spaces that were under the pressure of the Western European Powers. Encompassing a broad scope of different countries and settings will allow us to rethink the alleged universalisation of Western European law in the 19th century and early 20th century. By looking at the different experiences of translation and invention, radical transition and complex continuities, resistance and internal conflicts, the symposium aims at contributing to a broader framework of current research that reassesses what legal ‘modernity’ as well as the ‘West’ meant. By connecting legal histories, which have mostly been studied in isolation from one another, and by analysing them against the backdrop of global imperialism and colonialism, the symposium offers the opportunity to reconsider historiographical narratives. Theoretical, empirical and interdisciplinary approaches are equally welcome.

Subjects for papers may include, but are by no means limited to:

  • The autonomy/heteronomy of the legal transformation processes: multiple agencies and layers, complex positioning towards Europe and European law; negotiating tradition, religion, and identity within the reform processes.
  • The connections/disconnections between the countries under pressure: To what extent did they observe, emulate, contest, or hamper each other? What impact did these connections and/or disconnections have on the legal reform processes in the respective countries?
  • To what extent did non-state actors play a role in the legal reform processes, not only on the local and national levels, but also on the supra and transnational levels? What role did transnational movements such as Pan-Asianism, Pan-Islamist, Pan-Arabism, Anti-colonialism, or the transnational dimension of nationalism play in the exchange between the countries?
  • How did the concept of justice and the understanding of law change? How did such an epistemological shift translate into legal practice?

The organisers are keen to give advanced PhD-students, as well as post-doctoral and senior
researchers the opportunity to present their research in a panel session, commented by a leading scholar of the field. Submissions by researchers from all jurisdictions are welcome, and applicants from the Global South are particularly encouraged to apply.

Submission Process and Organisation.  The Symposium will be conducted in English. Applicants are invited to submit an abstract of up to 350 words (including a title, full name, email address, and institutional affiliation), and a short biography of up to 100 words to by 25th May 2022. Successful applicants will be informed by 15th June 2022. Symposium papers are expected by 20th November 2022, and the symposium will take place virtually from 7th to 9th December 2022.

The Symposium is organised by the Max-Planck-Research Group “Translations and Transitions:
Legal Practice in 19th Century Japan, China, and the Ottoman Empire”, at the Max-Planck-
Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory (Frankfurt), and by the Chair for Globalisation and
Legal Pluralism, Department of Legal and Constitutional History, University of Vienna.

The Organisers are: Egas Bender de Moniz Bandeira, Lena Foljanty, and Zülâl Muslu.
Contact information:

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Weekend Roundup

  • Leiden’s Renske Janssen receives a Rubicon grant for Thinking about law in Rome: “What is the purpose of the law, and whose interests does it serve? This project uses the works of the Roman author Tacitus, who frequently dealt with these questions, to study how people in the Roman imperial period could talk and think about the role of law in society.”
  •  Federal History 14 (2022) is now online, including Sean Seyer’s "From Conspiracy to Policy: James V. Martin, the “Air Trust” Narrative, and the 1926 Air Commerce Act."
  • The amicus brief of Serena Mayeri, Melissa Murray, and Reva Siegel in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization (SSRN).
  • ICYMI: Lochner, as per the Pacific Legal Foundation.

Weekend Roundup is a weekly feature compiled by all the Legal History bloggers.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Early Career Fellowship at Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh is advertising the position Early Career Fellow in Legal History, a “full time, fixed term position available to 31st July 2024. . . .   The successful candidate should have either completed a PhD (or be very close to completion of one) in legal history or a related field.” More.

--Dan Ernst

Langum Prize to Bay for "Traveling Black"

The Langum Foundation has awarded the 2021 David J. Langum, Sr. Prize in American Legal History to Traveling Black: A Story of Race and Resistance by Mia Bay (University of Pennsylvania). The citation:

“American identity has long been defined by mobility and the freedom of the open road, but African Americans have never fully shared in that freedom,” Mia Bay writes in her extraordinary, elegant, and moving new book. From stagecoaches and steamships to trains, planes, and automobiles, travel throughout the nation has been the site of racial discrimination and African American resistance. Bay brilliantly demonstrates how travel became the flash point for racial conflict and reminds us how many Rosa Parks preceded Rosa Parks. This superbly researched story takes us beyond the courtroom to the actors who agitated to end segregation in transportation and demonstrates the changing–and continuing–ways they navigated race and shared space. 
The Langum Foundation also named LHB guest blogger Anna Lvovsky (Harvard Law School) a finalist for Vice Patrol: Cops, Courts, and the Struggle over Urban Gay Life before Stonewall:

In this wide-ranging and imaginative study, Anna Lvovsky centers the law’s confrontation with gay life in the United States in the mid-20th century, training her eye on criminal justice at the local level. Lvovksy illuminates the tensions between, on the one hand, state liquor agencies established post-Prohibition and the newly-formed vice patrols of local police forces, and, on the other hand, state trial courts, where judges exercised discretion to temper what they viewed as bureaucratic and law enforcement excesses. While this story alone would render Vice Patrol an important addition to our burgeoning history of the American criminal justice system, the study is all the more important for a larger dynamic Lvovsky’s study reveals: that the project of policing gay life prior to Stonewall was not simply a contest over sexual practices or public conduct, but also was the site of an institutional struggle over the boundaries of the criminal justice system itself.

Congratulations to Professor Bay and Professor Lvovsky!

-- Karen Tani

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Gordon Reed to Deliver Inaugural David T. Konig Lecture (4/21/22)

On April 21, 2022, the History Department at Washington University in St. Louis will host the inaugural David T. Konig Lecture. Professor Annette Gordon-Reed (Harvard University) will deliver a lecture titled "The Jefferson Image in the American Mind in the 21st Century. The changing meaning of Jefferson's legacy in Modern America":

Annette Gordon-Reed will take Thomas Jefferson as a point of departure for a thought-provoking consideration of how Americans understand their own history.  She will consider how terms like freedom and slavery—terms now inseparable from Jefferson—have shaped the ways people talk about Jefferson.  This will be a wide-ranging consideration that explores politics and race, nation and identity, memory and memorials.

Gordon-Reed is Carl M. Loeb University Professor at Harvard University, where she is on the faculty of both the Harvard Law School and the Department of History.  She is the author of numerous books in both law and history.  She has received over sixteen major book prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize for The Hemingses of Monticello, a magisterial study that explores one enslaved family on Thomas Jefferson’s plantation and in the process reimagines how we understand both Jefferson’s landmark home and the experience of slavery.  Her most recent book is the New York Times best-seller On Juneteenth, which combines both American history and family history in telling the story of commemoration of emancipation.

More information is available here.

-- Karen Tani

Smith on the First Common-Law Corporation Case

David Chan Smith, Wilfrid Laurier University, has posted The Beginning of History for Corporate Law: Corporate Government, Social Purpose and the Case of Sutton’s Hospital (1612), which is forthcoming in the Seattle University Law Review:

This paper explores the history of corporate law through the
Charterhouse.  Stuart Taylor (cc)
Case of Sutton's Hospital
. The case is among the oldest still-cited cases in Anglo-American corporate law and contains the oft-quoted definition that a corporation is “… invisible, immortal, and rests only in intendment of law." The article uses new sources to investigate the case to suggest how the history of corporate law can be rewritten, and explains the linkages between corporations and social purpose during the period of special incorporation. By doing so, the article highlights the importance of cultural and religious contexts to early Anglo-American corporate law and urges the crucial importance of 19th century fission, or the split of corporations into for- and non-profit entities.

--Dan Ernst

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Native Peoples, American Colonialism, and the U.S. Constitution

[We are moving up this post, because the deadline of May 1, 2022 is not far off.  DRE]

The Institute for Constitutional Studies of the George Washington University Law School,
in cooperation with the NYU-Yale American Indian Sovereignty Project, announce Native Peoples, American Colonialism, and the U.S. Constitution, an Interdisciplinary Summer Workshop in Constitutional Studies, to be held in New Haven, Connecticut,  June 19-24, 2022

Description: This seminar will explore the burgeoning historical and legal literature on the centrality of the Native peoples of North America to the U.S. Constitution and the development of U.S. constitutional law. It will consider the role of Native peoples and “Indian affairs” in the Constitution’s initial drafting and ratification and the effects of American colonialism on the growth and structure of federal power. The seminar will also explore how centering Native peoples allows for a rethinking of United States constitutional history and American public law more broadly.

Workshop Leaders
: Gregory Ablavsky is a professor of law and the Helen L. Crocker Faculty Scholar at Stanford Law School and professor of history by courtesy at Stanford University. He is the author of Federal Ground: Governing Property and Violence in the First U.S. Territories (Oxford, 2021), as well as multiple articles in history journals and law reviews on the history of federal Indian law and early American legal history. His work has received the Preyer and Cromwell Prizes from the American Society for Legal History.

Maggie Blackhawk (Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe) is a professor of law at NYU School of Law. She was awarded the American Society for Legal History’s Cromwell Article prize, and her articles on constitutional law, constitutional history, and federal Indian law have been published in the Harvard Law Review, Stanford Law Review, and the Yale Law Journal, among others. Her current book project, "America’s Other Original Sin: Indians and the Constitution in the Shadow of American Empire" (under contract, Harvard University Press), examines the centrality of Native nations, Native people, and American colonialism to the constitutional law and constitutional history of the United States.

Ned Blackhawk (Western Shoshone) is a professor of history and American Studies at Yale and was on the faculty from 1999 to 2009 at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. A graduate of McGill University, he holds graduate degrees in history from UCLA and the University of Washington and is the author of Violence over the Land: Indians and Empires in the early American West (Harvard, 2006), a study of the American Great Basin that garnered half a dozen professional prizes, including the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize from the Organization of American Historians.

In addition to serving in professional associations and on the editorial boards of American Quarterly and Ethnohistory, Professor Blackhawk has led the establishment of two fellowships, one for American Indian Students to attend the Western History Association’s annual conference, the other for doctoral students working on American Indian Studies dissertations at Yale named after Henry Roe Cloud (Winnebago, Yale College Class of 1910).

Stipends and Support
: Participants will receive accommodation at The Study at Yale located on Chapel Street and a modest stipend for meals. Participants will also receive a travel reimbursement up to $250. Workshop participants are expected to attend all sessions and engage in all program activities.

Eligibility and Application Procedure
: The summer workshop is designed for graduate students and university instructors who now teach or plan to teach courses in constitutional studies, including constitutional history, constitutional law, and related subjects. Instructors who would like to devote a unit of a survey course to constitutional history are also welcome to apply. All university-level instructors are encouraged to apply, including adjuncts and part-time faculty members, and post-doctoral fellows from any academic discipline associated with constitutional studies (history, political science, law, Native studies, anthropology, sociology, literary criticism, etc.).

To apply, please submit the following materials: a detailed résumé or curriculum vitae with contact information; syllabi from any undergraduate course(s) in constitutional studies you currently teach; and a 500- word statement describing your interest in both constitutional studies and this workshop. The application statement should address your professional background, any special perspectives or experiences you might bring to the workshop, and how the workshop will enhance your teaching in constitutional studies.

The deadline for applications is May 1, 2022. Applications should be sent via electronic mail to Successful applicants will be notified soon thereafter.

For Further Information, Please Contact
: Maeva Marcus, Director, Institute for Constitutional Studies, The George Washington University Law School, (202) 994-6562

The Institute for Constitutional Studies (ICS) is the nation’s premier institute dedicated to ensuring that future generations of Americans understand the substance and historical development of the U.S. Constitution. Located at the George Washington University Law School, the Institute is co-sponsored by the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, and the American Political Science Association. The Association of American Law Schools is a cooperating entity. ICS prepares junior scholars and college instructors to convey to their readers and students the important role the Constitution has played in shaping American society. ICS also provides a national forum for the preparation and dissemination of humanistic, interdisciplinary scholarship on American constitutional history