Monday, October 2, 2023

CFP: Student Writing Prize on California Legal History

[We have the following announcement.  DRE.] 

The California Supreme Court Historical Society (CSCHS) announces its call for submissions to the 2024 Selma Moidel Smith Student Writing Competition in California Legal History.

We encourage all those working on California legal history (NOT just the history of California courts) to apply. Papers may include elements of digital humanities and may also be co-authored. This is a GREAT WAY to get attention for your hard work!

$5,000 first-place, $2,500 second-place, and $1,000 third-place prizes will be awarded to the best papers on California state or colonial history, broadly considered. Recent winners include a study of the death penalty in California, the evolution of California land law, especially the movement from “free” to “cheap” land, law governing the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and the origins of the University of California, as well as a jointly authored paper on Chinese adoption practices and their role in immigration decisions after the Chinese Exclusion Act.

We generally encourage papers of at least 7,500 and no more than 15,000 words, including notes and other explanatory matter. The competition is open to students and recent graduates in history and/or law, provided that they did not have full-time academic employment at the time the paper was written. The paper should also be unpublished, and all prize winners will receive an offer to publish in California Legal History, CSCHS’s journal.

Papers may be self-nominated or sent in by a professor or supervisor. To ensure anonymity, the author’s name should appear only on a separate cover page, along with the author’s mailing address, telephone number, email address, and the name of their school.  

Submissions are due by June 1, 2024 and should be sent to with the subject line “Smith Prize.” The winners will be announced in early July 2024, and an award ceremony (likely over Zoom) will be held in August 2024.

For the Prize Committee: Sarah Barringer Gordon, Laura Kalman