22 October 2013

CONFERENCE: Graduate Conference "Bringing the Law back into history" (Cambridge, Trinity Hall, 16 December 2013)

Dr. William O'Reilly (Cambridge/Harvard) and Tom Toëlle (Princeton) host a Graduate Conference on the relationship between law and history, next December. The Call, specifically aimed at young legal historians (preferably with a background in history, graduate student level) reads as follows:

We cordially invite young historians with an interest in legal categories in historical analysis to partake in our Graduate Workshop 2013: ‘Bringing the law back into history’, which will take place on 16 December at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. The workshop will provide a forum to critically engage with the role of law in recent historiography and to discuss different approaches to legal categories in your own research.

Frontispiece Corvinus Ivrispruvdentia Romana
Frontispiece Corvinus Ivrispruvdentia Romana
            Legal history (as a history of the role of law in early modern politics) witnesses a revival: from historians of early modern slavery, over those who study political crime or humanitarian intervention to scholars, who seek new ways to study the history of empire. The methodological concepts of a more and more border-crossing cultural history – from ‘encounter’ and ‘translation’ to ‘hybridity’ and ‘croisée’ – seem to gain inspiration from legal cases. The overlapping legal spheres of early modern Europe, its contested imperial viceroyalties and plantations, its rivalling networks of trade, and the ways in which it sought to impose ‘its law’ onto a world with its own dynamic and controversial legal traditions are increasingly becoming subject of enquiry.
            The organizers, Dr William O’Reilly (Cambridge University) and Tom Tölle (Princeton University) invite contributions by a limited number of European graduate students for a workshop with plenty of room for discussion. We would like you to systematically think about the role that legal knowledge, practices of law-making, the transfer or translation of legal knowledge, and the definition of deviance and resistance to these definitions had for the societies under consideration. We seek to bring together a group of students working on chronologically and regionally varied areas of expertise to engage with the question: What effects could bringing the law back into history have for the profession.
            We invite you to explore if and how legal categories can be fruitfully studied in different areas of enquiry. Papers will be circulated in advance and presentations limited to 15 minutes. Comments on each paper will tease out the main implications; discussions between the contributors compare the cases, while a final panel will summarize the outcome of a day’s work. The workshop is supported by the University of Cambridge. Travel expenses, accommodation (15-16 Dec), and meals for a limited number of speakers can be covered.
            If you are interested in presenting your research at this event, you are invited to submit a preliminary title for your paper and an abstract of c. 500 words by 5 November. The papers for circulation, which can be in a ‘presentation style’, should reach the organizers ( no later than 9 December and will be distributed to the group the week before the conference.
We would be delighted to receive your proposals as soon as possible and thank you in advance for your contributions.

We are very much looking forward to receiving your applications.

Further information can be found on

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