29 January 2015

CONFERENCE: Honour and Law, at the occasion of the conferral of a doctorate honoris causa to Prof. dr. James Whitman (Leuven, 25-26 February 2015)

(image source:

Theb Catholic University of Leuven organizes a two-day conference at the occasion of the conferral of a doctorate honoris causa to Prof. dr. James Whitman (Yale Law School).

Day 1
Opening remarks and introduction by Prof. Dr. Matthias E. Storme and Prof. Dr. Wim Decock (Law, KU Leuven)
Introductory lecture by Prof. Dr. Andrea Robiglio(Law, KU Leuven), ‘The Unbearable Obsolescence of the Concept of Honor
10.10 – 12.30
Honour, Reputation, Business,Creditworthiness and Insolvency (Session 1)
Chair: Prof. Dr. Laurent Waelkens (Law, KU Leuven)
Reporter: Drs. Matthias Castelein (Law, KU Leuven)
1. Dr. Rowena Olegario (Oxford Saïd Business School), ‘Reputation and Creditworthiness’
2. Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Förster (Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen), ‘Vom Schandstein zum Konkursverfahren -- die rechtshistorische Entwicklung’
3. Drs. Wouter Druwé (Law, KU Leuven), ‘Dignity and Cessio Bonorum in 16th-century Consilia”.

lunch break
14.00 – 15.50 Honour, Defamation and Legal Remedies (Session 2)
Chair: Prof. Dr. Stephan Parmentier (Law, KU Leuven)
Reporter: Dra. Huma Saeed (Law, KU Leuven)
1. Dr. Eric De Scheemaeker (Edinburgh Law School),‘The Amende Honorable’
2. Dr. Gijs Van Dijck (Universiteit Tilburg)‘Tort Law, Compensation and Respect’

16.10 – 18.00 Honour (Codes) as Competitor for Law (Session 3)
Chair: Prof. Dr. Wim Decock (Law, KU Leuven)
Reporter: Drs. Rafael Van Damme (Law, KU Leuven)
1. Prof. Dr. Letizia Paoli (Law, KU Leuven),‘Honour Codes (of Criminal Organizations) as Alternative Legal Orders’
2. Prof. Dr. Marco Cavina (History of Law, Università degli studi di Bologna), ‘La 'codification' du droit des gentilhommes (de la science 'normative' del'honneur [XVI-XVIII s.] aux codes du duel [XIX-XX s.])’

Day 2
9.00 – 10.50 Harsh Justice and Symbolic Sanctions (Session 4)
Chair: Prof. Tom Daems (Law, KU Leuven)
Reporter: Dra. Brunilda Pali (Law, KU Leuven)
1. Dra. Tine van den Driessche (Institute of Philosophy, KU Leuven), ‘Symbolic Punishment’

11.00 – 12.50 Honour and the Law of War and Peace (Session 5)
Chair: Prof. Dr. Jan Wouters (Law, KU Leuven)
Reporter: Dra. Nele Verlinden (Law, KU Leuven)
1. Prof. Dr. Randall Lesaffer (Law, KU Leuven/Tilburg University), ‘Warmongers, Disturbers of the Peace and Violators of Sacred Trust: War, crime and infamy before Versailles’
2. Prof. Dr. Tom Ruys (Law, UGent), ‘Honour and the Modern Law of Non-international Armed Conflict’

12.50 Closing Remarks
Prof. Dr. Matthias E. Storme (Law, KU Leuven)

Practical information:
- Faculty of Law, Leuven
Auditorium Zeger Van Hee, College De Valk
Tiensestraat 41, 3000 Leuven
Wednesday 25 February 2015: 9.30 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Thursday 26 February 2015: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
• FEE: 25 euros. Registration is required.
Please note that the honorary doctorate of
Professor Whitman is free of charge and takes place on Thursday 26 February 2015 at 5 p.m. in the Promotiezaal, Universiteitshallen, Naamsestraat 22, 3000 Leuven.
Attendance by registration only.
• FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, including the online registration tool, please visit or
For more information, please contact Erik De Dijn (, + 32 16 32 51 16)

SUMMER ACADEMY: Max-Planck Summer Academy for Legal History

Max-Planck Summer Academy for Legal History

The Max-Planck Summer Academy for Legal History, offered by the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History (MPIeR), provides an in-depth introduction to methods and principles of research in legal history. Although its main focus is on European legal history, there is special emphasis on global perspectives on legal history. It addresses a selected group of highly motivated early-stage researchers, usually PhD candidates, working on a research project with an interest in the basic research of historical formation and transformations of law and other normative orders.
The academy consists of two modules and lasts two weeks; the first week provides an introduction to the study of sources, methodological principles, as well as theoretical models and controversial research debates on basic research fields of legal history (module 1). During the second week the participants discuss a special research theme and develop their own approach to the theme (module 2).


The next Summer Academy will take place from July 27 until August 7, 2015.

Course aim

The overall aim of the Max Planck Summer Academy for Legal History is to provide PhD candidates with an expertise on the methods and principles of legal history and to equip them with the ability to apply this knowledge to their research projects and other research in legal history or related disciplines.


Lectures and workshops in history of legal history, methodological principles of legal history, antiquity, legal history in antiquity, Ius Commune, legal bibliography, history of private law in the modern era, constitutional history, history of criminal law, and history of international law form the core of the academy.
  • History of Legal History
  • Antiquity
  • An introduction into the secular Ius Commune I (12th-16th century)
  • Ius Commune II – Classical and Post-Classical Canon Law (12th-16th century)
  • History of Private Law in the Modern Period
  • Constitutional History
  • History of Criminal Law
  • Contemporary Legal History Introduction to Legal Theory
  • History of International Law
In addition to the lectures and workshops the participants have the opportunity to work on their individual research projects which should reflect the special theme (see below) and present and discuss them in plenum. Furthermore, the academy offers additional courses in complementary skills. As a summer academy should not consist of academic activities only, a variety of extra-curricular activities, such as visits to nearby historical sites and several get-togethers in the evenings are offered.

BOOK REVIEW: Julius R. Ruff reviews Reynald ABAD, The Grace of the King: Letters of Clemence by the Grande Chancellerie in the 18th Century (Paris: PUPS, 2011)

H-France Reviews, vol. 13 (2013) contains a review by a work of interest to legal historians. Prof. Reynald Abad (Paris IV-Sorbonne/Centre Roland Mousnier) published an elaborate study on the practice of royal mercy in 18th Century France. Focusing on the responses by the proctor-general of the Parliament of Paris, Joly de Fleury (father and son) to inquiries by chancellor d'Aguesseau, Abad (according to the reviewer, Julius R. Ruff) has written 'a book that all students of old regime French law and society will wish to consult'.

Full text of the review on H-France.

Reference: Reynald Abad, La grâce du roi: lettres de clémence de Grande Chancellerie au XVIIIe siècle (Paris: Presses de l'Université Paris-Sorbonne, 2011, 964 p.). More information on the PUPS' website.

21 January 2015

JOURNAL: "Law, Crime and History" (vol. 4 issue 3, 2014)

All information here


Law, Crime and History Volume 4 Issue 3 (2014)

Colin R. Moore and Gerry R. Rubin,  Civilian Detective Doctrine in the 1930s and its Transmission to the Military Police in 1940-42, 1-30
David E. Ruth,‘Our Free Society is Worthy of Better’: Caryl Chessman, Capital Punishment, 
and Cold War Culture, 31-55

Robert S. Shiels, The Structure of Authority and the Prosecution of Crime in the Sheriff Courts of Mid-Victorian Scotland, 56-73 

Debate Forum
Ian Marsh,Conceptualising Media Representations of Crime and Justice within Historical and Contemporary Criminology, 74-83

BOOK: Arlette JOUANNA, The Absolute Prince: Decline and Apogee of Monarchical Imagination (Gallimard, 2014), 336 p., € 22,5, ISBN 978-2070147137

(image: Gallimard)
Prof. em. Arlette Jouanna (Paul Valéry-University, Montpellier III) published a second book in her series on the representation of power in Early Modern France (cf. earlier on this blog). This second volume treats the 17th century.

Book abstract:
Le Prince absolu fait suite au Pouvoir absolu (2013). Déplaçant le regard vers la France de Richelieu et de Louis XIV, Arlette Jouanna interroge les caractères distinctifs de l'idéologie absolue comme système de légitimité. Elle explore dans la longue durée les constructions intellectuelles, théologiques, philosophiques de la pensée du pouvoir, ses avatars, ses infléchissements, ses excès et ses tribulations. Au XVIIe siècle, après la terrible déchirure des guerres de Religion, la croyance en la sacralité du prince fait de lui l'unique source du droit, ce qui tend à assimiler le légitime au légal. D'extraordinaire et dangereux, le pouvoir absolu est devenu ordinaire et bénéfique ; l'art de gouverner y gagne une autonomie temporelle inédite, faisant surgir la notion neuve de l'impersonnalité de l'Etat. Les résistances à ce modèle politique, qui marie le droit divin et la raison d'Etat, ne réussiront pas à s'imposer pendant la Fronde. Louis XIV incarne magnifiquement la majesté de l'Etat absolu ; mais sa puissance même d'incarnation finit par rendre opaque le lien entre pouvoir et justice, donnant prise à l'accusation d'arbitraire. Son règne marque à la fois l'apogée et le début du déclin de l'imaginaire sacral de la monarchie.
Prof. Jouanna also presented her book in the popular radio broadcast 'La Fabrique de l'Histoire' (France Culture). See podcast here.

More information on the publisher's website.

LECTURE: 'The Return of the History of Ideas ?' (Prof. Darrin McMahon, Amsterdam, 2 February 2015)

(image source: wikimedia commons)

The Dutch-Belgian Society for Eighteenth Century Studies announces a lecture on the 'Return of the History of Ideas' by Prof. Darrin McMahon (Darthmouth College).

Long dismissed as a hopelessly outdated form of inquiry, the “history of ideas” is today making a comeback as a viable form of intellectual history.  What are the promises and the pitfalls of a renewed history of ideas?  In this discussion, Professor McMahon will take up the question both from the standpoint of past criticism and current methodological concerns. 
Doelenzaal, UB Amsterdam, Singel 425, Amsterdam
 More information on the Society's blog.

CALL FOR PAPERS: Merchants, Jurists and Other 'Intermediate Groups' in Modern Southern Europe (CIDEHUS - Centro Interdisciplinar de História, Culturas e Sociedades) (DEADLINE 15 FEBRUARY 2015)

(image source: EEHAR) announced an interesting call for papers for a conference to be held in Rome (Escuela Española de Historia y Arqueología en Roma, in september 2015:

Merchants, farmers, jurists, clerks in large institutions, secretaries, independent landowners, local elites and highly sought master craftsmen, among many others, are individuals with an ambiguous social status. Looking at who was not born exactly noble, nor exactly commoner, but stood on the border between one world and the other, is one of the goals of this initiative.
The so-called ‘intermediate groups’ often appear in researches on mobility processes. And, although that may be an interesting means to approach and study the problem, it is surely not the only one. We can walk other paths, and try to find out, for instance, how did those groups got to that level. What kind of factors (if any) differentiated them? Does it make any sense to speak of ‘intermediate groups’ in colonial Ibero-America? Is it eventually possible to draw their profile? How did they socially interact? In the Iberian Peninsula, many of their presumed members enjoyed prestigious places in religious organizations or were familiares of the Inquisition. What other types of social distinctions did they get? Similar strata seem to have existed throughout southern Europe. What features did they present?
As part of a project developed in Portugal focusing on the Holy Office’s familiaturas, it will be held on September 16 and 17, 2015, a workshop at Escuela Española de Historia and Archaeological in Rome. Our aim is to select a total of 8 applicants, that will be joined by 4 guest speakers, for a joint reflection on the dynamics and profiles of ‘intermediate groups’, as well as on the methodologies for their study in Early Modern Times.

Submission guidelines

If you are interested in this theme and some or all of the above related issues, please send a title, an A4 page summary and a brief CV to , before 15 FEBRUARY 2015
 The full text of the trilingual call can be found here.

BOOK: Véronique CHAMPEIL-DESPLATS, Methodologies of Law and Legal Science(s) (Dalloz, 2014), 454 p., € 40 (ISBN 9782247085712)

 (image source: dalloz)

Nomôdos announced the publication of  Prof. Véronique Champeil-Desplat (Paris X)'s Méthodologies du droit des des sciences du droit (Dalloz).

Abstract and contents:
Le droit est animé par un ensemble de raisonnements, de catégorisations, d'argumentations, de justifications, bref de méthodes propres qui le différencient d'autres activités de la pensée humaine.
Or ces méthodes du droit se déploient à deux niveaux de langage distincts: il existe d'une part les méthodes des acteurs du droit produisant des normes juridiques (constituant, législateur...) et d'autre part les méthodes de ceux qui analysent la production des normes juridiques avec des visées pratiques ou théoriques (théoriciens du droit, sociologues...).
L'ambition de cet ouvrage est de distinguer et de mettre en évidence la pluralité des méthodes utilisées dans les textes juridiques et dans les analyses effectuées par les différentes sciences du droit. 
Une telle étude est quasi-inexistante dans la littérature juridique française. Elle est pourtant essentielle pour la formation des étudiants tant de Licence que de ceux qui s'engagent dans la rédaction de mémoires et de thèse. Elle doit permettre de donner des grilles de compréhension et d'analyse des arrêts et des textes juridiques, mais aussi des commentaires et des controverses doctrinales.
1. Le modèle des sciences exactes. La structuration formaliste des programmes méthodologiques des sciences du droit.

2. L'horizon des sciences sociales. Distanciations et réformation du formalisme.

3. Perspective analytique. De l' usage de quelques méthodes dans les discours juridiques.

More information (including a free excerpt) on the publisher's website.

BOOK: Richard S. KAY, The Glorious Revolution and the Continuity of Law (Catholic Univ. of America Press, 2014, 312 p., $59,95, ISBN 978-0-8132-2687-3)

(image source: amazon)
The Legal History Blog announced a new book by Richard S. Kay (Wallice Stevens Professor of Law at the University of Connecticut School of Law), on The Glorious Revolution and the Continuity of Law.

The Glorious Revolution and the Continuity of Law explores the relationship between law and revolution. Revolt - armed or not - is often viewed as the overthrow of legitimate rulers. Historical experience, however, shows that revolutions are frequently accompanied by the invocation rather than the repudiation of law. No example is clearer than that of the Glorious Revolution of 1688-89. At that time the unpopular but lawful Catholic king, James II, lost his throne and was replaced by his Protestant son-in-law and daughter, William of Orange and Mary, with James's attempt to recapture the throne thwarted at the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland. The revolutionaries had to negotiate two contradictory but intensely held convictions. The first was that the essential role of law in defining and regulating the activity of the state must be maintained. The second was that constitutional arrangements to limit the unilateral authority of the monarch and preserve an indispensable role for the houses of parliament in public decision-making had to be established. In the circumstances of 1688-89, the revolutionaries could not be faithful to the second without betraying the first. Their attempts to reconcile these conflicting objectives involved the frequent employment of legal rhetoric to justify their actions. In so doing, they necessarily used the word "law" in different ways. It could denote the specific rules of positive law; it could simply express devotion to the large political and social values that underlay the legal system; or it could do something in between. In 1688-89 it meant all those things to different participants at different times. This study adds a new dimension to the literature of the Glorious Revolution by describing, analyzing and elaborating this central paradox: the revolutionaries tried to break the rules of the constitution and, at the same time, be true to them.

More information on the publisher's website.

20 January 2015

CONFERENCE & CFP: "Il mediterraneo e la Grande Guerra" (Taranto, 24 May 2015)

what  Il Mediterraneo e la Grande Guerra, Conference and Call for papers

when 24 May 2015

where  Dipartimento Jonico in Sistemi giuridici ed economici del Mediterraneo: società, ambiente, culture dell’Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro, Taranto (Italy)

deadline 15 March 2015, h 12:00 (

All information here 

L’Osservatorio su “L’Europa e il Mediterraneo fra le due guerre mondiali. L’Olocausto e la guerra fredda” (Osservatorio EMGM) organizza un convegno internazionale che si terrà il 24 maggio 2015 a Taranto (Italy) presso la sede del Dipartimento Jonico in Sistemi giuridici ed economici del Mediterraneo: società, ambiente, culture dell’Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro sul tema “Il Mediterraneo e la Grande Guerra”.
L’invito a partecipare è aperto a professori, ricercatori e studiosi di storia del diritto, storia delle istituzioni, storia contemporanea,   provenienti da università italiane e straniere.
Il tema del Convegno ruoterà intorno al focus della Grande Guerra e le diverse esperienze giuridiche dei paesi del Mediterraneo.

15 January 2015

CONFERENCE & CFP: "Anti-Democratic Ideology and Criminal Law under Fascist, National Socialist and Authoritarian Regimes" (London, 10-11 September 2015)

WHAT: Anti-Democratic Ideology and Criminal Law under Fascist, National Socialist and Authoritarian Regimes, conference and call for papers

WHERE: Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, London

WHEN: 10th - 11th September 2015

Convenor: Dr Stephen Skinner, Centre for European Legal Studies, University of Exeter

Outline and Call for Papers

The Fascist, National Socialist and other forms of authoritarian regimes that emerged in the twentieth century used criminal law as a key component of their repressive and social control strategies. Criminal law was both an instrument in such regimes’ exertion of power, and a medium through which their core ideologies were expressed and could be identified. Although such regimes were not merely negative movements grounded on opposition to other political forces, many of them included elements of anti-democratic ideology in the formulation, application and interpretation of criminal law. This involved rejecting concepts identified with liberal democracy, and purporting to overcome their inadequacies. Whereas for some regimes such as Fascism and National Socialism this was an explicit, self-declared component of their identity, for others anti-democratic ideology was arguably more implicit in their turn away from liberal methods and models of criminal law.

This conference invites participants to question the nature and extent of anti-democratic ideology in criminal law under Fascist, National Socialist and other authoritarian regimes during the 20th century. Although the primary focus is intended to be on Fascism, National Socialism and similar systems in Europe, proposals for papers adopting a comparative approach to criminal law under communism, or to experiences in other parts of the world, will also be considered. Key themes for discussion could include, but are not limited to:

BOOK: "No Juzgueis. Antropologìa de la justicia e imàgenes de la opiniòn pùblica entre los siglos XIX y XX", by Luigi Lacché

Luigi Lacché, <No Juzgueis>. Antropologìa de la justicia e imàgenes de la opiniòn pùblica entre los siglos XIX y XX

«No juzguéis». Antropología de la justicia e imágenes de la opinión pública entre los siglos XIX y XX, trad. Maria Valvidares, Santander, Editorial de la Universidad de Cantabria, 2014, pp. 113, ISBN 978-84-8102-731-0
This book (now in Spanish translation) is the result of a lecture at the University of Naples held in 2008. It deals with the fundamental role of judicial publicity and public opinion (judicial public sphere) in the change of justice between 19th and 20th Centuries. It follows the conceptual space of the Gospel exhortation “Do not judge!” in their different interpretations (André Gide) and analyses the main issues of modern justice also according to the anthropological approach

BOOK: "Der eklektizistische Kanon. Auf der Suche nach einer “Tiefenschicht” der italienischen Rechtskultur des 19. Jahrhunderts", by Luigi Lacché (Berlin, 2014)

Luigi Lacché, Der eklektizistische Kanon. Auf der Suche nach einer “Tiefenschicht” der italienischen Rechtskultur des 19. Jahrhunderts, mit einer Einleitung von Hans Schlosser, Berlin, Lit, 2014, pp. 94, ISBN 978-3-643-12770-9
This book is the German translation of the original work “Il canone eclettico. Alla ricerca di uno strato profondo della cultura giuridica italiana dell’Ottocento”. It wants to innovate the interpretation of the Italian Legal Culture during the Nineteenth Century. The book aims to show that to understand the Italian Legal Culture (the ‘Italian style’) in its contemporary development we need another point of view characterized by the strong presence of a deeper layer. I refer to the concept of “eclectic canon” containing a series of figures, arguments and issues. The heart of the eclectic canon is represented by two key authors: Giambattista Vico and Gian Domenico Romagnosi.
Luigi Lacché ist Professor fur Rechtsgeschjchte an der juristischen Fakultat der Universitat Macerata und zur Zeit Reltor der Universitat.
Hans Schlosser war bis zu seiner Emeritierung Prof. fur Burgerliches Recht und Rechtgeschichte an der Juristischen Fakultat der Universitat Augsburg.

JOURNAL: Journal of Constitutional History- Giornale di Storia Costituzionale (n. 28, 2/2014)

Le pouvoir exécutif en France (Révolution/Vème République) /The Executive Power in France (Revolution/Fifth Republic)

Table of contents and abstracts

13 January 2015

CALL FOR COOPERATION: Appel comme d'abus ('appeal as from abuse') (

(the Le Bret family, members of the Aix en Provence parliament, portrayed by Rigaud; source:
Dr. Anne Bozon (Université Paris-VIII, MCF Early Modern History) and Dr. Caroline Galland (Université Paris X Nanterre, MCF Early Modern History) launch an open appeal for cooperation on the theme Appel comme d'abus, an early modern procedural mean for the King of France's sovereign courts to establish his jurisdiction in cases treated by ecclesiastical judges.

The platform text reads as follows (source:
 L’inégalité d’accès aux droits est constitutive de la société française d’Ancien Régime, dont tout le fonctionnement est fondé sur le privilège. Dans le domaine judiciaire, cette inégalité se traduit par la pluralité des instances de répression, de régulation sociale et de résolution des conflits : les Parlements coexistent non seulement avec d’autres tribunaux de niveau inférieur, mais aussi avec des justices seigneuriales et ecclésiastiques. Ordre privilégié par excellence, le clergé dispose d’un pouvoir de juridiction et possède ses propres tribunaux, les officialités, lesquelles ont compétence dans les affaires de discipline ecclésiastique, ainsi que dans les matières qui relèvent du spirituel : mariages, testaments, vœux de religion, office divin, etc. L’appel comme d’abus, apparu dans les derniers siècles du Moyen Âge, est un moyen d’utiliser le pluralisme juridique pour remettre en cause une décision émanant d’une officialité ou d’une instance ecclésiastique, et la porter devant les tribunaux royaux. Dans un certain nombre de cas (violation des lois, atteintes aux libertés de l’Église gallicane, incompétence de l’official), les Parlements sont amenés à reconnaître l’abus dans les causes portées devant eux, et à renvoyer l’affaire devant un juge compétent pour un nouveau procès. Cela suppose un travail de définition, de délimitation et d’élucidation. L’appel comme d’abus est traditionnellement présenté comme un procédé utilisé par la monarchie pour affirmer son autorité à l’encontre des justices ecclésiastiques, qui perdent nombre de leurs attributions entre le XVe et le XVIIIe siècle. Son étude recoupe donc celle des relations entre l’Église et l’État, et plus particulièrement la question du gallicanisme. Mais un examen plus approfondi des affaires dans lesquelles il est utilisé montrent que l’appel comme d’abus fonctionne de manière plus subtile et complexe, et qu’il met en jeu les relations d’autorité à l’intérieur même du clergé. Au-delà de l’étude des fondements théoriques, des origines et du fonctionnement de cet appel, il est nécessaire de mettre en évidence les enjeux historiques multiples que son utilisation soulève. Observer les circonstances et le fonctionnement du recours à cet appel devrait permettre de mieux comprendre le travail quotidien des légistes, le fonctionnement du privilège, la définition même de l’abus, et toutes les difficultés qui peuvent naître de la coexistence entre plusieurs systèmes juridiques.

07 January 2015

CONFERENCE: "Globalization & the Law in Historical Perspective" (Bloomington, June 4-5, 2015)

WHAT: Globalization & the Law in Historical Perspective

WHERE: Maurer School of Law, Indiana University – Bloomington

WHEN: June 4-5, 2015

In recent years, there has been an explosion of new scholarship on the legal history of globalization. This rapidly growing body of literature has encompassed diverse topics, including international social movements, the transnational flow of capital, human rights, diplomacy, and border control. However, as historians have demonstrated, globalization is not a new phenomenon. We invite junior scholars to submit proposals that offer fresh understandings on the historical relationships between law, legal institutions, and globalization. Our intention is to host a conference with a wide range of papers chronologically, geographically, and across disciplines. The conference, part of a series begun in 2007, will provide junior scholars with a forum to showcase their previously unpublished work and to connect with senior scholars in the field. The "Globalization & the Law in Historical Perspective" conference is sponsored by the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, Indiana University Department of History, University of Illinois College of Law, University of Michigan Law School, University of Minnesota Law School, University of Pennsylvania Law School, and American Society for Legal History. Interested participants should submit a 300-word abstract and their cv to Bridget Gross ( Please place "Legal History Conference" in the subject line of your e-mail submission. The deadline for all proposals is Monday, February 16, 2015. Applicants will be notified by email no later than Monday, March 30th. Accepted participants will be required to submit their final papers by May 10, 2015. Papers should not exceed 10,000 words, will be pre-circulated on a password protected website, and read by all conference participants. Conference organizers will provide modest support for presenters' travel to Bloomington, Indiana and lodging during the conference

BOOK: "Property in East Central Europe: Notions, Institutions, and Practices of Landownership in the Twentieth Century", edited by Hannes Siegrist and Dietmar Müller

Property in East Central Europe: Notions, Institutions, and Practices of Landownership in the Twentieth Century, edited by Hannes Siegrist (University of Leipzig) and Dietmar Müller (University of Leipzig)

All information here

Property is a complex phenomenon comprising cultural, social, and legal rules. During the twentieth century, property rights in land suffered massive interference in Central and Eastern Europe. The promise of universal and formally equal rights of land ownership, ensuring predictability of social processes and individual autonomy, was largely not fulfilled. The national appropriation of property in the interwar period and the communist era represent an onerous legacy for the postcommunist (re)construction of a liberal-individualist property regime. However, as the scholars in this collection show, after the demise of communism in Eastern Europe property is again a major factor in shaping individual identity and in providing the political order and culture with a foundational institution. This volume analyzes both historical and contemporary forms of land ownership in Poland, Romania, and Yugoslavia in a multidisciplinary framework including economic history, legal and political studies, and social anthropology.

Table of Contents:

ARTICLE: Thomas J. McSweeney's "The King's Courts and the King's Soul: Pardoning as Almsgiving in Medieval England" (2014)

Thomas J. McSweeney, William & Mary Law School, has posted The King's Courts and the King's Soul: Pardoning as Almsgiving in Medieval England, which will appear in "Law's Dominion: Medieval Studies for Paul Hyams," a special issue of Reading Medieval Studies 40 (2014): 159.  

Full text here


This paper examines the workings of the English royal courts in the thirteenth century through one of their practices — pardoning — and argues that the king and his officials could see courts not just as venues for justice, but also as institutions through which the king could see to the health of his own soul. The royal courts and royal administration of the thirteenth century used the power to pardon to relieve people of many legal penalties, from amercements (what we would today call fines) to the death penalty in felony cases. Scholars who have studied these pardons have tended to use the medieval sources to try to find the rules of pardoning. They have assumed that pardoning followed some kind of legal logic, and that pardons were given to the worthy. Amercement pardons were given to those who could not afford to pay and felony pardons were given to those who were not culpable. This paper looks at pardons that cannot be explained according to this legal logic. It looks at the many pardons explicitly made “for the sake of the king’s soul,” many of which have nothing to do with the killer’s culpability or the amerced party’s ability to pay, and argues that they operated according to a different logic: the logic of alms. Pardons were granted or denied based on their ability to salve the king’s soul, leading to results that appear to be anomalous to us today — such as a blanket pardon for most felons that excluded Jews — but which would have appeared to be logical to people who were accustomed to view the courts not solely as agents of justice, but as extensions of the king’s person.

ARTICLE: Simon Stern's "Towards a Pre-History of the Public Domain: Copyright Law and its Limits in Eighteenth-Century England" (2014)

Simon Stern, University of Toronto Faculty of Law, on Towards a Pre-History of the Public Domain: Copyright Law and its Limits in Eighteenth-Century England, forthcoming in the Oxford Literature Handbooks series.  

Full text here


The advent of statutory copyright in eighteenth-century England raised questions about ensuring access to the materials that writers need to produce new books. The public domain did not spring into being as the obverse of the rights afforded by the Act of Anne (1710), nor was it created by nineteenth-century doctrines such as fair use; rather, it developed out of practices and assumptions predating the Act of Anne, and others that emerged in the statute’s wake. To explore these ideas, the essay considers booksellers’ and authors’ conceptions of copyright as property, the metaphors proposed by advocates of anti-piracy measures, arguments about copyright’s duration and its basis in the common law, and analogies between copyright and patent law during this period. Finally, the essay discusses the booksellers’ strategic litigation in the equity courts, where pleading could rely on imaginative premises that, in some respects, rival those of contemporaneous novelists.

CFP: Law and Legal Cultures at GSA (Washington, DC, October 1-4, 2015)

WHAT: the German Studies Association's Thirty-Ninth Annual Conference

WHERE:  Washington, DC

WHEN: October 1-4, 2015

All information here


Professor Sace Elder, Department of History, Eastern Illinois University (seelder(at)
Professor Todd Herzog, Department of German Studies, University of Cincinnati (Todd.Herzog(at)

The Law and Legal Cultures Network of the German Studies Association seeks to foster an extended interdisciplinary conversation on the law. We construe law and legal cultures broadly to mean the creation, administration, or use of law of any type (commercial, property, family, criminal, etc.); the ways in which laws function within society; the failure of law to fulfill its basic social purposes (for example, under the National Socialist regime); the use of law to either sustain or overcome any type of social inequality or injustice; and cultural studies of law and justice.

All periods of German and Central European history are welcome, as are papers in English or German. We encourage submission of individual papers as well as entire panels. While the GSA prefers complete panels, we hope to combine papers sent to us into complete panels and send them along to the GSA organizers.

Please submit a 250 word abstract and a brief CV by January 20, 2015 to the network’s email address: Interested presenters are encouraged to contact the organizers with any questions.

Note:  One must be a member of the GSA by February 16, 2015 to submit a proposal for the annual conference. All applicants to the Network series will be notified in advance of this deadline of the status of their proposals to the Network.

BOOK: "Sovereignty, Property and Empire, 1500–2000", by Andrew Fitzmaurice

Andrew Fitzmaurice, Sovereignty, Property and Empire, 1500–2000

This book analyses the laws that shaped modern European empires from medieval times to the twentieth century. Its geographical scope is global, including the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and the Poles. Andrew Fitzmaurice focuses upon the use of the law of occupation to justify and critique the appropriation of territory. He examines both discussions of occupation by theologians, philosophers and jurists, as well as its application by colonial publicists and settlers themselves. Beginning with the medieval revival of Roman law, this study reveals the evolution of arguments concerning the right to occupy through the School of Salamanca, the foundation of American colonies, seventeenth-century natural law theories, Enlightenment philosophers, eighteenth-century American colonies and the new American republic, writings of nineteenth-century jurists, debates over the carve up of Africa, twentieth-century discussions of the status of Polar territories, and the period of decolonisation.

1. Introduction
2. Occupation from Roman law to Salamanca
3. The Salamanca School in England
4. Occupation and convention
5. Theories of occupation in the eighteenth century
6. The Seven Years' War, land speculation and the American Revolution
7. Occupation in the nineteenth century
8. Res nullius and sovereignty
9. Territorium nullius and Africa
10. Terra nullius and the Polar regions
11. Conclusion

SEMINAR: Washington History Seminar (January-May 2015)

WHAT: Washington History Seminar

WHERE: Woodrow Wilson Center, 6th Floor Moynihan Board Room, Ronald Reagan Building, Federal Triangle Metro Stop

WHEN: January-May 2015, Mondays at 4:00 pm

The Washington History Seminar has quite a lineup for spring 2015. “The seminar is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center.”  It meets Mondays at 4:00 p.m. in the Woodrow Wilson Center, 6th Floor Moynihan Board Room, Ronald Reagan Building, Federal Triangle Metro Stop.  The “schedule, speakers, topics, and dates as well as webcasts and podcasts” are here. “The seminar thanks the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations for its support.”

January 12: Robyn Muncy (University of Maryland), on Relentless Reformer: Josephine Roche and the Persistence of Progressivism in Twentieth-Century America

January 19: No seminar (Martin Luther King Day)

January 26: Kathy Peiss (University of Pennsylvania), on Bookmen at War: Libraries, Intelligence, and Cultural Policy in World War II

February 2: Pawel Machcewicz (Museum of the Second World War, Gdansk) on Poland's War on Radio Free Europe

February 9: Charles Neu (Brown University) on Colonel House: A Biography of Woodrow Wilson's Silent Partner

February 16: No seminar (President's Day)

February 23: Bat Sparrow (University of Texas) on The Strategist: Brent Scowcroft and the Call of National Security

March 2:  Heather Cox Richardson (Boston College) on To Make Men Free: A History of the Republican Party

March 9: Carol Anderson (Emory University) on Bourgeois Radicals: The NAACP and the Struggle for Colonial Liberation

March 16: William LeoGrande (American University) and Peter Kornbluh (National 
Security Archive) on Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana

March 23: Martha Hodes (NYU) on Mourning Lincoln
Report from the Field: Sharita Thompson on the Hill's Center Emancipation Day program

March 30: Bruce Kuklick (University of Pennsylvania) on Death in the Congo: Murdering Patrice Lumumba 

April 6: No seminar (Passover)

April 13: Christopher Darnton (Catholic University) on Rivalry and Alliance Politics in Cold War Latin America

April 20: David Armitage (Harvard University) and Jo Guldi (Brown University), panel discussion ofThe History Manifesto, with John McNeill (Georgetown University) and Rosemarie Zagarri (George Mason University) 

April 27: Sulmaan Khan (Tufts University) on Muslim, Trader, Nomad, Spy: China's Cold War and the People of the Tibetan Borderlands

May 4:  Doug Rossinow (Metropolitan State University) on The Reagan Era: A History of the 1980s  
May 11: James Loeffler (University of Virginia) on The Sovereignty of a Higher Law?: Global Antisemitism and Jewish Politics in the 1960s

May 18: Kate Brown (University of Maryland Baltimore County) on Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters