31 August 2018

BOOK: Richard Jeffrey ROSS and Brian Philip OWENSBY (eds.), Justice in a New World : Negotiating Legal Intelligibility in British, Iberian, and Indigenous America (New York: NYU Press, 2018). ISBN 9781479807246, $30

(Source: NYU Press)

NYU Press has just published a new book on the interaction between settler and indigenous laws in the New World.


A historical and legal examination of the conflict and interplay between settler and indigenous laws in the New World

As British and Iberian empires expanded across the New World, differing notions of justice and legality played out against one another as settlers and indigenous people sought to negotiate their relationship. In order for settlers and natives to learn from, maneuver, resist, or accommodate each other, they had to grasp something of each other's legal ideas and conceptions of justice.

This ambitious volume advances our understanding of how natives and settlers in both the British and Iberian New World empires struggled to use the other’s ideas of law and justice as a political, strategic, and moral resource.  In so doing, indigenous people and settlers alike changed their own practices of law and dialogue about justice.  Europeans and natives appealed to imperfect understandings of their interlocutors’ notions of justice and advanced their own conceptions during workaday negotiations, disputes, and assertions of right.  Settlers’ and indigenous peoples’ legal presuppositions shaped and sometimes misdirected their attempts to employ each other’s law.  

Natives and settlers construed and misconstrued each other's legal commitments while learning about them, never quite sure whether they were on solid ground.  Chapters explore the problem of “legal intelligibility”: How and to what extent did settler law and its associated notions of justice became intelligible—tactically, technically and morally—to natives, and vice versa?  To address this question, the volume offers a critical comparison between English and Iberian New World empires.  Chapters probe such topics as treaty negotiations, land sales, and the corporate privileges of indigenous peoples.  Ultimately, Justice in a New World offers both a deeper understanding of the transformation of notions of justice and law among settlers and indigenous people, and a dual comparative study of what it means for laws and moral codes to be legally intelligible.


Brian P. Owensby is Professor in the Department of History at the University of Virginia. He is the author of Intimate Ironies: Making Middle-Class Lives in Modern Brazil (1999) and Empire of Law and Indian Justice in Colonial Mexico (2008).

Richard J. Ross is Professor of Law and History at the University of Illinois (Urbana/Champaign) and Director of the Symposium on Comparative Early Modern Legal History. He is the editor, with Lauren Benton, of Legal Pluralism and Empires, 1500-1850 (2013).

The table of contents can be found here

More information here  

JOURNAL: Journal of the History of International Law/Revue d'histoire du droit international XX (2018), Nr. 2

(image source: Brill)


  • "A ‘Civilizing Task’: The International Labour Organization, Social Reform, and the Genealogy of Development" (Guy Fiti Sinclair)
  • "A Critical Legal Approach to the South China Sea Territorial Dispute" (Melissa H. Loja)
  • "Protection of Private Property in the Early Law of Nations" (Ivar Alvik)
Book reviews:
  • "The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire , written by Susan Pedersen" (Victor Kattan)
  • "Naulila 1914. World War I in Angola and International Law. A Study in (Post-)Colonial Border Regimes and Interstate Arbitration , written by Jakob Zollmann" (Raphael Schäfer)
More information here.

(source: ESILHIL Blog)

ROUNDTABLE: Boston College Legal History Roundtable Fall 2018

Via Legal History Blog, we learned of the coming start of the 17th year of the Boston College Legal History Roundtable.

In the fall of 2018, the Boston College Law School Legal History Roundtable started its 17th successful year. The Roundtable draws on Boston College Law School’s and Boston College’s strength and interest in legal history. It offers an opportunity for Boston College faculty and faculty from other area institutions, students, and members of the Boston College community to meet and discuss a pre-circulated paper in legal history. Meeting several times each semester, the Roundtable seeks to promote an informal, collegial atmosphere of informed discussion.

For the 2018-2019 academic year, Professor Mary Sarah Bilder, Professor Daniel R. Coquillette, Professor Frank Herrmann and Professor Daniel Farbman are conveners.

The Roundtable usually meets several times during the semester in the afternoon at 4:30 pm in the Library Conference Room of the Boston College Law School Library. Refreshments are available beginning at 4:15 pm.*

In 2018-2019, our first Roundtable will be jointly sponsored with the BC Law School Tax Policy Workshop and therefore meet at noon. 

Papers will be available when appropriate before each presentation.

For more information, please contact: 
Joan Manna (617) 552-4344
For assistance with parking passes for non-BC faculty, please also contact Joan.
Fall 2018

Thursday, September 13 (12:15 pm)
Ajay K. Mehrota, Professor of Law and Executive Director, American Bar Foundation and Northwestern University Law School

Ajay K. Mehrotra is the Executive Director and a Research Professor at the American Bar Foundation (ABF) and Professor of Law at the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, and an Affiliated Professor of History at Northwestern University. He is the author of Making the Modern American Fiscal State: Law, Politics and the Rise of Progressive Taxation, 1877-1929(New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013), which received the 2014 best book award from the U.S. Society for Intellectual History.  He is the co-editor (with Isaac William Martin and Monica Prasad) of The New Fiscal Sociology: Taxation in Comparative and Historical Perspective (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009).  His writings have also appeared in student-edited law reviews and interdisciplinary journals including Law & Social Inquiry, Law & History Review, and Law & Society Review.  Mehrotra received his B.A. in Economics from the University of Michigan, his J.D. from Georgetown, and his Ph.D. in American History from the University of Chicago.

 "The VAT Laggard: A Comparative History of U.S. Resistance to the Value-added Tax"

When one examines how modern nation-states generate public revenue, the United States quickly emerges as a striking outlier compared to other advanced industrialized countries.  Even a cursory review of statistics from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) shows that the United States is out of step with the rest of the developed world in the amount, and the way, it raises tax revenue.  One reason for this apparent American tax exceptionalism is the absence of a U.S. national consumption tax.  Whereas nearly all other OECD countries have a national consumption tax, frequently in the form of a value-added tax (VAT), the United States remains one of the few countries without a consumption tax at the federal level.

This project explores how and why the United States has historically rejected national consumption taxes.  Nearly all developed countries, and many in the developing world, have some type of a national consumption tax, frequently in the form of a value-added tax (VAT).  The United States is an exception.  This project focuses on the fundamental question: why no VAT in the United States?  To address this overall research question, this project explores three key historical periods. The first is the 1920s, when tax theorists in the United States and Germany first began to formulate and propose crude forms of value-added taxes. The second critical period is the decades of the mid-twentieth century. During the 1940s, the United States once again seriously considered but rejected national consumption taxes aimed at raising revenue for World War II. Similarly, after the war, during the U.S. occupation of Japan, American economic experts designed and implemented a proto-VAT for Japan. The third crucial period is the 1970s and ‘80s. During these decades, American lawmakers considered and even supported a U.S. VAT, but eventually withdrew their support or were ousted from political office. At the same time, other developed countries, such as Japan, Australia, and Canada, began to move towards a national VAT. By focusing on these three key historical periods from a comparative perspective, this project seeks to study how and why the U.S. has failed to adopt national consumption taxes, such as the VAT.

Tuesday, October 2 (4:30 pm)

Mitra Sharafi, Professor of Law, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Mitra Sharafi is Professor of Law and Legal Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, with History affiliation. She is the author of Law and Identity in Colonial South Asia: Parsi Legal Culture, 1772-1947 (Cambridge University Press), which won the Law and Society Association’s Hurst Prize in 2015. She is currently working on her second book project, “Fear of the False: Forensic Science in Colonial India” as a Davis Center fellow at Princeton’s History department (fall 2018) and an ACLS Burkhardt fellow ’18 (National Humanities Center, 2020-1).

"South Asians at the Inns of Court: Empire and Expulsion circa 1900"

This paper explores the disbarment proceedings of South Asian members of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, one of the four Inns of Court for barristers in London, circa 1900. Law students from across the British Empire attended the Inns by the late nineteenth century, and the two disciplinary cases of A.K. Ghose and S. Krishnavarma shed light on the imperial legal profession’s views of racial and cultural difference; deception, education, and “good character”; and loyalty to British rule.

LECTURE: Professor Christian Tams on ‘The Centenary of a « Great Experiment » : The League of Nations and its Legacy’ (University of Geneva)

(Source: Wikipedia)

We learned that Professor Christian Tams (University of Glasgow) will hold a lecture on the League of Nations as part of the ESIL Lecture Series.

The ESIL Lecture Series hosts broadcasts of presentations on international law topics held at partner institutions, enabling the presentation to reach a wider audience of ESIL members and non-members alike.

Christian J. Tams (Professor Chair of International Law School of Law, University of Glasgow) will give a lecture on The Centenary of a « Great Experiment » : The League of Nations and its Legacy, on Tuesday 23 October 2018 at 18.15 at the University of Geneva

To propose an ESIL Lecture, please read the Guidelines for the ESIL Lecture Series.

More information here

30 August 2018

CALL FOR PAPERS: Edited book (Palgrave Macmillan): Governing the Colonial State: the Belgian rule in Africa (1884-1962) (eds. Aurore FRANCOIS (UCLouvain), Françoise MULLER (UCLouvain), Xavier ROUSSEAUX (UCLouvain) and Nathalie TOUSIGNANT (USL-B)

(image source: Wikimedia Commons)

The main purpose of the book is provide for an anglophone audience, recent research done on Belgian colonial history (Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, Ruanda-Urundi), with a focus on the colonial governance.

The proposed texts could address a specific topic or be a synthesis of a more general research (Ph.D.) and written in English, or in French.

If you are interested in contributing to the book, please send for the 3
September 2018, a CV, a title and 500-word abstract to  and

Full texts due : 15 December 2018.
Revised (translated) versions : July 2019.
Publication : Summer 2020.
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (first contacts at ESSHC (European Social Science History Conference) in Belfast, April 2018 (X. Rousseaux)).
Editors, in alphabetical order: Aurore François (Université Catholique de Louvain), Françoise Muller (Université Catholique de Louvain), Xavier Rousseaux Université Catholique de Louvain) and Nathalie Tousignant (Université Saint-Louis – Bruxelles).

This project aims at providing to English-reading audience an access to the most recent and prolific research on Belgian colonial history, including Congo Free State era, Belgian Congo and mandates on Rwanda and Burundi, between 1885-1962. It focuses on the history of colonial governance, as the history of law and justice in these regions has developed, in the footpath of an abundant literature on the history of Belgian experience of law and justice during the 19th and 20th centuries and of vanguard research on British and French imperial territories.
After a decade of collective research, the four editors would bring together contributions on Belgafrican Magistrates Social Networks, with a focus on the actors of governance, their training, their social belongings and intellectual production, their professional curricula. Favouring an approach based on prosopography, a specific application has been developed to collect in a single database all information available in printed official literature and in archives. At the same time, legal colonial periodicals have been digitized to facilitate the access and to allow data mining in thousands of pages written by magistrates and territorial administrators. Therefore, these people represent only a part of the complex Belgian colonial society, either in Central Africa or in Europe. At this stage, the aim relies in the necessity to contextualize broadly these results in the materiality of colonial experience, limited to the Belgian point of view, as the sources are mainly produced by European authorities and are exclusively written.
The opportunity to cross-examine contemporary situations, e.g. inter-wars, might help to provincialize the metropolitan droit de regard: a recurring claim made by the actors formulates the lack of resources, both human and financial, to properly conduct the tasks they were devoted to in the broader “civilizing mission” in a “model colony”. These assertions need to be challenged. On the same token, field legal practitioners proudly recollect these days as a personal adventure, in which their achievements rely on débrouillardise and bricolage. The “golden age”, either the inter-wars or the post-1945 period, nourishes nostalgia in many communities. Could it be casted, reframed in a broader perspective, especially once the colonial professional moment is closed and that professional re-insertion in metropolis proved to be more complicated, even before 19601962?
Finally, the place of violence in colonial governance represents a significant imperial set of debris. The multifaceted violence translates anxieties in a very codified and stratified colonial situation. Legal provisions are unequivocal. Visual material, oral traditions and popular art contrast and providing another understanding of imperial experience.

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: Hurst Summer Institute in Legal History (9-22 JUN 2019); DEADLINE 3 DEC 2018


The American Society for Legal History and the Institute for Legal Studies at the University of Wisconsin Law School are pleased to invite applications for the tenth biennial Hurst Summer Institute in Legal History. The purpose of the Hurst Institute is to advance the approach to legal scholarship fostered by J. Willard Hurst in his teaching, mentoring, and scholarship. The Hurst Institute assists scholars from law, history, and other disciplines in pursuing research on the legal history of any part of the world.

The 2019 Hurst Institute will be led by Mitra Sharafi, Professor of Law and Legal Studies (with History affiliation) at University of Wisconsin–Madison. The two‑week program features presentations by guest scholars, discussions of core readings in legal history, and analysis of the work of the participants in the Institute. The ASLH Hurst Selection Committee will select twelve Fellows to participate in this event.

Applicant Qualifications

Scholars in law, history and other disciplines pursuing research on legal history of any part of the world are eligible to apply. Preference will be given to 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 with appropriate backgrounds).

Fellowship Requirements

Fellows are expected to be in residence for the entire two‑week term of the Institute, to participate in all program activities of the Institute, and to give an informal works‑in‑progress presentation in the second week of the Institute. Fellows are expected to engage with scholars from other fields and to foster an atmosphere of collegiality.

Application Process

(1) Submit the following materials in a single pdf file starting with your last name to Multiple attachments will not be accepted.
·       Curriculum Vitae with your complete contact information.
·       Statement of Purpose (maximum 500 words) describing your current work, specific research interests, and the broader perspectives on legal history that inform your work.
(2) Arrange to have two letters of recommendation sent electronically as a pdf files (these must be on institutional letterhead and signed) to by the deadline.

Please note that late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.

Questions: Contact

Institute for Legal Studies
University of Wisconsin Law School
975 Bascom Mall, Madison, WI 53706
(608) 265-2804 |

(source: H-Law)

29 August 2018

ESCLH Van Caenegem Prize and Springer Poster Prize

dr. Shavana Musa (Manchester): Winner of the Van Caenegem Prize 2018
Murat Burak Aydin (MPI Frankfurt): Winner of the Second ESCLH Poster Competition funded by Springer

The Van Caenegem Prize is awarded every second year to the young legal historian who is deemed to have written the best article published in the society's journal "Comparative Legal History". The winner is determined by a committee. For the Van Caenegem Prize 2018, the committee has selected dr. Shavana Musa (University of Manchester), for her article "Victims of maritime conflict, compensation claims and the role of the admiralty court in the early modern period", (2017) 5 Comparative Legal History 125-141, as the winner.

The abstract of dr. Musa's article:
Victims of war have existed since time immemorial and, in the same vein, so have certain mechanisms for the redress of their injuries. Admiralty courts in early modern Europe are historical platforms in which certain groups of victims of maritime conflict could seek compensation under an international prize jurisdiction, as per the law of nations. This article will briefly introduce the reader to the way in which European countries applied their prize jurisdiction. It will then focus on compensation cases during the Anglo-Dutch Wars of the seventeenth century to show how admiralties implemented the right to compensation during these conflicts.
The fulltext is available here.

At the 2018 ESCLH conference in Paris the society was able to award the Second ESCLH Poster Prize funded by Springer. The poster competition allows PhD-students to present their research in the field of comparative legal history in form of a poster. The competition was won by Murat Burak Aydin, MaxPlanck Institute for European Legal History, Frankfurt." Burak Aydin's poster can be found below (click to enlarge).

BOOK FOR PRE-ORDER: Joshua C. TATE, José REINALDO DE LIMA LOPES & Andrés BOTERO BERNAL (eds.), Global Legal History A Comparative Law Perspective (London: Routledge, 2018), ISBN 9781138478497, 115 GBP

(image source: Routledge)

Book abstract:
This collection brings together a group of international legal historians to further scholarship in different areas of comparative and regional legal history. Authors are drawn from Europe, Asia, and the Americas to produce new insights into the relationship between law and society across time and space. The book is divided into three parts: legal history and legal culture across borders; constitutional experiences in global perspective; and the history of judicial experiences. The three themes, and the chapters corresponding to each, provide a balance between public law and private law topics, and reflect a variety of methodologies, both empirical and theoretical. The volume highlights the gains that may be made by comparing the development of law in different countries and different time periods.

Table of contents:
Part I: Legal History and Legal Culture Across Borders; 1. Sincerity-Based Proper Relationship: Socrates and Confucius (Chi-Shing Chen);
2. Legal Development from a Comparative Perspective: English contract law in the nineteenth century (Catharine Macmillan)
3. Legal History and Comparative Perspective: Analysis from the Cuban Experience (Fabricio Mulet Martínez);
4. Bar Associations and the Circulation of Legal Knowledge: Argentina and Brazil, First Half of the Twentieth Century (Mariana de Moraes Silveira);
Part II: Constitutional Experiences in Global Perspective;
5. Lessons from the History of Judicial Review of Constitutional Amendments in Colombia, 1955-2016 (Mario Alberto Cajas-Sarria);
6. The Mexican Constitution of 1917, From Individual Rights to Social Warranties: The Supreme Court and Its Jurisprudence, 1917-1928 (Humberto Morales Moreno);
7. Presidential Impeachment in Brazil: Importation and Adaptations from the U.S. Impeachment Process (Rafael Mafei Rabelo Queiroz);
Part III: History of Judicial Experiences;
8. Exclusion and Inclusion of the French Law on Neighboring Plots of Land in the Civil Codes of Quebec, Louisiana and Francophone Switzerland: Some Reflections on the Relation between Law and Society (Asya Ostroukh);
9. A Legal-Historical Chronicle of Rule-of-Law Narratives in Hong Kong (Andra Le Roux-Kemp);
10. Justice in the Ibero-American World in the Enlightenment Era (Andréa Slemian);
11. Family Courts and Violence against Women in Guatemala, 1964-1996 (John W. Wertheimer);
12. Conclusion
More information on the publisher's website and on Joshua C. Tate's twitter.

28 August 2018

BOOK: Roldán Jimeno ARANGUREN, Amnesties, Pardons and Transitional Justice : Spain’s Pact of Forgetting (London: Routledge, 2017). ISBN 9781138091603, £115.00

(Source: Routledge)

Last year, Routledge published a book on amnesty and pardons in the wake of Francoist Spain


In a consolidated democracy, amnesties and pardons do not sit well with equality and a separation of powers; however, these measures have proved useful in extreme circumstances, such as transitions from dictatorships to democracies, as has occurred in Greece, Portugal and Spain. Focusing on Spain, this book analyses the country's transition, from the antecedents from 1936 up to the present, within a comparative European context. The amnesties granted in Greece, Portugal and Spain saw the release of political prisoners, but in Spain amnesty was also granted to those responsible for the grave violations of human rights which had been committed for 40 years. The first two decades of the democracy saw copious normative measures that sought to equate the rights of all those who had benefitted from the amnesty and who had suffered or had been damaged by the civil war. But, beyond the material benefits that accompanied it, this amnesty led to a sort of wilful amnesia which forbade questioning the legacy of Francoism. In this respect, Spain offers a useful lesson insofar as support for a blanket amnesty – rather than the use of other solutions within a transitional justice framework, such as purges, mechanisms to bring the dictatorship to trial for crimes against humanity, or truth commissions – can be traced to a relative weakness of democracy, and a society characterised by the fear of a return to political violence. This lesson, moreover, is framed here against the background of the evolution of amnesties throughout the twentieth century, and in the context of international law. Crucially, then, this analysis of what is now a global reference point for comparative studies of amnesties, provides new insights into the complex relationship between democracy and the varying mechanisms of transitional justice.


Roldán Jimeno is a Senior Lecturer in Legal History at the Public University of Navarre, Spain.


1 Background to Francoist Spain: Granting pardons to the defeated in the war and enemies of the regime
2 The beginnings of the transition
3 The 1977 Amnesty Law and subsequent clemency measures
4 Amnesty during the post-transition years (1982–2007)
5 Amnesty after the Historical Memory Law (2007–2016)

More information here

BOOK: Nobuaki Kondo, Islamic Law and Society in Iran: A Social History of Qajar Tehran (London: Routledge, 2018). ISBN 9781138348189, £36.99

(Source: Routledge)

Last year, Routledge published a book on the relationship between Islamic Law and the Iranian society during the 19th century. The paperback was recently published. 


The relationship between Islamic law and society is an important issue in Iran under the Islamic Republic. Although Islamic law was a pivotal element in the traditional Iranian society, no comprehensive research has been made until today. This is because modern reformers emphasized the lack of rule of law in nineteenth-century Iran. However, a legal system did exist, and Islamic law was a substantial part of it.

This is the first book on the relationship between Islamic law and the Iranian society during the nineteenth century. The author explores the legal aspects of urban society in Iran and provides the social context in which political process occurred and examines how authorities applied law in society, how people utilized the law, and how the law regulated society. Based on rich archival sources including court records and private deeds from Qajar Tehran, this book explores how Islamic law functioned in Iranian society. The judicial system, sharia court, and religious endowments (vaqf) are fully discussed, and the role of ‘ulama as legal experts is highlighted throughout the book. It challenges nationalist and modernist views on nineteenth-century Iran and provides a unique model in terms of the relationship between Islamic law and society, which is rather different from the Ottoman case.

Providing an understanding of this legal system in Iran and its role in society, this book offers a basis for assessing the motives and results of modern reforms as well as the modernist discourse. This book will be of interest to students of Middle Eastern and Iranian Studies.


Nobuaki Kondo is a Professor at Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. His research interests cover early modern history of Iran and the Persianate societies. His most important publication is Persian Documents (Routledge, 2003).


1. Historical Development of Tehran 
2. Judicial System
3.Shari‘a Court 
4. Actual Dispute: Case of Double Vaqf
5. Attestations and Transactions in Shari‘a Courts
6. Vaqfs in Tehran
7. Vaqf and Private Property
8. Transformation of Vaqfs

More information here

27 August 2018


Le Centre d’histoire du droit et d’anthropologie juridique (CHDAJ)  accueillera pour une durée d’une année, à partir du 1er octobre 2018, un chercheur boursier en histoire du droit.

Cette bourse s’adresse à des étudiants récemment diplômés qui souhaitent commencer une thèse de doctorat en histoire du droit.

La durée de la bourse, octroyée par l’Université libre de Bruxelles, sera mise à profit pour élaborer un projet de thèse de doctorat en vue d’obtenir un financement complémentaire de trois ou quatre ans.

Le projet de thèse portera sur l’histoire du droit et de la justice dans l’espace belge. Seront privilégiés, les projets portant sur l’histoire de la profession d’avocat.

Les candidats seront titulaires d’une maîtrise en droit, d’une maîtrise en histoire ou d’une maîtrise en sociologie.

Date limite d’envoi des candidatures : 15 septembre 2018
Contact : Prof. J. de Brouwer (

(source: Standen en Landen/Anciens Pays et Assemblées d'États)

BOOK: Alison CARROL, The Return of Alsace to France, 1918-1939 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018). ISBN 9780198803911, $79.95

(Source: OUP)

Oxford University Press has published a new book which deals i.a. with the process of Alsace’s legal and institutional re-integration in France during the Interbellum.


In 1918, the end of the First World War triggered the return of Alsace and Lorraine to France after almost fifty years of annexation into the German Empire. Enthusiastic crowds in Paris and Alsace celebrated the return of the 'lost provinces,' but return proved far more difficult than expected. Over the following two decades, politicians, administrators, industrialists, cultural elites, and others grappled with the question of how to make the region French again. Differences of opinion emerged, and reintegration rapidly descended into a multi-faceted struggle as voices at the Parisian centre, the Alsatian periphery, and outside France's borders offered their views on how to introduce French institutions and systems into its lost borderland. Throughout these discussions, the border itself shaped the process of reintegration, by generating contact and tensions between populations on the two sides of the boundary line, and by shaping expectations of what it meant to be French and Alsatian.

Borderland is the first comprehensive account of the return of Alsace to France which treats the border as a driver of change. It draws upon national, regional, and local archives to follow the difficult process of Alsace's reintegration into French society, culture, political and economic systems, and legislative and administrative institutions. It connects the microhistory of the region with the "macro" levels of national policy, international relations, and transnational networks, and with the cross-border flows of ideas, goods, people, and cultural products that shaped daily life in Alsace as its population grappled with the meaning of return to France. In revealing the multiple voices who contributed to the region's reintegration, it underlines the ways in which regional populations and cross-border interactions have forged modern nations.


Alison Carrol is Senior Lecturer in European History at Brunel University, London. She has published on questions of borders and integration in modern French history, and in 2010 she was awarded the Etienne Baluze prize in European local history. This is her first book.


1. A Bridge Across the Rhine
2. Remaking French Alsace: Citizenship, Administration, and Laws
3. Borderland Politics
4. Economic Reintegration
5. Reimagining Alsatian Culture
6. The Border Landscape
More information here

BOOK: John Idriss LAHAI, Human Rights in Sierra Leone, 1787-2016 : The Long Struggle from the Transatlantic Slave Trade to the Present (London: Routledge, 2018). ISBN 9781138604766, £115.00

(Source: Routledge)

Next month, Routledge will publish a book on the history of human rights in Sierra Leone between 1787 and 2016


This book offers an up-to-date, comprehensive interdisciplinary analyses of the multifaceted and evolving experiences of human rights in Sierra Leone between the years 1787 and 2016. It provides a balanced coverage of the local and international conditions that frame the socio-cultural, political and economic context of human rights: its rise and fall, and concerns for the broader engendered issues of the transatlantic slave trade, colonialism, women’s struggle for recognition, constitutional development, political independence, war and transitional justice (as well as 'contributive justice,' which the author introduces to explain the consequences of the problems of the temporal nature of transitional justice, and the crisis of donor fatigue towards peacebuilding activities), local government, democracy and constitutional reforms within Sierra Leone. While acknowledging the profound challenges associated with the promotion of human rights in an environment of uncertainty, political fragility, lawlessness, and deprivation, John Idriss Lahai sheds light on the often-constructive engagement of the people of Sierra Leone with a variety of societal conditions, adverse or otherwise, to influence constitutional change, the emergent postcoflict discourse on 'contributive justice,' and acceptable human rights practice.


John Idriss Lahai is a Research Fellow at the University of New England, Australia.


Preface; Introduction; 1. The Transatlantic Slave Trade and the Illusions of ‘Freedom’ in The Province of Freedom, 1787 - 1790; 2. The Restitutive Justice Policy of the Sierra Leone Company, 1791-1808; 3. No Taxation without Representation, 1820-1920; 4. Citizens and Protected Persons, 1920-1951; 5. Racism and the Rise of Party Politics, 1950-1960; 6. Class Conflict: Chiefs, Politicians, and Peasants and the Revolts of 1955 and 1956; 7. Women in the Colonial Spaces: From the Founding of the Colony to 1960; 8. Political Independence and the Africanization Project, 1960 - 1967; 9. The Narratives on Human Rights in a Neopatrimonial State, 1967 - 1984; 10. Ethnopolitics, Tribal-Nationalism and the Youth Empowerment Crisis, 1985-1991; 11. (Wo)Men’s Rights in the Neopatrimonial/Ethnopolitical Spaces, 1967-1991; 12. The Idea of Liberation in the War Communities, 1991-2002: Representation, Adaptation, and Outcomes; 13. Contested Truth: The Truth Commission and Restorative Justice, 2002 – 2004; 14. The War Victims’ Fund and the Emergence of Contributive Justice after 2004; 15. The Quest for Another Province of Freedom: The Human Rights Commission and The Constitutional Review Committee, 1994-2016; 16. Conclusion

More information here

25 August 2018

BLOG: The Bibliothèque nationale de France's Gallica and Retronews on criminal legal history and customary law

The very active digital pillar of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Gallica, has recently acquired the company of Retronews, a website dedicated to millions of pages of news.

The scientific staff attached to both databases brings the richness of these stocks to the audience through blogs.

Two posts have been added, one on customary law (Gallica), and one on punishments before the French Revolution (Retronews).

BOOK: Claude GAUVARD, Condamner à mort au Moyen Âge (Paris: PUF, 2018), 368 p. ISBN 9782130540380, € 24

Book abstract:

« Digne de mourir, comme inutile au monde » : c’est en ces termes que les archives ont conservé la trace de la condam­nation à mort d’un valet déclaré coupable de vol, à Paris, en 1391. Cette sentence glacée conforte-t-elle la vision d’un Moyen Âge sanguinaire où la peine capitale aurait été fréquente ? Révèle-t-elle la puissance d’un roi qui affirme ainsi sa domination sur ses sujets, ou la dérive de l’Église qui ne considère plus que, selon l’enseignement de saint Augustin, le criminel peut être racheté ? Condamner à mort au Moyen Âge n’est pas un acte plus anodin qu’aujourd’hui, et si, en ces siècles de construction de la justice, la condamnation est un outil d’affirmation du pouvoir royal, ce n’est pas par sa nature coercitive ou arbitraire, mais par l’encadrement des juges et la pratique de la grâce. C’est là l’autre pan d’un Moyen Âge rénové que Claude Gauvard révèle depuis plusieurs décennies, avec cette volonté d’approcher au plus près, par un examen minutieux et clairvoyant de sources inédites, la cohérence d’une société médiévale qui nous apparaît à la fois étrangère et fondatrice.
On the author:
Professeur émérite d’histoire du Moyen Âge à l’université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, membre senior honoraire de l’Institut universitaire de France, Claude Gauvard est spécialiste de l’histoire de la justice et de la criminalité, et plus généralement d’histoire politique et sociale des XIIIe-XVe siècle. Aux Puf, elle est notamment l’auteure de La France au Moyen Âge, du Ve au XVe siècle, a dirigé le recueil Une histoire de France, et codirige la Revue historique ainsi que la collection « Le Noeud gordien ».

More information with the publisher.

23 August 2018

CONFERENCE: Law & Order. The role of the institutions in creating the legislation in the Low Countries (1500-1700s) (Brussels: Université St Louis, 18 OCT 2018)

The history of legislation should not be limited to the study of legislative acts’ content. Legislation can clearly be seen as an instrument of early modern governments, but it must also be considered as a tool of communication between those that rule and their subjects. Understood as a communication process, the study of the early modern legislation decisively opens up a new angle in this field of research. Therefore, it must be realized that the history of legislation should be considered through a plural and multifactorial approach. 

Amongst the possible angles, we have chosen:

The decision-making process should certainly receive attention. The study of the early modern legislation must necessarily echo the decision-making process by which a simple act’s draft becomes an edict ready to be proclaimed and/or printed. Considering the study of the decision-making process implies to question the value of advices and deliberations taking place before the edict’s promulgation. To what extent did the legislator rely on advice issued by provincial or local authorities? How was managed the flow of communication between different institutions or between different jurisdictions? This means mapping this communication, not just on a central level, but also provincially and locally. Another element, complementary to the first, is the publication of legislation. It has always been essential to ensure a good dissemination and good publicity when promulgating legislation. The authority of the government was at stake.

If the oral dissemination of the law during the Middle Ages is a well-studied topic, we cannot say the same regarding the impact of print on oral practices linked to the law’s publication. For instance, to what extent have the rulers pushed to use the printed version of an edict to complement an oral announcement?? Furthermore, the question of the (in)effectiveness of legislation should also be asked. By considering ex-post-analysis methods we can judge the (non-)applicability of legislation, arguments of subjects regarding disobedience or mobilisation of legislation in court. Legislation should thus be placed in a social context, as social phenomena can be enforced. It is therefore also fruitful to question the interconnectedness and reciprocal influence of legal sources. One might think about the customary law incorporated in legislative acts or foreign influences.

With this workshop, our aim is to draw attention to specific territories, i.e. the Habsburg Netherlands and the United Provinces. Although following diverging paths from 1560’s onwards, these areas do share a common legal past making early modern legislation interesting to study. Therefore it is important and even necessary to be able to study these two political spaces together in order to be able to highlight specific practices, both those that form a common ground and those that make the areas unique.

By bringing together researchers from Belgium and the Netherlands, this one-day workshop intends to shed light on a poorly studied phenomenon but genuinely key for the early modern period.

Presentations should not exceed 20 minutes. A discussion will be held at the end of each session.


9.30 Welcome
9.55 Introduction

10.00 Key-note: Jorgen Mührmann-Lund (Århus) - Interstate influences on early modern police ordinances

10.45 Session 1
Chair : Louis Sicking (Leiden/ VUAmsterdam)

Marie-Charlotte Le Bailly (Red Star Line Museum) - “De publicatie van den niewe ordonnantie”. The making and printing of ordinances and instructions for the Court of Holland, 1462-1811

Arthur der Weduwen (St. Andrews) - Publishing and Distributing Government Print in the Dutch Golden Age.

11.45 Posters session : Kevin DeKoster (UGent); Lies van Aelst (UU/Wethoudersvereniging); Inès Glogowski (VUB/UCLouvain).

12.00 Lunch

13.15 Session 2
Chair : Griet Vermeesch (VUB)

Xavier Rousseaux (FNRS/UCLouvain) et Romain Parmentier (UCLouvain) - Touchy Questions ?  Decriminalizing the body in the Austrian Netherlands : the example of Suicide and Torture      

Nicolas Simon (FNRS/UCLouvain/USL-B) - (In)effectiveness of the legislation in the Habsburg Netherlands (1598-1665)

Annemieke Romein (UGhent/EUR) - Establishing and implementing security-regulations and ‘Bona Politia’ in Flanders (1579-1701). Concepts, Normative Texts, and Instruments.

15.00 tea break

15.15 Conclusion - René Vermeir (Ghent)

15.45 Discussion & Future Prospects - Annemieke Romein (UGent/EUR) & Jorgen Mührmann-Lund (Århus)

16.00 End

More information here.

JOB: Doctoral Student on Spaces of Roman Republicanism (University of Helsinki, DEADLINE: 17 September 2018)

We learned of a Call for Application for a position as doctoral student in Roman law, within the University of Helsinki’s research project “Law, Governance and Space: Questioning the Foundations of the Republican Tradition”. Here the call:

The University of Helsinki is the oldest and largest institution of academic education in Finland, an international scientific community of 40,000 students and researchers. In international university rankings, the University of Helsinki typically ranks among the top 100. The University of Helsinki seeks solutions for global challenges and creates new ways of thinking for the best of humanity. Through the power of science, the University has contributed to society, education and welfare since 1640.

The Faculty of Social Sciences invites applications for the position of a
for a fixed term of four years starting from 1 November 2018 onwards (or as agreed) to contribute to the research project Law, Governance and Space: Questioning the Foundations of the Republican Tradition (SpaceLaw,

Successful candidates are expected to work full time and to complete their doctorates in four years.
The SpaceLaw research project is located at the Centre for European Studies of the University of Helsinki. It is funded by an ERC Consolidator Grant and led by Dr. Kaius Tuori.

The project has two main research questions that explore the theme by the confrontation of ideas and their contexts in both the ancient Roman Republican tradition and its afterlife in the European tradition:
1) What is the relationship between the Republican ideals and administrative practices and how is their change visible in the spaces of administration from the Roman Republic to modern Republicanism?
2) How the changes in the context and space of administration reflect in the social topography, the public and private spheres of governance?

Administrative professionalization has conventionally been the hallmark of a modern state. Ever since Weber, the conceptual separation of the office and its holder has defined the European way of governance. This separation equally defined it from both its feudalistic predecessors and failed states prone to corruption and nepotism. The origin of this European tradition of the separation of public and private has been seen in the Roman Republican state with its strict responsibilities, term limits and defined powers of its magistracies. This separation was made concrete in the building of public spaces for political and administrative purposes, in settings whose magnificence and grandeur reflected the value that the society held them. In the European tradition, public spaces were a demonstration of public power. While the spatial settings as have been studied in relation to monarchical settings like courts, Republican administration has been neglected. The problem is that much of what is known about the Roman Republican administrative practice fits this image badly. For example how is it possible to have professional administration if the magistrates are not paid and have no offices to work? The purpose of this project is to challenge that assumption and to propose a new model of the Roman governance through a novel re-evaluation of the ancient Roman administrative tradition and its links with the European heritage through the issue of administrative space. Spatial analysis allows the observer to break beyond the limits of the self-understanding of the sources and to approach fundamental connections between questions of power, law and governance.
The doctoral student will work on a thesis linked with subprojects A and C of the project.

Subproject A: The Emergence of the Republican Tradition explores how the Republican tradition of administration was shaped by its historic, spatial, economic, social and philosophical contexts by examining four case studies. How does the change in the interpretations of the tradition correspond with the changes in its spatial and immaterial context? The results of a survey of the corpus of the Roman Republican texts on the theory and practice of administration and administrative space will be compared with the other case studies of the Republicanist tradition.

Subproject C: The Legal Framework and the Administrative Process analyses how Roman jurists and other elite authors conceptualized the legal framework of the administrative state and the process of administration. How jurisprudence and legal practice conceptualized space in administration? What were the needs and requirements of space for legal administration and how do legal texts reflect space? The result will be an unorthodox interpretation of how the law created space and was created in spaces such as the Forum.

The doctoral student may have a background in law, humanities and/or social sciences. Students with different specializations in i.a classics, intellectual history, ancient history and Roman law are encouraged to apply.

The duties of a doctoral student are to work on her/his own doctoral thesis and to complete her/his postgraduate studies in four years. The duties also include teaching and other tasks. Teaching tasks can account for up to 5 % of the annual working time.

Applicants should hold a Master’s degree in a field that is relevant to the research topic and have a high quality research proposal. Relevant disciplines include but are not limited to classics, ancient history, intellectual history, general history, and Roman law. Other requirements include proven ability and motivation, demonstrated through previous degree studies or otherwise, to pursue postgraduate studies and a doctoral degree according to the study plan and research proposal. Fluency in English language is required.

The appointee should either already have the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki by the start of the appointment, or apply for the right and obtain it within the probationary period of six months of their appointment. If the candidate does not already have the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki, it must be applied for separately. (

The salary shall be based on levels 2–4 of the job requirement scheme for teaching and research staff in the salary system of Finnish universities. In addition, a salary component based on personal performance will be paid. The gross salary range will be approx. 2065–3022 euros per month, depending on the appointee’s qualifications and work experience. In addition, occupational healthcare will be provided. The appointment starts with a probationary period of six months.

Applicants are requested to enclose with their applications the following documents as a single pdf file:
1) A curriculum vitae (max 2 pages).
2) A list of publications.
3) A research plan not exceeding four (4) pages including a statement outlining how the proposed topic fits to the profile of the research project.
4) Contact information and recommendation from one referee.

Please submit your application through the University of Helsinki Recruitment System via the link Apply for job. Applicants who are employees of the University of Helsinki are requested to submit their application via the SAP HR portal.

Further information about the position and about the research project Law, Governance and Space: Questioning the Foundations of the Republican Tradition may be obtained (in Finnish and English) from Dr. Kaius Tuori ( In case you need support with the recruitment system, please contact

Due date
17.09.2018 23:59 EEST

More information here