30 August 2019

PROJECT PRESENTATION: Digital Humanities and Legal History. Can the computer read and classify ordinances ? By dr. C.A. ROMEIN (UGent/KB)

(image source: Dr. C.A. Romein)
As Researcher-in-Residence at the KB National Library of the Netherlands (The Hague), I – Annemieke Romein – I look for early modern norms in books of ordinances (‘plakkaatboeken’). These books hold mainly administrative laws, varying from norms against beggars, safety, but also laws intended to stimulate the economy, and international treaties are frequently included too. Together with colleagues at the library, we are looking for means to have the computer take over the process of categorising these texts. The question is: Can a computer recognise the texts containing rules, and distinguish between texts on religion, maintenance of dykes, colonial affairs, etc.?
Currently, I work as a postdoctoral researcher at Ghent University, where I focus on both handwritten and printed norms from the Low Countries. My current project (called: ‘Law and Order: Low Countries?!’) focuses on the federation-states of Flanders and Holland between 1576 (Pacification of Ghent) and 1702 (Spanish War of Succession). Initially, I am looking at the topics of the published norms. Personally, I find the rules on safety and security most intriguing as the topics are still relevant today, however, when you are interested in a selection of the texts, it is necessary to go through all of them. This gave rise to my initial question of whether the computer can be trained on the process of distinguishing texts from one another. I am very grateful for the chance to work at the Dutch National Library and on my project ‘Entangled Histories’ for six months.
My interest in the topic of legal history – more specifically Policeygesetzgebung and Policeywissenschaften (police norms) – was peaked in 2005 when I was looking for a Bachelor thesis topic. Professor Robert von Friedeburg had me read some German articles (Karl Härter/ Michael Stolleis, Policey im Europa der Frühen Neuzeit (Frankfurt 1996)) which gave – at that time – the impression that norms required a strong authoritarian type of rule: a top-down approach that one could only find in principalities or city-states. I was asked why similar texts were available in books of ordinances in the Netherlands, and this question has gradually evolved into my current projects.

Image 1. City crier, Cornelis Ploos van Amstel, by Cornelis Dusart, 1776; etching, h 201mm × w 155mm. Source:

Ordinances, what are they?
In the early modern period – rules were announced by the city crier. He walked through the city, or rode a horse, to visit indicated locations to read new rules to the inhabitants. After reading them aloud, the printed texts were fixed to “well-known places” (e.g. church doors, at the market square) for people to be able to reread them. An estimated 70% of people could read in the Republic, so for the remainder of the inhabitants having the new rules read aloud was still very important. The rules had to make sense so people could remember them by heart. Hence, there is a repetitiveness in the texts – which makes sense given that the 16th and 17th century had an important oral tradition.
Ordinances, or placards, were affixed to known places. This made them official. The provincial estates considered it to be important to print a selection of their agreed-upon texts in books of ordinances. These formed a source for lawyers as a reference work. These books do not form a complete overview, but they do give a sense of what government officials deemed important.

Image 2A The New Church in Amsterdam, Anonymous, 1693 – 1694. Etching, h 273mm × w 353mm. Bron:
Image 2B Detail: ordinances near the church doors.

Normative rules within a federation
The Dutch Republic, like the Habsburg Netherlands, were federations of autonomous states. In the Republic, the Estates-General held sovereign powers and in each of the federation-states the estates held the highest power.[1] [1]The Republic’s Stadtholder(s) was/were officially civil servants. The Habsburg Netherlands differed from the Republic as they had a sovereign prince (the King of Spain), though the federation-states did have a certain amount of freedom. They had to verify new rules did not jeopardise traditions and customs. Yet, when you look in many history books the scene is depicted as a game of thrones. This results in poorly studied political-institutional constellations of republics (the Republic and Switzerland alike). I find this very intriguing: we actually know too little to say something concrete about how federation-states without a prince were ruled! While Belgium is a long tradition of republishing the rules through the Royal Commission for the Publication of Ancient Laws and Ordinances (since 1846), the Netherlands does not hold such an institute. Such publications offer a rich source of information.

The differences between norms in Holland and Flanders
In the Netherlands, we do not have an overview of what laws were published and, hence, we cannot say anything substantial about the legislation in the Low Countries, or differences among the federation-states, or even in comparison with other areas in Europe. This is fascinating because my current research in Ghent gives rise to the suspicion that the differences between Holland and Flanders – both very trade-oriented – were not that big. Hence, my current hypothesis is that there was little differences between an indirect-ruled princely state and the federation-state Holland (as part of the Dutch Republic).

Computer techniques
In order to study the potential differences, the first step in the project is to analyse the layout of the pages and enhance the readability of the early modern texts. As humans, we can read the texts fairly well, but gothic fonts prove to be more challenging than roman fonts. The computer does not mind, rather it considers it a challenge. Within the Google Books project an OCR (Optical Character Recognition) has been applied, but, when you attempt to copy the texts (to a notepad for example) it will render useless due to the numerous errors.
These errors directly influence the searchability of the texts, even if you are only looking for keywords. In order to improve this, we apply Handwritten Text Recognition. This technique is developed within the European funded READ-project, which resulted in the application called Transkribus. The computer program is trained through manual transcriptions of a single hand, or, in our case, a font. Through this training, the computer learns how certain characters are represented. Furthermore, the program places the characters within a context by looking at complete lines instead of individual characters. This is called an N-Gram, which remembers the most frequent character combinations (such as a ‘q’ is always followed by a ‘u’).
We basically fool the computer by claiming that our printed sources are very regular handwriting, which will enormously help with recognition. I heard about these techniques before, but I had never applied them to printed texts. I became curious about whether they would be as successful as claimed. Would this work on the 108 books of ordinances that we retrieved from various digital collections? So far the results are giving us hope, and a reason to believe we can apply other techniques to analyse individual texts. Where I am currently still hand-labelling the individual texts in Ghent, the question arises whether the computer can do this also. I use the same categories as the Repertorium der Policeyordnungen-project once did, so that the datasets can merge at some point through LinkedData analysis. Can the High-Performance Computer (Artificial Intelligence) with the program Annif read through the texts and spot words that triggered me into categorising them  in a certain way? Then, apply this to other books of ordinances? While working at the KB, I hope to find the answer to this question.
Image 3a The Paalhuis and the New Bridge (Amsterdam) during the winter, by Jan Abrahamsz. Beerstraten, 1640 – 1666. Oil Painting, h 84cm × w 100cm.

Image 3b Detail with ordinances on the wall of the Paalhuis.

This blog was previously published – in an altered version – in Dutch at

Read more:
·        Andrea Iseli, Gute Policey: öffentliche Ordnung in der frühen Neuzeit (UTB GmbH, 2009).
·        Toomas Kotkas, Royal Police Ordinances in Early Modern Sweden: The Emergence of Voluntaristic Understanding of Law (Brill, Leiden/ Boston 2013).
·        Stolleis, M. (2000). Was bedeutet "Normdurchsetzung" bei Policeyordnungen der Frühen Neuzeit? In R. H. Helmholz (Ed.), Grundlagen des Rechts. Festschrift für Peter Landau zum 65. Geburtstag (pp. 739-757). Paderborn: Schöningh.

[1] The English translation province for the Dutch word gewest might be misleading, as it has the connotation of being subordinate to another entity – while the Low Countries’ provinces were basically federation-states hence I have given a preference to use this later term.

BOOK: Aldo BORLENGHI et al., eds., Voter en Grèce, à Rome et en Gaule : Pratiques, lieux et finalités (Lyon: MOM Editions, 2019). ISBN 978-2-3566-8062-4, €50,00

MOM Editions has published an edited collection on voting and voting systems in Ancient Greece, Rome and Gaul.


Dans ses aspects aussi bien théoriques que matériels, le système du vote dans les mondes grec et romain a depuis longtemps été exploré au sein d'études plus générales sur les institutions ou les différents types de régimes politiques. Il n'a cependant jamais fait l'objet de publications réunissant à la fois les témoignages textuels et les résultats des fouilles archéologiques, dans l'optique d’une compréhension globale de cette pratique.

De ce constat est né le projet d’une synthèse portant sur les modalités, les lieux et les finalités du vote en Grèce, à Rome et en Gaule, dans une perspective comparatiste. Menée dans le cadre d’un programme de recherche interdisciplinaire soutenu par l’université Lumière Lyon 2 et la Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerranée, cette recherche a suscité, selon les régions et les périodes concernées, des questionnements spécifiques mais elle a aussi fait émerger des points de convergence.
La collaboration de chercheurs issus de plusieurs disciplines – l’histoire, la philologie et l’archéologie – a permis de cerner la pratique du vote à travers ses implications politiques, ses modalités procédurales et la place qui lui a été réservée dans l’espace civique par les différentes sociétés antiques qui l’ont mise en œuvre.

Le présent ouvrage, qui présente une synthèse sur chacune des aires géographiques étudiées et rassemble vingt et une contributions issues de séminaires ou de journées d’études qui se sont tenus à Lyon, à la Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerranée, de la fin de l’année 2012 au printemps 2014, propose une approche inédite de l’acte de vote dans l’Antiquité.


Première partie – Le monde grec
Liliane Lopez-Rabatel
Liliane Lopez-Rabatel
Le vote dans le monde grec, procédures et équipement
Marcel Piérart
Ni anarchie ni despotisme. Les élections du Conseil dans la cité des Lois
Christine Mauduit
Le suffrage d'Athéna : réflexions sur le vote dans la tragédie grecque
Enzo Lippolis
Riunioni, operazioni di voto e agoni nell'agorà di Atene
Jean-Charles Moretti
La Pnyx, lieu de vote
Deuxième partie – Le monde romain
Clément Chillet, Virginie Hollard
• Les procédures
Dominique Hiébel
Les élections romaines, emblèmes de la souveraineté populaire ou artifices politiques de l'oligarchie ?
Xavier Dupuis
Les curies électorales dans les cités provinciales, une évolution du modèle romain ?
Frédéric Hurlet
Le tirage au sort dans les cités de l’Occident romain
Michel Tarpin
La paperasse avant le papier : enregistrement, déclarations, identité, contrôles à Rome
• Les lieux
Yann Bertelet
Templa de majesté et conception du vote à Rome
Michel Humm
Les espaces comitiaux à Rome pendant la période républicaine
Clément Chillet
Le comitium comme lieu de vote à Rome : une relecture
Aldo Borlenghi
Les installations de vote dans les villes d’Italie : état de la question sur les assemblées électorales dans l’aire du forum
• Les finalités
Gilles van Heems
Le suffrage archaïque : vote et assentiment populaire en Étrurie et à Rome à l’époque des rois et des tyrans
Virginie Hollard
Étude sur la nominatio dans les élections des magistrats de Rome. Éléments apportés à l’histoire d’une étape technique du vote romain et de son évolution entre la République et le régime impérial
Théo Brignoli
La plèbe et le peuple, modalités de l’expression d’organes essentiels de la cité
Troisième partie – Le monde gaulois
Aldo Borlenghi
Emilie Mitsakis
Les procédures électorales en Gaule d’après les sources littéraires
Franck Perrin
À la recherche d’un corps civique en Gaule préromaine
Catherine Gaeng, Patrice Méniel, Jeannot Metzler
L’espace public de l’oppidum de Titelberg (L)
Romain Guichon
Des jetons de vote gaulois ? Le petit mobilier circulaire en contexte politico-religieux
Matthieu Poux
Voter dans les sanctuaires en Gaule romaine : espaces architecturaux, indices matériels et cadre institutionnel
Yves Sintomer
Voter dans l’Antiquit : un regard depuis le XXIe siècle

More info here

29 August 2019

ARTICLE: Edward CAVANAGH, "Legal thought and empires: analogies, principles, and authorities from the ancients to the moderns", Journal Jurisprudence. An International Journal of Legal and Political Thought

(image source: Routledge)

Empire reveals some of the reasons why the history of legal thought should not be prepared in precisely the same way as the history of political thought. This article, beginning in the Mediterranean before adopting a more transnational scope, identifies analogy, principle, and authority as some of the principal modes of legal reasoning, and then seeks to examine several instances of their application within different imperial and colonial contexts. The British Empire is the most obvious trajectory in what follows. Like many other modern empires, however, it is optimally approached in view of longer term institutional and intellectual developments in Europe. Substantively and procedurally, European law became elaborate over time as dominant communities expanded to interact with more fixed communities. The motivations of those lawyers who elaborated this body of law were various and must be comprehended. While imperialism spurred innovation and change in the kind of objectives that were tasked to legal thinkers, what remained essential to the realisation of those objectives was their ability to enjoy recourse to those very modes of reasoning (analogies, principles, and authorities) that had characterised the development of European legal thought for millennia.
More on the Routledge website.

BOOK: David G. DALIN, Jewish Justices of the Supreme Court From Brandeis to Kagan (Lebanon (New Hampshire): Brandeis University Press, 2017). ISBN 978-1-61168-238-0, $35.00

Brandeis University Press has published a book on Jewish justices in the history of the US Supreme Court in 2017 which we had not yet reported on. 


The first history of the eight Jewish men and women who have served or who currently serve as justices of the Supreme Court

Jewish Justices of the Supreme Court examines the lives, legal careers, and legacies of the eight Jews who have served or who currently serve as justices of the U.S. Supreme Court: Louis D. Brandeis, Benjamin Cardozo, Felix Frankfurter, Arthur Goldberg, Abe Fortas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, and Elena Kagan.

David Dalin discusses the relationship that these Jewish justices have had with the presidents who appointed them, and given the judges’ Jewish background, investigates the antisemitism some of the justices encountered in their ascent within the legal profession before their appointment, as well as the role that antisemitism played in the attendant political debates and Senate confirmation battles.
Other topics and themes include the changing role of Jews within the American legal profession and the views and judicial opinions of each of the justices on freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the death penalty, the right to privacy, gender equality, and the rights of criminal defendants, among other issues.

• Acknowledgments
• Before Brandeis: Presidents, Presidential Appointments, and America’s Jews, 1813–1912
• Louis D. Brandeis: “People’s Attorney,” Presidential Adviser, and Zionist
• Justice Brandeis: Supreme Court Nomination and Senate Confirmation Fight
• Benjamin N. Cardozo: Redeeming the Family Name
• Felix Frankfurter: City College to the New Deal
• Mr. Justice Frankfurter: The Court Years
• Arthur J. Goldberg: A Promising Tenure Cut Short
• Abe Fortas: A Tale of Achievement and Scandal
• Three Jewish Justices: Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan Join the Court
• Notes
• Index
DAVID G. DALIN, a historian and rabbi, is the author, coauthor or editor of eleven books, including Religion and State in the American Jewish Experience (coauthored with Jonathan D. Sarna) and The Presidents of the United States and the Jews. His articles and book reviews have appeared in a variety of publications, including American Jewish History, Commentary, Modern Judaism, the Weekly Standard, the American Jewish Year Book, and the Jewish Review of Books.

All info here

NEWS: New entry “Decolonization in International Law” by Professor Mai Taha – Oxfordbibliographies

Oxfordbibliographies has just published a new bibliography on “decolonization in international law”.

In Gillo Pontecorvo’s evocative film The Battle of Algiers (1966), viewers reach the conclusion that the fight against colonialism would not be fought at the UN General Assembly. Decolonization would take place through the organized resistance of colonized people. Still, the 1945 United Nations Charter and the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights provided some legal basis, albeit tenuous, for self-determination. When Third World leaders assembled in the 1955 Bandung Conference, it became clear that the UN needed to shift gears on the question of decolonization. By 1960, and through a show of Asian and African votes at the General Assembly, the Declaration for the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples was adopted, effectively outlawing colonialism and affirming the right of all peoples to self-determination.” […]

The full bibliography can be found here

CONFERENCE: La naissance de l’école de Bruxelles (2-3 October 2019, Brussels)

(Source: Centre Perelman)

The Centre Perelman is hosting a conference on Belgian intellectual history, with as the “La naissance de l’école de Bruxelles”.

Le Centre Perelman organise un colloque international consacré à la naissance de l’École de Bruxelles qui aura lieu, à l’ULB, les 2 et 3 octobre 2019.

Ce colloque international et interdisciplinaire fait le point sur un épisode important de l’histoire intellectuelle de la Belgique : la naissance de l’École de Bruxelles à et autour de l’ULB au tournant des 19ème et 20ème siècle, marquée par le développement des sciences expérimentales et des sciences sociales, ainsi que l’implication des académiques dans la transformation de l’État libéral en État social.

Le programme détaillé du colloque est disponible sur le document ci-dessous.

The programme for the conference can be found here

28 August 2019

CONFERENCE PROGRAM: 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Society for Legal History (Boston, 21-24 NOV 2019)

(image source: Blogger)

The Conference Program of the 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Society for Legal History has been released.

Download the program in PDF here.

(source: Legal History Blog)

BOOK: Christopher LATTMANN, Der Teufel, die Hexe und der Rechtsgelehrte. Crimen magiae und Hexenprozess in Jean Bodins De la Démonomanie des Sorciers [Studien zur europäischen Rechtsgeschichte, 318] (Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann 2019), 390 p., 69,00 €, ISBN 978-3-465-04389-8

(image source: MPIeR)

Jean Bodin is known above all as the author of the Six livres de la République (1576) and the founder of the theory of sovereignty. Most modern readers, however, are less familiar with his demonology of 1580, which was also a bestseller at the time – not least because witchcraft law was hardly standardised in early modern France. In De la Démonomanie des Sorciers (1580), Bodin discussed the nature of witchcraft and gave instructions for the strict legal prosecution of the crimen magiae. Christopher Lattmann’s study is the first to provide a detailed examination of this controversial legal work from the perspective of legal history. Bodin understood witchcraft as a phenomenon that resulted from the interaction of God, devil and man. His view of the world is reflected in his material witchcraft law, above all in his treatment of the various witchcraft offences: from entering into a pact with the devil to participating in the Witches’ Sabbath or using maleficent magic. Lattmann demonstrates the influences of Mosaic, Roman and ecclesiastical law as well as of contemporary demonology on Bodin’s work. Against the background of French criminal procedural law, he shows that Bodin established a special summary procedure for witch trials that differed from the regular inquisition procedure. Since Bodin could not base himself on any existing French law for this purpose, he drew on the doctrines of foreign criminal jurists. Lattmann thus shows how Bodin’s work originated in a European legal sphere and became an important contribution to European criminal law in the 16th century.

(source: MPIeR)

CONFERENCE: Status and Justice in Law, Religion, and Society (Washington and Lee University, 1-3 November 2019)

We learned of a conference “Status and Justice in Law, Religion, and Society” at Washington and Lee University which includes several presentations with a legal-historical angle.

List of presenters:

With topics or titles; more titles to come.

  • Kameliya Atanasova (W&L), on status in Ottoman Turkey
  • David Baluarte (W&L Law): “Family in the Balance: The Human Right to Family Life as a Limit on U.S. Immigration Authority”
  • Carolyn Baugh (Gannon U.), on marriage and unfree status in Islamic legal opinions
  • Linda Bosniak (Rutgers Law): “Who Is a Constitutional Subject?  Citizenship, Personhood, Territoriality”
  • Kristin Collins  (Boston University Law), on personal status, domestic relations, and citizenship
  • Robert Cottrol (George Washington U.), on race, ethnicity, slavery, and discrimination
  • Kevin Crotty (W&L), “Citizenship as Status in Ancient Athens: the Case of Solon”
  • Deepa Das Acevedo (U. Alabama Law): “Just Hindus: The Indian Supreme Court’s Sabarimala Decision”
  • Donald R. Davis (U. Texas, Austin): “Master and Servant Law in Medieval India: What Slavery Might Teach Us about the Nature of Work”
  • Mark Drumbl (W&L Law), on child v. adult status
  • Katharine Gerbner (UMN), on Caribbean slavery, religion/conversion, and racism
  • Sora Han (UC Irvine Law), on slavery, critical race theory, gender, criminality
  • Tim Lubin (W&L): “Personal Status: A Typology in Historical Perspective”
  • Elizabeth Meyer (U. Virginia), on civic statuses in ancient Greece
  • Mona Oraby (Amherst): “Status Conversions: Administering Inequality and Freedom”
  • Michael Satlow (Brown University): “Status or Contract?  The Case of Jewish Marriage”
  • Melissa Vise (W&L): “Legal and Religious Concepts of Medieval persona: Blasphemy at the Limits”
  • Adnan Zulfiqar (Rutgers Law), on status under codified Shariah

More information about the conference can be found here

27 August 2019

CONFERENCE: 43. Rechtshistorikertag (University of Zürich, 7-11 September 2020)

The University of Zürich is hosting the annual Rechtshistorikertag next year. Here the program:

Montag, 7. Sept.

Individuelle Anreise
14:00-18:00     Öffnung des Tagungsbüros
15:00-17:00     Forum der Jungen
18:00-20:00     Eröffnung und Festvortrag
20:00               Apéro riche

Dienstag, 8. Sept.

09:30-12:30     Plenarvorträge
13:30-17:00     Sektion „Rechtspluralismus“
                        Sektion „Völkerrechtsgeschichte“
17:30-19:00     Podiumsdiskussion: Die Zukunft des Rechtshistorikertages
19:30               Orgelkonzert

Mittwoch, 9. Sept.

09:00-11:30     Plenarvorträge
13:30-17:00     Sektion „Schiedsgerichtsbarkeit“
                        Sektion „Religiöse Rechte“
17:00-18:15     Preisverleihung RHT-Preis
20:00               Gala Dinner

Donnerstag, 10. Sept.

09:00-12:30     Plenarvorträge
13:30-18:00     Sektion „Medienwandel und Recht“
                        Sektion „Expertenkulturen des Rechts“

Freitag, 11. Sept.

Ganztägig         Exkursionen

Samstag, 12. Sept.

Individuelle Abreise

More info to be found on the conference’s website

SEMINAR: 2019 British Association of Comparative Law seminar, Legal Transplants & Mixed Jurisdictions - In Honour of the Late Prof. Alan Watson (3 September 2019, University of Central Lancastershire)

We learned that the 2019 British Association of Comparative Law seminar, Legal Transplants & Mixed Jurisdictions - In Honour of the Late Prof. Alan Watson, will take place on 3 September, 9.30-12.20, at University of Central Lancashire.

The 2019 British Association of Comparative Law seminar, Legal Transplants & Mixed Jurisdictions - In Honour of the Late Prof. Alan Watson, will take place on 3 September, 9.30-12.20, at University of Central Lancashire.

The speakers are:

Prof. John Cairns (Edinburgh): The Birth of Mixed Legal Systems in the British Empire
Prof. Dr. Uwe Kischel (Greifswald): Theorising Legal Transplants?
Prof. Geoffrey Samuel (Kent): Why are “Nutshells” so Important?
Dr. Richard Kirkham (Sheffield): The Ombudsman as a Barometer of Administrative Cultures

This event is free and all are welcome to attend. To attend, please register via Eventbrite -

26 August 2019

NEWS: Centre for Law and History – University of Bristol

The University of Bristol has recently created its Centre for Law and History. The webpage of the new center can be found here.

Founded in 2018, the Centre for Law and History Research brings together expertise in the history of law over many centuries and several jurisdictions, with a variety of academic perspectives.
The Law School has a large body of scholars engaged in research and teaching in law and its histories. The Centre exists to fosters excellent research in this field, individual and collaborative, and to forge links between disciplines and institutions, amongst scholars with an interest in examining law in its historical dimension.

The Centre includes academics with internationally-recognised research profiles,  who work with a variety of local, national and international organisations to promote and further the study of law and history.

JOURNAL: Law and History Review (Vol. XXXVII, Issue 3)

(Source: Cambridge Core)

The Law and History Review has published its 3rd issue of the year.

Original Article

“Amongst the Most Desirable Reading”: Advertising and the Fetters of the Newspaper Press in Britain, c. 1848–1914
Anat Rosenberg

Symposium: Originalism and Legal History: Rethinking the Special Relationship

Original Article
Two Early Dutch Translations of the United States Constitution: Public Meaning in a Transnational Context
Michael Douma
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 09 August 2019, pp. 707-723
Interpreting Article II, Section 2: George Washington and the President's Powers
Lindsay M. Chervinsky
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 17 June 2019, pp. 725-741
Invited Article
 “Plant Yourselves on its Primal Granite”: Slavery, History and the Antebellum Roots of Originalism
Aaron R. Hall
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 02 July 2019, pp. 743-761
Common Law Confrontations
Bernadette Meyler
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 09 August 2019, pp. 763-786
Originalism and the Academy in Exile
Paul Baumgardner
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 20 June 2019, pp. 787-807
Originalism and the Law of the Past
William Baude, Stephen E. Sachs
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 09 August 2019, pp. 809-820
Reading the Constitution, 1787–91: History, Originalism, and Constitutional Meaning
Saul Cornell
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 25 July 2019, pp. 821-845
Method and Dialogue in History and Originalism
Logan Everett Sawyer
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 12 July 2019, pp. 847-860

Review Essay

The Closing of the Constitution
Kevin Arlyck
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 09 August 2019, pp. 861-866

More info with Cambridge Core.

23 August 2019

WORKSHOP: Osgoode Society Legal History Workshop, Fall Term 2019-2020

Via the Canadian Legal History Blog, we learned of the Osgoode Society’s upcoming workshop series.



Wednesday September 11: Nancy Wright, University of Victoria: “The Laphroaig
Leasehold:  Popular Interpretations of Feudal Tenures.”

Wednesday September 25: Jim Phillips, University of Toronto: ‘The Canadian
Court System, 1867-1914’

Wednesday October 9 – Yom Kippur

Tuesday October 15: Note the Tuesday. Donal Coffey, Max Planck Institute:
‘Newfoundland and Dominion Status.’

Wednesday October 30  (new date): Philip Girard, Osgoode Hall Law School: ‘The
Contrasting Fates of French-Canadian and Indigenous Constitutionalism: British
North America, 1763-1867.’

Wednesday November 6: Eric Adams, University of Alberta: ‘Constitutional
Wrongs: A Legal History of Japanese Canadians’

Wednesday November 13 (new date): Joseph Kary, Kary and Kwan: Sonderkommando in
Canada: Montreal's first World War II War Crimes Trial, 1951-1956

Wednesday November 27: Patricia McMahon, Torys: ‘Radioactive: The Life and
Lies of Boris Pregel’

22 August 2019

FELLOWSHIP: JEV-Fellowship for European Administrative History, Max Planck Institute for European Legal History (DEADLINE: 30 September 2019)

The Max Planck Institute for European Legal History has a call for the JEV-Fellowship for European Administrative History.

Research Fellowship in the field of European Administrative History

At the end of 2012 Prof. Dr. Erk Volkmar Heyen, who served as Professor of Public Law and European Administrative History at the Ernst-Moritz-Arndt University of Greifswald until his retirement and as editor of the “Jahrbuch für europäische Verwaltungsgeschichte/Yearbook of European Administrative History” (JEV), which ran from 1989 to 2008, endowed a research fellowship in the field of European Administrative History ("The JEV-Fellowship for European Administrative History"). The fellowship falls within the framework of the German University Foundation (Bonn, Germany).

The scholarship is intended to benefit the next generation of scientific researchers, particularly doctoral and post-doctoral students, and exclusively to complete their research project in as brief a period as possible to a maximum of 12 months. The scholarship is based on the usual rates for doctoral fellowships of the German Research Foundation (DFG). Should a fellowship be awarded to a researcher outside Germany, local scholarship rates will be taken into consideration. Marital status will not be taken into account, nor will travel or overhead costs be reimbursed.
The Board of the German University Foundation awards the fellowship based on the recommendation of a jury, which is based at the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History (MPI) in Frankfurt.

Early stage researchers from Germany and abroad are invited to apply. In accordance with the thematic and methodological spectrum covered by the JEV, the scholarship is open to all historical disciplines, provided the research project addresses an aspect of European administrative history from the sixteenth to the twentieth century. The relevance of the research topic should not be restricted to a particular national context. Comparative research questions are particularly welcome.
Applications for scholarships starting in January must be submitted on September 30th of the preceding year, but deviations from this rule are possible in exceptional cases and at the discretion of the Institute. Applications in English or German should be sent in electronic form to: Priv.-Doz. Dr. Peter The application, which must also indicate the intended duration of the fellowship, should include:

  • a tabular CV with details on the nature and course university education with copies of examination results and diplomas to be enclosed, a list of scientific publications, where applicable
  • a detailed description of the research project including a detailed outline, a detailed report on the current state of the project and writing progress, including the reasons for any delay in its completion
  • extensive excerpts from the manuscript
  • information on the project’s previous, current and planned financing arrangements
  • a precise timetable to complete the manuscript within the duration of the fellowship.
Furthermore, at least one expert opinion on the research project and a personal reference from a university lecturer are to be submitted directly to the jury.

The MPI provides fellowship recipients with the opportunity to work in its library. Fellows are given the opportunity to present and discuss their research projects with members of the Institute. Upon expiration of the fellowship, the recipient is to submit a report on the status of the manuscript. The MPI provides for the publication of the manuscript in one of its book series, assuming it meets internal and scientific standards. The book is to acknowledge the support provided by the “JEV-Fellowship for European Administrative History” in the masthead or in the preface.

All info to be found here

PODCAST: Interventions – The Intellectual History Podcast on Law, History and Global Governance (Dr. Megan Donaldson)


Interventions has a new podcast with Dr. Megan Donaldson, dealing with themes relevant to the history of international law.

What is the place of history in the study of law? How do historians of international law conceive of emergent actors on the global stage? To what extent do legal histories shape the expectations and commitments of today’s international institutions? Dr Megan Donaldson, recently appointed to a lectureship in Public International Law at University College London, addresses these questions and shares her experience of a complex intersection between law, legal history and the history of political thought.

The podcast can be found here

21 August 2019

BOOK: John SHAW, ed., The Loes and Wilford Poor Law Incorporation, 1765-1826 “A Prison with a Milder Name” (Suffolk: Boydell & Brewer, 2019). ISBN 9781783273829, £40.00

(Source: Boydell & Brewer)

Boydell & Brewer have published a new book on English poor law.


Between 1660 and 1841, some 149 "corporations of the poor" were created in England through local acts. By uniting a number of parishes, these "corporations" hoped to deal more effectively with the growing problem of pauperism. This volume, focussing on 33 parishes in the hundreds of Loes and Wilford in east Suffolk, is the first detailed exploration of a rural incorporation. The incorporation's approach towards the poor was truly revolutionary: setting the able-bodied to work in the purpose-built house of industry, educating the children, punishing the indolent, and caring for the sick and impotent in a humane way. By charting the incorporation's complete history, this volume allows for the exploration of the wide range of social policies implemented during those years. Through a wealth of documents, we witness the zeal of the initial promoters in the 1760s; the construction and management of the House; the development of medical services; the problems faced by the economic crisis of the 1790s; and, as costs continued to rise, the gradual disillusionment of the local elites, leading to the institution's demise in 1826.


JOHN SHAW obtained his PhD from the University of East Anglia


Editorial Conventions, Weights, Measures and Money
First Quarterly Minute Book, 1 July 1765 - 4 March 1784
Second Quarterly Minute Book, 28 June 1784 - April 1765
Third Quarterly Minute Book, 6 July 1795 - 11 July 1805
Fourth Quarterly Minute Book, 17 October 1805 - 15 October 1812
Fifth Quarterly Minute Book, 4 January 1813 - 13 June 1817
Sixth Quarterly Minute Book, 15 October 1818 - 18 October 1820
Seventh Quarterly Minute Book, 12 October 1820 - 12 October 1826
Post Disincorporation Documents
Index of People and Places
Index of Subjects

More info here