28 February 2020

BOOK: Wendell R. BIRD, The Revolution in Freedoms of Press and Speech From Blackstone to the First Amendment and Fox’s Libel Act (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020). ISBN 9780197509197, $99.00

(Source: OUP)

Oxford University Press is publishing a new book on the history of freedoms of press and speech in England and the United States in the 18th century.


This book discusses the revolutionary broadening of concepts of freedom of press and freedom of speech in Great Britain and in America in the late eighteenth century, in the period that produced state declarations of rights and then the First Amendment and Fox's Libel Act.

The conventional view of the history of freedoms of press and speech is that the common law since antiquity defined those freedoms narrowly, and that Sir William Blackstone in 1769, and Lord Chief Justice Mansfield in 1770, faithfully summarized the common law in giving a very narrow definition of those freedoms as mere liberty from prior restraint and not liberty from punishment after something was printed or spoken.       

This book proposes, to the contrary, that Blackstone carefully selected the narrowest definition that had been suggested in popular essays in the prior seventy years, in order to oppose the growing claims for much broader protections of press and speech. Blackstone misdescribed his summary as an accepted common law definition, which in fact did not exist. A year later, Mansfield inserted a similar definition into the common law for the first time, also misdescribing it as a long-accepted definition, and soon misdescribed the unique rules for prosecuting sedition as having an equally ancient pedigree. Blackstone and Mansfield were not declaring the law as it had long been, but were leading a counter-revolution about the breadth of freedoms of press and speech, and cloaking it as a summary of a narrow common law doctrine that in fact was nonexistent.      

That conflict of revolutionary view and counter-revolutionary view continues today. For over a century, a neo-Blackstonian view has been dominant, or at least very influential, among historians. Contrary to those narrow claims, this book concludes that the broad understanding of freedoms of press and speech was the dominant context of the First Amendment and of Fox's Libel Act, and that it enjoyed greater historical support.
Wendell Bird is the author of Press and Speech under Assault: The Early Supreme Court Justices, the Sedition Act of 1798, and the Campaign against Dissent (2016); and of Criminal Dissent: Prosecutions under the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 (2020). He earned a D.Phil. degree in legal history from University of Oxford, and a J.D. degree from Yale Law School. He is a Visiting Scholar at Emory University School of Law.
List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations


Part I The Devising of Narrow Liberties of Press and Speech

Chapter 1: Blackstone's and Mansfield's Narrow Liberties of Press and Speech, and Broad Crimes of Seditious Libel and Seditious Words: Summaries or Misdescriptions of an Ancient Common Law?

Chapter 2: The Crimes of Seditious Libel and Seditious Speech: Weapons for Suppressing Dissent in Britain and America?

Part II The British Broadening of Liberties of Press and Speech

Chapter 3: The Emerging Broad British View of Freedoms of Press and Speech, Before the Colonial Crisis

Chapter 4: The Prevailing British View of Freedoms of Press and Speech, in the Decade Before the American Revolution and Declarations of Rights

Chapter 5: The Dominant British View of Freedoms of Press and Speech, in the Decade Before Fox's Libel Act and America's Bill of Rights

Part III The American Development of Broad Rights of Press and Speech

Chapter 6: The Emergence of Expansive American Views of Freedoms of Press and Speech, Before the Colonial Crisis

Chapter 7: Reasons for the Spread of Broad Views of Liberties of Press and Speech in America, During and After the Colonial Crisis

Chapter 8: The Prevailing Broad View by the Popular Party of Freedoms of Press and Speech, in the Prerevolutionary Decade Before the American States' Declarations of Rights

Chapter 9: The Dominant American View of Freedoms of Press and Speech, in the Decade Leading up to Ratification of the Federal Bill of Rights

Chapter 10: The Constitutional Understanding of Freedoms of Press and Speech, and of Seditious Libel, in Discussions of State and Federal Bills of Rights


More info here

27 February 2020

REMINDER: CONFERENCE: Entangled international and national legal orders in the long 19th century (Zürich: University of Zürich, 2-3 MAR 2020)

Entangled international and national legal orders

in the long 19th century 2-3 March 2020, University of Zurich

Monday, 2nd March 2020, room RAA-G-01, University of Zurich

14,15-14,30: Introductory remarks, Raphael Cahen (Vrije Universiteit Brussel), Frederik Dhondt (Vrije Universiteit Brussel/Antwerp University), Elisabetta Fiocchi Malaspina (University of Zurich)

14,30-15,15: Keynote by Andreas Thier (University of Zurich)

15,15-16,00: Frederik Dhondt, Legal arguments in the debate on recognition of Italian independence in Belgian parliament (November 1861) 

16,00-16,45: Pietro Costa (University of Florence), Nation-building and State-building in the ‘long’ Nineteenth Century: Identity Myths and Domination Strategies

16,45-17,15: Coffee Break

17,15-18,00: Raphael Cahen, Constitutional and international entanglements in nineteenth century: the case of the Litigation committee of the French foreign minister and his actors

18,00-18,45: Markus J. Prutsch (European Parliament/Heidelberg University), The “Vienna System” and the German Confederation: Stability, Sovereignty and Constitutionalism

Tuesday, 3rd March 2020room RAA-G-01, University of Zurich

9,00-9,45: Inge Van Hulle (Tilburg University), Plural normative orders and the negotiation of land rights in West Africa (1880-1920)

9,45-10,30: Lisa Ford (University of New South Wales), Sovereignty, Settlement and International Law: the case of Honduras

10,30-11,00: Coffee Break

11,30-11,45: Elisabetta Fiocchi Malaspina, Colonial and International Entanglements in Nineteenth-Century Legal Discourses on Land Law and Land Registration

11,45-12,15: Concluding remarks

Room RAA-G-01, University of Zurich, Rämistrasse 59

(more information:

(see earlier on this blog)

CALL FOR PAPERS: Local Administration during the First and Second World Wars (Prague, 2-4 September 2020) (DEADLINE: 17 March 2020)

(Source: Pol-Int)

We learned of a call for papers for a conference in Prague on local administrations during the two world wars. Here the call:

Local administration has always played a key role in securing, implementing and stabilizing the authority of the modern state. After the outbreak of the First World War, the warring countries were confronted with a difficult supply situation, including famine, disease, refugees and labor shortages. The clerks of the local administration were responsible for implementing new policies and solving problems. They were the ones in direct contact with local populations which were often multi-ethnic and presented a broad variety of needs.

In many cases, local administrations were reorganized to deal with vast and unprecedented tasks and problems. In other cases, the German Empire and Austria-Hungary established military occupation administrations which depended on existing local administration, for example in Belgium, Serbia and Ukraine.

Not only military defeat but also the failure of overtaxed local administrations to solve substantial problems such as obtaining sufficient food supplies for the population led to revolts in the German Empire and the Habsburg Monarchy.

This drastic experience prompted Nazi Germany in particular to undertake a reorganization of local administration shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War. Even after large parts of Europe were under German occupation, local administrations remained largely responsible for the daily life needs of local populations, such as organizing production, distribution and rationing of food and other basic goods, such as heating fuel and clothing. Since state food allotments were often insufficient to meet basic needs, local populations reacted with the development of a variety of illegal practices. Farmers evaded compulsory levies of food and sold undocumented, illegally butchered meat. Hidden stores of products, food and ration stamps were traded for other goods as part of a comprehensive black market. Although nominally supervised by German occupiers, the actual prosecution of these new economic crimes generally fell in the responsibility of local administrations and courts. Local courts continued to hear non-political cases and disputes within local populations as well.

Recent research in Holocaust Studies have showed that local administrations not only played an important role in making the mass murder of the European Jews possible, but that it was often local administrations that took the initiative.

This conference aims to bring together scholars who work on specific aspects of local administration in the First World War and the Second World War and analyze and compare a diversity of methodologies, findings and approaches.

We are particularly interested in papers that are dealing with the following historical focuses:

- The relationship between the occupying power and local administration.
- Local administration and the war economy
- Local courts under occupation
- Continuity and change in staffing aspects of local administration under occupation
- Questions of local administration and local interpretation of collaboration

Prof. Jonathan Gumz will give a keynote address on local administration and the First World War.

Prof. Dieter Pohl will give a keynote address on local administration and the Second World War.

At the moment we are able to cover accommodation and parts of the travel costs, we are still looking for funds for travel costs.

The conference language is English.

Please send your abstracts of approximately 500 words by 17 March 2020 to:


BOOK PRESENTATION : Wim DECOCK, Le marché du mérite, (Université de Lille, 13 March 2020).

(Source : Zones-sensibles)

BOOK PRESENTATION : is on 13 March 2020, 10:30. At the Law faculty, Université de Lille. Luisa BRUNORI (HDR CNRS, U.Lille) and Alexis AUDEMAR (Phd candidate, U.Lille) will introduce the author.

Wim DECOCK will present his book Le marché du mérite, Penser le droit et l’économie avec Léonard Lessius.  Published by : Zones sensibles, 248p. ISBN 978 293 0601 40 0. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR : Wim DECOCK is a legal history Professor in KU Leuwen and the University of Liege. He also intervenes in various European universities and institutions. 

ABOUT THE BOOK : It aims to understand the origin of modern economy by its theological foundations. More information can be found here :

  • 1. L’« Oracle des Pays-Bas »
  • 2. L’ombre de Max Weber
  • 3. Pactum serva
  • 4. Usure et marché
  • 5. Information et spéculation
  • 6. Risques, assurances et subprimes
  • 7. Monopoles et industrie
  • 8. Le salut de l’économie
  • 9. L’économie du salut
  • 10. Occupation et ascétisme

CONFERENCE: Die Juristische Zeitgeschichte der 1980er Jahre (Regensburg, 19-20 March 2020)

We learned of a conference at the University of Regensburg on German legal history in the 1980s. Please find the banner for the conference, including the speakers, above and here

26 February 2020

SEMINAR SERIES: Zürcher Ausspracheabende zur Rechtsgeschichte, Universität Zürich - Frühjahrssemester 2020

The Centre for Legal History Research, University of Zurich, has published a list of new seminars for its “Zürcher Ausspracheabende zur Rechtsgeschichte”, Spring 2020:

Donnerstag, 26. März 2020
Dr. Luisa Stella de Oliveira Coutinho Silva - Max Planck-Institut für europäische Rechtsgeschichte, Frankfurt a. M.
"Christian Japanese in the Portuguese Empire: Circulation and Production of Normativities in Japanese Lay Communities (1540s-1630s)"
18.15 Uhr, Rämistrasse 71, KOL-G-212

Donnerstag, 2. April 2020
Prof. Dr. Elisabetta Fiocchi Malaspina - Universität Zürich
"Violence, Colonialism and Property in Africa (19th – 20th Centuries)"
18.15 Uhr, Karl-Schmid-Strasse 4, KO2-F-150

Donnerstag, 7. Mai 2020
Prof. Dr. Michael Peachin - New York University
"Zum breiteren Kontext der römischen Juristenschriften"
18.15 Uhr, Rämistrasse 71, KOL-E-18

Die Zürcher Ausspracheabende zur Rechtsgeschichte (ZAA) sind eine seit 1954 bestehende Vortragsreihe an der Universität Zürich, in deren Rahmen aktuelle rechtshistorische Forschungen präsentiert und diskutiert werden. Die Veranstaltung dauert ca. 90 Minuten.

Veranstalter: Proff. Dres. José Luis Alonso, Ulrike Babusiaux, Wolfgang Ernst, Elisabetta Fiocchi Malaspina, Johannes Liebrecht, Andreas Thier

Organisation: Zentrum für rechtsgeschichtliche Forschung, Rämistrasse 74/48, 8001 Zürich 
Kontakt:, 044 634 30 34 


Dr. Louisa Stella de Oliveira Coutinho Silva studierte von 2004 bis 2012 in Brasilien und Portugal Psychologie und Recht. Ihre Doktorarbeit schloss sie 2018 an der Universität von Lissabon ab. Gleichzeitig absolvierte sie die brasilianische und portugiesische Anwaltsprüfung. Seit 2018 ist Louisa Stella Coutinho als Post-Doctoral Researcher am Max-Planck-Institut für Europäische Rechtsgeschichte in Frankfurt am Main tätig. Ihr derzeitiges Forschungsprojekt trägt den Titel: «Christian Japanese in the Portuguese Empire. Circulation and production of normativities in Japanese lay communities (1540s-1630s)». Das Projekt ist Teil des MPI Projekts «Glocalising normativities: A Global Legal History (15th - 21th century)» unter der Leitung von Thomas Duve.

Prof. Dr. Elisabetta Fiocchi Malaspina ist Assistenzprofessorin für Rechtsgeschichte an der Universität Zürich. Nach dem Studium der Rechtswissenschaften an der Università degli Studi di Milano, wurde sie 2012 an der Università degli Studi di Genova promoviert. In ihrer Dissertation „La fortuna del Droit des gens di Emer de Vattel nel XIX secolo“ setzte sie sich mit dem Werk Emer de Vattels, einem bedeutenden Natur- und Völkerrechtler im 18. Jahrhundert, auseinander. Prof. Fiocchi Malaspinas Forschungsinteresse an der Geschichte des internationalen Völkerrechts brachte sie u.A.  als Visiting postdoctoral fellow an die Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (Oslo), wo sie an dem Projekt „The transformation of international law and Norwegian sovereignty in 1814“ arbeitete. Weitere Forschungsaufenthalte an den Universitäten in Helsinki, Bergen und Oxford folgten daraufhin.  Zudem war Prof. Fiocchi Malaspina mehrmals Stipendiatin des Max-Planck-Instituts für Europäische Rechtsgeschichte in Frankfurt am Main, bis sie 2017 als Assistenzprofessorin an die Universität Zürich kam.

Prof. Dr. Michael Peachin ist Professor für Altphilologie an der New York University. Momentan arbeitet Michael Peachin an drei Buchprojekten: «A History of the Roman Empire from Augustus to Diocletian», «A Roman World of Abuse» und «The Legal Culture of Augustan Rome». Seine Karriere begann Michael Peachin im Fach Frühgeschichte an der University of Indiana, gefolgt von einem einjährigen Forschungsaufenthalt in Bonn und späterer Tätigkeit an der Columbia University. An letzter Station fertigte er auch seine Dissertation mit dem Titel «Roman Imperial Titulare and Chronology, A. D. 235-284». Das Dissertationsprojekt entstand, so Peachin, auf einem umständlichen Weg über ein Werk Plinius des Jüngeren: Am Ende stand die Erkenntnis, dass die wichtigste Quelle für eine Chronologie des 3. Jh. n. Chr. der Codex Iustinianus mit seinen datierten kaiserlichen Reskripten ist. Seit diesem Zeitpunkt ist Prof. Peachins primäres Forschungsinteresse das Römische Recht und insbesondere dessen Auswirkungen auf das antike Alltagsleben.

More information here

CONFERENCE: Genocide, Mass Violence & International Justice after 1919 (17-19 April 2020, Berlin)

We learned of an international conference on genocide, mass violence and international justice after 1919 in Berlin.

The Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919. That summer marked the beginning of two contrasting historical developments. One movement that gathered momentum advocated for peaceful international solutions and justice and for the rescue of the victims, especially those of the Armenian Genocide and other mass atrocities. First steps of international justice were debated, the first High Commission for Refugees was created by the League of Nations. On the other hand, a contrasting moment set the ideological foundations of the worst atrocities the century was yet to experience.
In this regard, the conference sits at the intersection of two burgeoning fields of historical inquiry: the history of humanitarianism and international justice, on the one hand, and the history of political violence and radical political ideology in the interwar period, on the other. It aims to explore how these contrasting movements were affected by the atrocities of World War I and by the Treaties that ended the war (from Versailles to Lausanne), and what part they eventually played in political thinking in Europe.

Day One 17/4
Welcome Remarks
Nicolas Tavitian - AGBU Europe
Rolf Hosfeld - Lepsiushaus Potsdam
"No peace to end all violence": Nationalism, Imperialism and Internationalism after 1919"

Day Two 18/4
Panel 1: Atrocities Against Civilians and the Rise of Humanitarian Movements
Chair: Nicolas Tavitian (AGBU Europe)
9.00 - 10.30
Melanie Tanielian (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor): Violence, Aid and Non-State Actors: Humanitarian Intervention in Nineteenth-Century Anatolia
Charlie Laderman (King's College London): The Anglo-American Struggle to Save the Armenians and Remake Global Order
10.30 - 11.00
Coffee break
11.00 - 12.30
Hilmar Kaiser (Yerevan State University): The Armenian Origins of the Near East Relief
Roy Knocke (Lepsiushaus Potsdam): Fridtjof Nansen: The Plight of Statelessness as an International Challenge
12.30 - 13.30
Lunch break
Panel 2: Post-Versailles Europe
Chair: Rolf Hosfeld (Lepsiushaus Potsdam)
13.30 - 15.00
Hans-Lukas Kieser (University of Newcastle, Australia): Mass Violence - the Elephant in the Room at the Conference of Lausanne
Momme Schwarz (Simon Dubnow Institute, Leipzig): Jewish Minority Protection during the Interwar Period - The Comité des délégations juives and the Schwarzbard Trial
15.00 - 15.30
Coffee break
15.30 - 17.00
Chalak Kaveh (Volda University College): The Apex of European Traditional «Gypsy policy» in the Interwar Period – A History of Policy Radicalization
Stefan Ihrig (University of Haifa): Learning from the Turks - Interwar Germany, the Nazis and the Quest for Violent Solutions
17.00 - 20.00
Visit of the exhibition "Johannes Lepsius and the Armenian Genocide" at the Lepsiushaus in Potsdam

Day Three 19/4
Panel 3: The Origins of International Justice
Chair: Ronald G. Suny (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)
9.30 - 11.00
Gurgen Petrossian (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg): The Impact of the Istanbul Experience on International Criminal Justice
Hülya Adak (Sabanci University/Free University of Berlin): Andrei N. Mandelstam and the History of Human Rights between the World Wars
11.00 - 11.30
Coffee break
11.30 - 12.30
Edita Gzoyan (Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute, Yerevan):
Violence against Women and Children
in the Context of the Development
of International Law
12.30 - 13.30
Lunch break

Panel 4: Remembrance and Transnational Justice in the 20th & 21st Century
Chair: Roy Knocke (Lepsiushaus Potsdam)
13.30 - 15.30
Fatma Müge Göçek (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor): The Complexity
of Denialism in Turkey during the Interwar Period
Gerd Hankel (Hamburg Foundation for the Promotion of Science and Culture, HSFWK): The Relationship between International Criminal Justice and Remembrance
Michael B. Elm (Tel Aviv University/Free University of Berlin): Remembering the Great War in the Middle East. Constructing Cultural Trauma in Aljazeera (English) Documentaries
15.30 - 16.00
Coffee break
Concluding Panel
16.00 - 17.30
Rolf Hosfeld (Lepsiushaus Potsdam), Ronald G. Suny (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) and other conference participants

More info here

CONFERENCE: Legal Diversity and Regional Encounters: Plural Understandings of Law in Localised Contexts (19-20 October 2020, Helsinki) (DEADLINE: 15 April 2020)

We learned of a call for papers for an international conference in Helsinki on “Legal Diversity and Regional Encounters: Plural Understandings of Law in Localised Contexts”. Here the call:

The Faculty of Law in cooperation with Aleksanteri Institute of the University of Helsinki is pleased to announce the annual conference under the Development of Russian Law research project, which will take place in Helsinki on October 19-20, 2020. This conference continues the series of workshops, seminars, and conferences originated in legal scholarship on Russian law, organized by the Faculty of Law since 2008.

Current debates around legal pluralism focus on a variety of legal issues. The nexus of international, transnational, regional, domestic, or local levels of legal regulation questions the clearly defined spaces of law. The conception of domestic law or international law as a single realm has long been challenged in legal and transdisciplinary scholarship due to multiple and constantly incoming and outcoming influences. Law becomes a mixture of many things; it becomes a fluid institution that counter-intuitively changes as it is being practiced and rarely remains set in stone.

Legal diversity refers to the idea that in any one space of law there is more than one regulation or even more than just one legal system. The conference will explore legal pluralism by discussing factors that lead to legal diversity and plural sites of norm-production. It follows in the lengthy tradition of law/society relation and reconceptualization and examines several aspects of legal diversity focusing on the relationship between the empirical facts of pluralism and its conceptual foundations. Furthermore, we plan to define how international comparative experiences are relevant to legal-societal analysis and discuss in detail the multiple possible connections among different sites of law-making, practice, and experience.

A point of departure for this conference is its previous focus on Russia and the Russian law. As we intend to broaden the scope of the conference, we look at geographical location as one possible way to approach diversity. How does space define law? How does international community “view” certain spaces? What are the venues of legal diversity when we concentrate our attention on a geographical location? How does the very notion of space is also re-defined by diverse practices of law? In these endeavours we open the debates about legal pluralism beyond geopolitical space of Russia and invite scholars who work in other regions across the Globe from South and Eastern Europe to the Americas, from South-East Asia to Africa.

Legal systems are constantly interacting with each another, and in so doing, re-defining each other. Various schools of thought on legal diversity have studied such interactions under the banner of legal anthropology, systems theory, global legal pluralism, and others. Their commonality is the identification of legal practice as a procedure shaped through interactions among multiple legal orders. In the current moment of increased populist tendencies and re-emergent nationalisms, it is even more salient to re-visit the question of legal diversity.

We encourage submissions of individual papers and full panels in the following themes and beyond:

·         legal diversity as representing a multitude of differences that exists at the micro and macro levels to make social, cultural and legal models heterogeneous;
·         political and legal geographies;
·         postcolonial/colonial spaces;
·         topics that focus on and encompass different characteristics such as race, age, creed, national origin, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation and so on;
·         plurality of legal ontologies and resulting traditions/cultures;
·         comparative legal practice, legal transplants or legal ‘borrowing’ and hybrids;
·         comparative studies of law in diverse societies;
·         plural legal systems in same localities;
·         studies of resistance to international human rights norms;
·         mobilisation against equality;
·         local traditions vs legal norms;
·         queering law / queering legal studies;
·         legal pluralism and marriage equality;
·         asylum process and legal diversity;
·         race, ethnicity and law.

We welcome legal researchers from across disciplines to join our discussions of current issues in legal studies and law. We especially encourage younger scholars and graduate students to apply.
The working language of the conference is English. All presentations and discussions are held in this language.

The proposals shall be submitted by 15 April 2020 via online submission system:

If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Elena Cirkovic ( or Prof. Marianna Muravyeva  (


(image source: AHFD)

Our colleagues of the AHFD published an obituary of Henri Legohérel, legal historian. He is the author of a general summary on the history of international law (Histoire du droit international public, PUF, 1996) in the well-known Que-sais-je ? series of the Presses universitaires de France. For an overview of the rich publication list (notably on the history of public law, maritime history and the history of economics), we refer to the obituary.

(source: AHFD/ESILHIL)

25 February 2020

BOOK PRESENTATION: Filippo Maria Renazzi, Università e cultura a Roma tra Settecento e Ottocento - presentazione del volume, Roma 5 marzo 2020


Tavola rotonda in occasione della presentazione del volume a cura di M.R. Di Simone, C. Frova, P. Alvazzi del Frate.

Università Roma Tre, Dip. di Giurisprudenza – via Ostiense 161 Roma
Giovedì 5 marzo 2020 – ore 15 - Sala del Consiglio (1 piano)

More information here

WORKSHOP: Tax evasion, tax avoidance and tax resistance in historical perspective (26-27 March 2020, Frankfurt)

We learned of a workshop on tax evasion, tax avoidance and tax resistance in historical perspective at the Goethe Universität Frankfurt.

States have always relied on their subjects’ or citizens’ mandatory contributions to cover the costs of public expenditures. Besides warlike occupation and exploitation, such duties, fees or taxes were often regulated by law, similar forms of binding norms and rules, or social pressure.

At the same time, tacit refusal or open resistance to paying public charges can be observed in different periods of history, types of societies, political formations and places, sometimes even leading to revolutionary transformation. The aim of our cross-epochal and interdisciplinary workshop is not, however, a history of revolutions starting from tax revolts. Rather, we want to examine the different practices and forms of withholding and avoiding personal and financial duties, fees and taxes over time and among different social, professional and other groups. This includes, on the one hand, open and organized tax resistance on moral, economic and political grounds, challenging the existing legal or political order and claiming more or a different form of tax justice and redistribution, or a modification of how taxes are collected. In these cases, personal or financial duties were often seen as a form of humiliation and a marker of subordinated status. On the other hand, taxes and duties were often not resisted publically but rather avoided or evaded in secret. These terms refer to notions that distinguish between legal practices of lowering the intended burden and thus saving taxes or fees, and maneuvers that were classified as illegal or criminal. Such categorizations, though, depend on changing moral and legal perceptions and/or on class-related negotiating power.

The conference program can be found here

More info here

24 February 2020

SEMINAR SERIES: Conférences de droit romain - Cycle 2019-2020, du mardi 3 mars 2020 au jeudi 2 avril 2020

Conférences de droit romain

Mardi 3 mars 2020
17h30: Actio funeraria et la protection des intérêts du défunt en droit romain classique 
M. Franz-Stefan Meissel, Professeur à l'Université de Vienne

Mardi 17 mars 2020
17h30: The Institutes of Gaius : History of a Text 
M. Mario Varvaro, Professeur à l'Università degli Studi di Palermo

Jeudi 26 mars 2020
17h30: Les chrétiens et la damnatio ad bestias: stéréotypes anciens et modernes d'un supplice romain 
Mme Hélène Ménard, Maître de conférences à l'Université Paul Valéry de Montpellier

Jeudi 2 avril 2020
17h30 : Magistrats et institutions dans les communautés italiques à l'époque pré-romaine (IVe-Ier siècles av. J.-C.). État de la recherche 
Mme Loredana Cappelletti, Maître de conférences à l'Université de Vienne

More information here

JOB: Associate Professorship in History, with an established track record in early modern history (Oxford: Oxford University, DEADLINE 27 MAR 2020)

(image source:

Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford
The University is seeking to appoint an Associate Professor in History with an established research record in the early modern period. The post will be held in the Department for Continuing Education, University of Oxford, with a Fellowship at Kellogg College.
The successful candidate must have a doctorate in history or a cognate field. You will have demonstrable experience of teaching and organising history or cognate programmes at university level and a proven record of research and publication. You will have academic leadership ability, dynamism and an innovative spirit, together with the ability to bring to the post a strategic vision for the development of the subject area.
You will be teaching on a range of programmes, including the Foundation Certificate in History and, at graduate level, you will teach on the Postgraduate Certificate in Historical Studies and the Master of Studies in Historical Studies, for which you will also be a dissertation supervisor. In addition, you will be expected to offer research supervision for students working on early modern topics.
You will be expected to serve as course director for the above courses, in rotation with other members of academic staff, and to contribute to organising and leading day and weekend events on topics in the early modern period
The Department for Continuing Education is the leading Continuing Education department in the UK. Committed to public engagement, the Department is multidisciplinary and encourages interdisciplinary teaching and research.
Associate Professors may apply for the title of full Professor in annual exercises. In exceptional cases, the title of full Professor may be awarded on appointment with an additional salary payment of £2,804 p.a.
Applications should include a covering letter, application form, curriculum vitae including a list of principal publications and the names of three referees.
Applications should be received by 12.00 noon on 27 March 2020. Interviews are scheduled for 21 April 2020.

Call For Nominations: American Society for Legal History Stein Award

From M. C. Mirow, Professor of Law, Chair, Peter Gonville Stein Book Award Committee, F.I.U. College of Law

Peter Gonville Stein Book Award
American Society for Legal History

The Peter Gonville Stein Book Award is awarded annually for the best book in non-US legal history written in English. This award is designed to recognize and encourage the further growth of fine work in legal history that focuses on all regions outside the United States, as well as global and international history. To be eligible, a book must be published during the previous calendar year. Announced at the annual meeting of the ASLH, this honor includes a citation on the contributions of the work to the broader field of legal history. A book may only be considered for the Stein Award, the Reid Award, or the Cromwell Book Prize. It may not be nominated for more than one of these three prizes.

The Stein Award is named in memory of Peter Gonville Stein, BA, LLB (Cantab); PhD (Aberdeen); QC; FBA; Honorary Fellow, ASLH, and eminent scholar of Roman law at the University of Cambridge, and made possible by a generous contribution from an anonymous donor.

Last year, Khaled Fahmy won the award for In Quest of Justice: Islamic Law and Forensic Medicine in Modern Egypt, and Rohit De received honorable mention for A People’s Constitution: The Everyday Life of Law in the Indian Republic.

For the 2020 prize, the Stein Award Committee will accept nominations of any book (not including textbooks, critical editions, and collections of essays) that bears a copyright date of 2019 as it appears in the printed version of the book. Translations into English may be nominated, provided they are published within two years of the publication date of the original version.

Nominations for the Stein Award (including self-nominations) should be submitted by March 16, 2020. Please send an e-mail to the Committee at and include: (1) a curriculum vitae of the author (including the author’s e-mail address); and (2) the name, mailing address, e-mail address, and phone number of the contact person at the press who will provide the committee with two copies of the book. This person will be contacted shortly after the deadline. If a title is short-listed, five additional copies will be requested from the publisher.

Please contact the committee chair, Matthew C. Mirow, with any questions at

21 February 2020

JOB : Lecturer at the Université Catholique de l'Ouest (deadline 30 MARCH 2020)

(Source : UCO)

RESUME : The Université Catholique de l'Ouest (France) is hiring a "Maître de conférences" (eq. Lecturer) to teach legal history (especially French legal history).



CONTACT : Association StYves/ UCO – DRH - 3, Place André Leroy – BP 10808 - 49008 ANGERS Cedex 01 ou

BOOK: Richard CULLEN, Hong Kong Constitutionalism : The British Legacy and the Chinese Future (London: Routledge, 2019). ISBN 9781138320130, £96.00

(Source: Routledge)

Routledge is publishing a new book on the history of Hong Kong constitutionalism.


Hong Kong is widely regarded as an exemplar of authoritarian jurisdictions with a positive history of adhering to Rule of Law shaped governance systems. British Hong Kong provides a remarkable story of the effective development and consolidation of such a system, which has continued to apply since 1997 when it became the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) within the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

This book adopts a fresh approach in examining the evolution of Hong Kong’s political-legal experience. It establishes that these prominent governance achievements were built on particular British constitutional foundations forged over many centuries. The work shows how the analysis of the British theorist Albert Dicey and, in particular, `Diceyan Constitutionalism’ was fundamental, within the pivotal context of `Chinese Familism’, in shaping the development of governance institutions and operational procedures within the new British Colony.

It discusses how Hong Kong’s system of Authoritarian Legality has come to pass. Exploring the essence of that system, the study probes how thoroughly it has been stress-tested, not least in 2019, and how well it may be placed to cope with tests yet to come. It also analyzes Hong Kong–Beijing relations and the long-term prospects for the HKSAR within the PRC based on a balanced contemporary assessment of China’s exceptional One Party State.


Richard Cullen is a Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Law, University of Hong Kong. He first began working in Hong Kong in 1991. His research interests are in Public Law, Taxation Law, Comparative Law, Fundamentals of the Common Law, and Media Law. He has published extensively on these and related areas.

More info here

20 February 2020

BOOK: Valentina VADI, War and Peace. Alberico Gentili and the Early Modern Law of Nations [Legal History Library, 37/Studies in the History of International Law, vol. 14 ed. Randall LESAFFER] (Leiden/Boston: Martinus Nijhoff/Brill, MAY 2020), 596 p. ISBN 9789004345249, € 160

(image source: Wikimedia Commons)

Book abstract:
In War and Peace, Valentina Vadi investigates Alberico Gentili’s contribution to the development of the early modern law of nations. Gentili discussed issues that remain topical today, including the clash of civilizations, the conduct of war, and the maintenance of peace.

(source: Brill)
(source: ESILHIL)

19 February 2020

BOOK: Leonard Francis TAYLOR, Catholic Cosmopolitanism and Human Rights (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020). ISBN 9781108486125, £ 85.00

(Source: CUP)

Cambridge University Press is publishing a new book on catholic cosmopolitanism and human rights.


It is because Catholicism played such a formative role in the construction of Western legal culture that it is the focal point of this enquiry. The account of international law from its origin in the treaties of Westphalia, and located in the writing of the Grotian tradition, had lost contact with another cosmopolitan history of international law that reappeared with the growth of the early twentieth century human rights movement. The beginnings of the human rights movement, grounded in democratic sovereign power, returned to that moral vocabulary to promote the further growth of international order in the twentieth century. In recognising this technique of periodically returning to Western cosmopolitan legal culture, this book endeavours to provide a more complete account of the human rights project that factors in the contribution that cosmopolitan Catholicism made to a general theory of sovereignty, international law and human rights.


Leonard Francis TaylorNational University of Ireland, Galway
Leonard Taylor is a graduate of the Irish Centre for Human Rights in National University of Ireland, Galway, where he lectures in human rights law. He is also an assistant lecturer at the Institute of Technology, Sligo.


1. Catholic cosmopolitan and the birth of human rights
2. Catholic cosmopolitanism from the centre to the periphery
3. Catholic cosmopolitanism from the periphery to international concern
4. Locating a modern Christian cosmopolitanism
5. An imperfect cosmopolitan project

More info here

18 February 2020

BOOK PRESENTATION: Presentatione del volume "Breve storia degli italiani in Cina" di Stefano Beltrame. Università di Trento - Facoltà di Giurisprudenza, 24 febbraio 2020

Luogo: Palazzo di Giurisprudenza, via Verdi 53 (Trento) - Sala Conferenze
Ore: 11.00-13.00

Saluti istituzionali:
Fulvio Cortese, Preside della Facoltà di Giurisprudenza, Università degli Studi di Trento

Ivan Cardillo, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, Università degli Studi di Trento

Ne discutono:
Giuseppe Nesi, Università degli Studi di Trento
Riccardo Zandonini, Centro Studi Martino Martini

Interviene l’Autore:
Stefano Beltrame, Ministro Plenipotenziario Ministero degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale

BOOK : Michael SONENSCHER, Jean-Jacques Rousseau - The Division of Labour, The Politics of the Imagination and The Concept of Federal Government (Leiden-New York: Brill, 2020). ISBN 978-90-04-39214-4

(Source: Brill)

Brill is publishing a new book on the political thought of Jean-Jacques Rousseau.


This is a book about the political thought of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Its aim is to explain why, for Rousseau, thinking about politics – whether as democratic sovereignty, representative government, institutionalised power, imaginative vision or a moment of decision – lay at the heart of what he called his “grand, sad system.” This book tracks the gradual emergence of the various components of that system and describes the connections between them. The result is a new and fresh interpretation of one of Europe’s most famous political thinkers, showing why Rousseau can be seen as one of the first theorists of the modern concept of civil society and a key source of the problematic modern idea of a federal system.


Michael Sonenscher is a Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge. He is the author of Before the Deluge and Sans-Culottes: An Eighteenth-Century Emblem in the French Revolution, as well as the editor of Sieyès: Political Writings.


Abbreviations Used in Footnotes and a Note on Citations

1 Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the Marvellous in Life
 1 The Power of Prose
 2 Rousseau and Burke
 3 An Elusive System
 4 The Problem of Unity
 5 A Cumulative Process
 6 The Mystery of Federalism

2 The Fénelon Problem
 1 The Many Dimensions of Reform
 2 Rousseau and Montesquieu
 3 Markets, Politics and Reform
 4 Rousseau and the Fénelon Problem

3 The Division of Labour and the Political Economy of the General Will
 1 Population and Subsistence Goods
 2 Perfectibility, Autonomy and the Idea of a Federal Government
 3 The Social Contract
 4 Gradated Promotion and the General Will
 5 Taxation and Representation
 6 The Federal Dimension of Rousseau’s Thought

4 The Politics of the Imagination
 1 The Language of Signs
 2 The Origins of the Imagination
 3 The Genealogy of Love
 4 The Imagination and the Social Contract

5 Conscience and the Structure of Federal Government
 1 A Simulacrum of Virtue
 2 The Origins of Conscience
 3 The Power of Enchantment

6 Rousseau’s Legacy
 1 Theodicies and Their Properties
 2 From Metapolitics to Civil Society
 3 Theories of the Political State
 4 Lorenz von Stein
 5 Rudolf von Jhering
 6 The Concept of Sovereignty
 7 Otto von Gierke
 8 Epilogue: the Jean-Jacques Rousseau Problem in Historical Context


More info here

17 February 2020

LECTURE SERIES: E-Lectures program 2019-2020, I-HILT, Institute for the History of International Law - Tilburg Law School

(Source: I-HILT )

I-HILT, Institute for the History of International Law @ Tilburg is a group of researchers from the Department of Public Law and Governance at Tilburg Law School, the Netherlands. The group is responsible for teaching several classes on the subject of the history of international law and relations, next to other legal history subjects. I-HILT organizes a series of lectures on the history of international law at the Tilburg Law School.

In the academic year 2019-2020, the I-HILT institute will continue its series of E-lectures. Please feel welcome to attend any of them in real life. Alternatively, you can watch the recording afterwards on this page. The full program and information about the speakers can be found here

A short overview of forthcoming lectures:

27 February 2020, 11:00-12:00, CubeZ 222
Maurits den Hollander, Tilburg University
'Insolvency and Economic Misfortune in 17th Century Amsterdam'

12 March 2020, 11:00 -12:00, CubeZ 222
Dr. Ingo Venzke, University of Amsterdam
'Situating Contingency: How International Law Could Have Been'

26 March 2020, 11:00 to 12:00, CubeZ 222
Remko Mooi, Tilburg University
'Protecting the Foreign Creditor: International Insolvency Procedures in Early Modern Frankfurt am Main'

Each lecture will be 40 minutes accompanied by a question and answer period of 20 minutes. Come to one of the lectures (see program above) or simply stream it here!

More information here

PAPERS: SSRN Research Paper Series of University of Milano-Bicocca School of Law

The Università degli Studi di Milano - Bicocca has resently publish some papers of legal history importance at its SSRN research paper series: 

Polish Memory Laws and Historical Identity in Europe: Analysing the Defence of 'Disinformation' (Uladzislau Belavusau)

Neither Secular State nor Laical Republic? Legal Position of Religious Communities in Communist Yugoslavia – Legal Framework Analysis (Marko Božić)


16 February 2020

CALL FOR PAPERS, Approches épistémologique et historiographique du droit criminel. Jalons pour une histoire intellectuelle du droit pénal, (Université de Bordeaux), 2 October 2020.

(Source : Université de Bordeaux)

WHEN : Wednesday 2 October 2020

APPLICATION DEADLINE : 26 February 2020 

WHERE : Université de Bordeaux

TOPIC : This symposium aims to promote legal criminal thought and discussing about "an intellectual history of criminal law".



1) Envoi et sélection : Les propositions (500 mots maximum) devront nous parvenir au plus tard le 26 avril 2020 à l’adresse
suivante : . Vous serez recontacté.e.s fin mai 2020.
2) Financement : Les participant.e.s sélectionné.e.s seront défrayé.e.s pour le transport et le logement (le cas échéant), et ce dans les limites du budget du colloque.
3) Publication : Les actes de cette journée feront, en principe, l’objet d’une publication dans une revue — sous réserve d'acceptation par son comité de lecture.
4) Présentation : Ce colloque est organisé par Alexandre FRAMBÉRY-IACOBONE et Marine VETTER, doctorant.e.s contractuel.le.s de l’Université de Bordeaux ; il bénéficie du soutien structurel et scientifique de l’Institut de Recherche Montesquieu (IRM-CAHD — Université de Bordeaux), du Centre d’Études et de Recherche sur la Diplomatie, l’Administration publique et le Politique (CERDAP2 — Université de Grenoble Alpes), et du Centre d’Histoire et d’Anthropologie du Droit (CHAD — Université Paris Nanterre).

-Antonio AMALFITANO, Docteur en droit (université de Bordeaux) & Docteur en Sciences   politiques (Università Federico II di Napoli) ;
- Jérôme FERRAND, Maître de conférences, Université de Grenoble Alpes ;
- Nader HAKIM, Professeur, Université de Bordeaux ;
- Jean-Louis HALPÉRIN, Professeur, ENS ;
- Martine KALUSZYNSKI, Directrice de recherche CNRS, Pacte ;
- Marie MANIKIS, Professeure, McGill University ;
- Massimo MECCARELLI, Professeur, Università di Macerata ;
- Annamaria MONTI, Professeure, Università Bocconi ;
- Mathieu SOULA, Professeur, Université Paris Nanterre.