Saving the nation’s memory bank – an open letter to the Prime Minister

Many of our members are no doubt aware of the devastating funding cuts that the government has made to the budget for the National Archives of Australia, which place the nation’s heritage at serious risk.

Recently many in the historical community signed an open letter to the Prime Minister on the issue, which you can read here – https://origin.go.theaustralian.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Open-Letter.pdf

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Seminar – John Locke, Treaties and the Two Treatises of Government

Join the VUW History Programme and VUW Faculty of Law for a special co-hosted webinar by Professor David Armitage (Harvard University) on “John Locke, Treaties and the Two Treatises of Government”:

When: Friday 28th May, 8:30am – 10am (Wellington)

            Friday 28th May, 6:30am – 8am (Sydney)

            Thursday 27th May, 9:30pm – 11pm (London)

Chair: Dr Valerie Wallace (VUW History)

Comment: Prof Mark Hickford and Prof Campbell McLachlan (VUW Law)

Register here: https://vuw.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_5scedy6qSJWzy44OJ-ByrQ


‘From the beginning of his public career almost to the end of his life, John Locke participated in a burgeoning contemporary culture of treaties. His lifetime almost exactly coincided with the emergence of a public culture of treaties in the late seventeenth century, exemplified by the proliferation of treaty collections, treaty prints and even treaty music. His early secretarial career involved him directly in treaty negotiations; his later administrative activities, especially in relation to English colonisation, regularly engaged him with treaty provisions. This paper argues that Locke’s fifty-year interest in treaties and treaty-making can help to explain one of the enduring puzzles of his Second Treatise of Government: that is, why he separated the powers of government between the executive, the legislative and what he called, in a near-neologism, the “Federative,” or “the Power of War and Peace, Leagues and Alliances, and all the Transactions, with all Persons and Communities without the Commonwealth”. It concludes by inferring how Locke would have imagined that power, based on his decades-long knowledge and experience of the federative in practice.’


DAVID ARMITAGE is the Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History at Harvard University and an Affiliated Faculty Member at Harvard Law School. A prize-winning writer and teacher, he is the author or editor of eighteen books, among them Civil Wars: A History in Ideas (Knopf, 2017), Foundations of Modern International Thought (Cambridge UP, 2013), The Declaration of Independence: A Global History (Harvard UP, 2007) and The Ideological Origins of the British Empire (2000). He is currently completing an edition of John Locke’s colonial writings for the Clarendon Press.

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Third Legal Histories of Empire Symposium with Saheed Aderinto, Thaïs Gendry and Stacey Hynd

Join us for the third Legal Histories of Empire symposium!

Our speakers:

Professor Saheed Aderinto,“Let Us Be Kind to Our Dumb Friends”: The Imperial Root of Animal Cruelty Laws in Colonial Nigeria

Animal cruelty legislations were rooted in the affirmation that the level of civilization of a people can be measured by how they treat lower creatures. It was also rooted in contradictory notions of rights and justice for all colonial subjects—humans and non-humans. In colonial courts, cases of animal cruelty expanded the domain of punishment, and gave uncommon agency to animals to receive “justice” for human contravention on their “rights.” The ideas of “rights” and “justice” for imperial animals, I argued, turned them into colonial subjects, whose lives and wellness must be protected from other colonial subjects, that is, humans.

Saheed Aderinto is Professor of African History at Western Carolina University. He has published 8 books, including Animality and Colonial Subjecthood in Africa: The Human and Nonhuman Creatures of Nigeria (Ohio University Press, forthcoming 2021).

Dr Thaïs Gendry and Dr Stacey Hynd, Punishing Female Murderers in British and French Colonial African Territories, c.1920-40s

What drove colonial societies to prosecute, sentence and sometimes execute African women? Comparing court records across British and French territories in Africa shows divergent policing choices and law enforcement strategies, all-the-while highlighting striking similarities in their combination of gender and racial bias – that declared African women doubly irresponsible of their violent acts – which translated into a generous mercy policy. Yet, in all territories, the full severity of the law was unleashed onto women when their crime was understood to hold a specifically anti-modern component in the motive or the method (ritualistic or cannibalistic crimes, crimes against Christians). This presentation will explore the pendular movement between colonials’ benevolent mercy with regards to “unimportant” domestic female criminality, and extreme exemplary punishment against women in the name of the “civilizing mission”.

Thaïs Gendry recently completed her PhD on the use of death penalty in French West Africa. She is now working on a postdoctoral project that examines the discourses and policies surrounding death penalty across the French Empire (Caribbean, Indochina, French equatorial Africa). The ambition of this research is to illuminate both the shared foundation of colonial state violence and the specificities of its use in different colonial contexts. She is currently teaching colonial and African history at the Universidad de Buenos Aires and the Universidad de Quilmes.

Stacey Hynd completed her D.Phil in Modern History as an AHRC/Beit Research Scholar at the University of Oxford in 2008, with her thesis on capital punishment in British colonial Africa. She then lectured in African and World History at the University of Cambridge, before moving to Exeter where she is Senior Lecturer in African History and co-Director of the Centre for Imperial & Global History. She has published on murder, capital punishment, criminal justice, domestic violence, juvenile delinquency, and forced labour in colonial history, focusing primarily on Ghana, Kenya and Malawi. Her current research projects focus on global and African histories of child soldiering, and histories of humanitarianism in Africa.

Register here via Eventbrite and check your time zone below for the event date and time.

Zoom information will be emailed to you 48 hours before the event begins.

Timezones:

Calgary @ noon, Thursday June 10, 2021

Raleigh, NC @ 2pm, Thursday June 10, 2021

Buenos Aires @ 3 pm, Thursday June 10, 2021

London @ 7 pm, Thursday June 10, 2021

Lagos @ 7 pm, Thursday June 10, 2021

Sydney @ 4 am, Friday June 11, 2021

Wellington @ 6am, Friday June 11, 2021

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Call for Papers – Arbiters of Justice: Historical Studies of Southern Queensland Lawgivers

The Colloquium: The Law, Religion, and Heritage Research Program Team at the University of Southern Queensland is hosting a colloquium titled Arbiters of Justice: Historical Studies of Southern Queensland Lawgivers.

Date: 26 November 2021

Venue: USQ Ipswich Campus, Room I-109

Note: Physical attendance is warmly encouraged, but a Zoom option will be available.

Invitation: Academics, members of the legal community, local historians, and anyone with an interest in the topic are invited to participate. The colloquium’s reference to “lawgivers” is intended broadly to encompass a wide range of people responsible for making and administering the law, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders, colonial governors, and notable jurists. The link these individuals have to southern Queensland can take different forms, and will also be interpreted flexibly. Contributions may include biographical studies, analyses of important decisions, reflections on the role that religion or spirituality played in the lawgiver’s life, and more.

What is required to participate? Presentations should be 15-20 minutes to duration, with time for questions to follow after. Presentations should be supported by a completed paper or work-in-progress suitable for distribution to other participants. Should sufficient numbers of quality papers be received, the opportunity to contribute to an edited collection may become available after the colloquium.

Are you interested in contributing? Please register your interest in presenting at the colloquium by contacting Dr. Jeremy Patrick , Convenor of the Law, Religion, and Heritage Research Program Team. You are asked to submit a short (100-250 word) precis of your planned presentation by 1 October 2021. Are you interested in attending? Please RSVP with Dr Jeremy Patrick by 1 October 2021. There is no cost to attend.

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Call For Papers: Legal Histories of Empire Conference

Third Legal Histories of Empire Conference

Beyond the Pale: Legal Histories on the Edges of Empires

Maynooth University, 29 June-1 July 2022

Empires. Plural. Across time and across the globe, interconnected, mutually constitutive. We invite papers which consider the interconnections and the legal relations between empires. The conference will particularly focus on the role played by law (broadly defined) in facilitating, constituting, and enabling these connections; on the people of law who moved between these places; and the institutions which bound them together. How might we map Empires through these connections? How do we now conceptualise such movement, and are there new ways in which we could envisage legal interchange across time and place? Of particular interest are the connections between places with very different legal systems and traditions. How can we better bring together the efforts of historians working in different legal traditions? In this third Legal Histories of Empires conference we hope to more deeply uncover the legal threads that bound different empires, places, laws and legal traditions across the globe.

Keynote Panel: Jane Ohlmeyer, Richard J Ross, Philip Stern: ‘Anglicisation of and through law in British America, Ireland, and India, c.1550-1800’

Abstracts to conference2022@lhbe.org or the relevant stream by 31 October 2021. Acceptances will be sent in late November 2021.

The organisers are not able to provide funding for travel. However, the Max Planck Institute has generously offered scholarships for scholars from the Global South. The information on these is on the website (lhbe.org) and applicants should follow the instructions on that site.

Format: Face to Face with provision for virtual presentations and attendance. Please indicate on your abstract whether your participation is contingent on the availability of online participation.

Individual papers: If you are submitting an individual paper, please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words.

Panels (of no more than 4 speakers: a chair and/or commentator can be included): If you are submitting a panel, please submit:

  1. A panel abstract of no more than 250 words; and
  2. Individual paper abstracts of no more than 200 words.

Personal information: For each participant (presenter, chair, or commentator), please submit:

  1. Biographical details of no more than 200 words; and
  2. Where you will be in July 2022 if you are not physically in Ireland, and what timezone that place is in.

Only one proposal can be submitted per person. For streams please send to the relevant panel organiser (below). For general proposals please send to the main conference email address. No multiple submissions will be accepted.

Streams

In addition to papers and panels addressing the theme generally, the following streams will be offered. Individual paper proposals and panel proposals in the same format as above should be sent to the organisers of the relevant stream.

Intellectual Property in Empire: Prof Isabella Alexander: Isabella.Alexander@uts.edu.au

The Maritime World in Legal History: Prof Diane Kirkby: Diane.Kirkby@uts.edu.au

Indigeneity, Law and Empires: Prof Pooja Parmar: parmar@uvic.ca

Legal Transfer in the Common Law World: Prof Stefan Vogenauer and Dr Donal Coffey: vogenauer@lhlt.mpg.de

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TRACE Award winner announced

Congratulations to Tim Calabria who has won our TRACE award for his article ‘The Bungalow and the Transformation of the “Half-Caste” category in Central Australia: Race and Law at the Limits of a Settler Colony 1914-1937’ which appeared in volume 7 issue 1 of law&history. The TRACE award (THEORY RACE and COLONIALISM ESSAY), is a prize in honour of Tracey Banivanua-Mar.

The judging committee was Professor Penny Edmonds and Dr Laura Rademaker who have written the following citation for the prize:

This engaging article makes a significant new contribution to our understanding of how racialized categories worked not only to eliminate or erase Aboriginality but were tied to the exploitation of Aboriginal labour in and around Alice Springs.  Its nuanced examination of the fluctuating and often ambiguous legal category of ‘half-caste’ was applied at the Bungalow in Central Australia reveals how the category was used not only to racialize Aboriginal people but to create a particular class of people who would fill settler colonial demands for labour. Its attentiveness to considerations of affect and emotions reveals the limited explanatory power of legal frameworks for understanding the mass institutionalisation of ‘half caste’ children. Rather, it sheds important new light on affectual encounters in this history. Through painstaking research and analytical insight, the article deftly weaves back and forth between the story of an individual caught up in these laws – Emily Geesing and her sovereign acts to escape these laws – to broad themes in the historiography, revealing how her experiences present us with important new ways to understand the logics of the settler-colonial project in Central Australia.

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CFP 40th Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society

3-4 December 2021

Faculty of Law, University of Technology Sydney

Tenuous Histories and Provable Pasts: How Legal Historians Create Knowledge

Due date: Monday 16 August 2021. Email to ANZLHS2021@uts.edu.au.

Acceptance: Acceptance will be sent by the first week of September.

Programme: The programme will be available by mid-September.

Format: Primarily face to face but with some online options for presenting and attending.

Registration: Registration will be opened later in the year. Face to face registration will be a flat fee. Options will be available for those joining remotely. We are aware of the difficulties of timezones and cost will depend on the number of sessions chosen.

Keynotes: Keynotes will be advertised in due course.

Accommodation: Options will be made available later in the year.

Further information: As further information becomes available it will be advertised on the Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society’s website: ANZLHS.org. Please sign up to receive notifications of new postings.

CFP Requirements: Papers are invited on any topic, but we particularly encourage abstracts which address the theme. Abstracts should be no more than 300 words, accompanied by short bios. Please indicate if your proposal is contingent on the availability of online participation. Panels are encouraged.

Conference Theme: Lawyers and historians have long been aware that what is considered to be knowable and provable is a product of power, history and culture. Legal and historical ‘facts’ are themselves the result of historical processes. Since the 1960s, historians have sought to redress the omissions of state archives, particularly the erasure of First Nations, non-western, queer, female and working class peoples’ perspectives through the use of alternative archives and methods. But what about legal historians? How has legal history taken on board these political challenges? Does legal history – situated in law, with its supposedly ‘more rigorous’ standards of evidence – require more traditional forms of proof than other forms of history? What do we do in our own historical practice when we encounter fragments which suggest a richer history than we can prove: hints as to connections; the roles of shadowy people; lost institutions; unknowable causes; and backstories. How should we think about these fragmentary and unknowable moments, persons, things and connections? What role do speculation and conjecture play? How should we develop theories around the tenuous in legal history? What is required to ‘evidence’ our legal histories? What precisely are the epistemological premises of legal history?

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Online Legal History Seminar by Alice Krzanich

Join the VUW History Programme for an online legal history seminar by Alice Krzanich (University of Edinburgh).


When: 9am-10:30am (NZ time), Friday 30th April


Title: ‘Servants in Scotland: An Example of Feminist Legal History’ 

Abstract: Domestic servants were a ubiquitous presence in Scottish households in the early nineteenth century, cooking, cleaning, buying groceries and looking after children. It was a workforce dominated by working-class women, who worked for masters and mistresses in middle-class homes and in aristocratic residences. The law regulated this employment relationship, setting out the responsibilities each party owed to the other and when either party could walk away from the relationship. My research seeks to understand the influence of class and gender upon this body of law, in both its application and development, in the period 1790 to 1850. It looks at a combination of formal legal doctrine; litigation strategies used by employers and servants in court; and the facts of the case, as well as damage alleged, to take a broad view of gender and class dynamics. This research is consequently an example of feminist legal history, as it seeks to understand the historical relationship between the law and a group of female workers (domestic servants) by including women’s experiences and voices while also establishing female servants as agents of legal change.  

About the speaker: Alice Krzanich is a third-year PhD student at Edinburgh Law School. She completed her undergraduate studies in law and history at the University of Auckland, NZ, and holds an LLM (First Class) from the University of Cambridge. Alice used to work in law in New Zealand, including as a junior barrister and as a judicial research clerk at the NZ Court of Appeal.  


Registerhttps://vuw.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMudeispzorGt2jlCpJ1q0Ed7NILQfvj6GP

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Discount available on book A Legal History for Australia

A Legal History for Australia by Sarah McKibbin, Libby Connors and Marcus Harmes brings together Australian history, British constitutional history and modern Australian law. It is an accessible guide for Australian law students.

The first part provides the social and political contexts for legal history in medieval and early modern England and America, explaining the English law which came to Australia in 1788. It covers topics such as the origins of the common law, growth of the legal profession, making of the Magna Carta, the impacts of the English Civil Wars and the American War of Independence, and the Bill of Rights.

The second part examines the development of the law in Australia to the present day. This includes an examination of the English criminal justice system and convict transportation, the role of the Privy Council in the 19th century, Indigenous Australia and colonisation, the federation movement, Constitutional independence, the 1967 referendum and the land rights movement.

The comprehensive coverage of several centuries is balanced by a dynamic writing style and tools to guide students through each chapter including learning outcomes, chapter outlines and discussion points.

To receive 20% off this book use the discount code LegalHistory21 at checkout when purchasing through the publisher here. The book is not yet published but is available for pre-orders.

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CALL FOR PAPERS – British Legal History Conference 2022

The 25th British Legal History Conference 2022

In association with the Irish Legal History Society

Queen’s University, Belfast

6-9 July 2022

LAW AND CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE

Abstracts are invited for the 25th BRITISH LEGAL HISTORY CONFERENCE which is being run jointly with the Irish Legal History Society and hosted by Queen’s University Belfast, on Wednesday 6 July – Saturday 9 July 2022. 

The conference was originally scheduled for 2021. Queen’s, Belfast, was given the honour of hosting the BLHC in 2021, because it is a significant year in the “Decade of Centenaries”[1] in Ireland, north and south, marking both the centenary of the opening in June 1921 of the Parliament of Northern Ireland, established under the Government of Ireland Act 1920, and the centenary of the signing of articles of agreement for the Anglo-Irish Treaty in December 1921, leading to the establishment of the Irish Free State.   The conference theme, “Law and Constitutional Change”, was chosen against this background.  The Covid-19 pandemic intervened, making postponement unavoidable. 

Organising the conference in 2022 will, however, allow us to celebrate the half-centenary of the British Legal History Conference, first held in Aberystwyth in 1972.  Our hope is that attendance at the conference can be in person, but this will be kept under review and, if necessary, the option of online attendance/participation will be considered.

Conference papers can examine from any historical perspective the relationship between law and constitutional change. The difficulty of defining constitutional change was noted by the Select Committee on the Constitution in their report, The Process of Constitutional Change (HL Paper 177, 2011, para. 10), but they identified several examples, without being exhaustive: parliamentary sovereignty; the rule of law and the rights and liberties of the individual; the union state; representative government; and state membership of international organisations, such as (then) the EU and the Commonwealth.  These are, of course, only examples and the conference theme will be interpreted in all its breadth.

In the context of present-day analysis of the political and constitutional upheavals in British-Irish relations in the early 1920s, the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, has adopted the Irish word, Machnamh, meaning reflection, contemplation, meditation and thought, for a series of online reflections – https://president.ie/en/diary/details/president-hosts-machnamh-100-event  In the spirit of Machnamh, we invite you to join the conversation on law and constitutional change in Queen’s, Belfast, in July 2022.

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Please note the following rules:

  • If you submitted an abstract in 2020, you must make a fresh submission.
  • Abstracts must be for individual papers only, not for panels. Co-authored papers are acceptable.
  • Only one abstract should be submitted per person.
  • Abstracts must be submitted as Microsoft Word documents using the online portal on the Call for Papers page of the conference website.  Please do not submit by email.
  • Abstracts must not exceed 500 words.
  • Please indicate if your proposal is contingent on the availability of an option of online participation.
  • The deadline for submission of abstracts is Monday 30 August 2021.
  • Queries can be emailed to BLHC-2022-info@qub.ac.uk    
  • At the conference, individual oral presentations will last 15-20 minutes.

We hope to publish the programme on the conference website in October 2021.  Details of plenary speakers will also appear there in due course.

Proposals from postgraduate and early career researchers are welcome.

Further information about travel to Belfast, accommodation, and so on, will be added to the conference website during 2021-2022:  https://www.qub.ac.uk/sites/BLH-Conference-2022/

Poster competition

This, the second joint BLHC – ILHS conference, was proposed by Sir Anthony Hart, retired High Court judge, former president of ILHS and enthusiastic supporter of BLHCs, who died suddenly in July 2019.  A poster competition is planned during the 2022 conference as a tribute to Tony.  There will be two prizes, including one for the PGR/early career category. The prizes are generously funded by the Journal of Legal History and by the Irish Legal History Society.  Details of the competition will be posted on the conference website. 


[1] See https://www.decadeofcentenaries.com, a website sponsored by the Irish Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and other websites linked to it.

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