CFP: Law and Empire Workshop Cambridge

We have the following CFP.

This is a general call for papers in anticipation of an intimate two-day seminar to be held at the University of Cambridge on Friday 23rd March and Saturday 24th March, 2018. This will be an advanced workshop, with drafts circulated in advance. The event will showcase a number of rare and searching attempts to identify continuities and differences across ancient, medieval, and modern legal and imperial contexts. This moves back towards Braudel while also tailing in the direction of all that heat left by David Armitage and Jo Guildi’s fiery interventions in The History Manifesto, which calls for newly ambitious historical studies to break from long-set moulds. Empire lends itself naturally to explorations of this kind using large time-frames. Not only is this due to the endurance of many empires across centuries, but this also owes to the presence (and comparability) of empires within different periods. Legal source materials are helpful for facilitating this kind of approach, whether relating to private law events or the public nature of imperium. In the right hands, legal texts, court records, official opinions, drafted constitutions and acts, along with the correspondences and commentaries relating thereto can push us to contemplate a number of bold conclusions about economics, politics, society, religiosity, and humanity in general.

Abstracts of proposals (between 200 and 500 words) will be accepted until July 31st, 2017, at PhD students and postdoctoral scholars are encouraged to include a CV with their proposal. Your proposal will be especially welcome if you anticipate to be able to share work according to the following guidelines:

  • It will extend across at least three centuries OR will otherwise offer an original reinterpretation of a more focused period with the explicit goal to allow for new studies across periodizations;
  • It will cover any period from Ancient Greece to the present day (900 BC — 2017 AD), with preference, however, shown for the period between the latter Roman Empire and the interwar period (500 AD – 1939 AD);
  • It will explore a historical topic relevant to law (broadly encompassing legal thought, legal process, public law, private law, and constitutionalism) OR empire (pertaining either to specific imperial regimes or to imperium as synonym for public authority, sovereignty, authority), with preference shown to approaches that consider BOTH;
  • It will be laid out in a thematic or chronological narrative style, or otherwise in case studies unified appropriately in conclusion.

For enquiries and submissions, please contact Dr Edward Cavanagh, at

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Early NSW Legislative Council papers online

A useful source for legal historians: the First Council. Via the NSW parliamentary site we can now look at papers from the First Legislative Council. According to the site it includes  ‘tabled papers, SMH newspaper reports of debates, and documents relating to the administration of the First Council (classified as “non-tabled papers”)’.

Hat Tip: History at Newcastle.

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AGM UTS Sydney 11 May 2017

Dear members

The society’s 2016 AGM is scheduled for 5.40pm in the Law School at University of Technology Sydney.  This is Building 5B in Room 3.18.

We strongly encourage our Sydney members and near Sydney members to attend.

UTS is conveniently situated with lots of public transport so you don’t have to deal with the Sydney peak hour.  Advice about how to get there and a campus map are available here.

A notice of constitutional amendment so we can return to our traditional practice of holding our AGMs in tandem with our annual conference, and an agenda, have been emailed to all members in the past week.

If you are a financial member and did not receive the notice please respond here or email our president,

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Announcing the latest recipient of the Sir Francis Forbes prize

Congratulations to Danielle Boaz, University of North Carolina Charlotte campus, who has been awarded the 2016 Sir Francis Forbes Prize for Australian legal history for a paper delivered at our Perth conference last December. For more information on the prize and this year’s winner see the Prizes and Scholarships page.

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New edition of law&history

A new edition of law&history is in press. The contents page is available under the ‘Journal’ tab.

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Expressions of interest in joining a law and history panel at the AHA conference July 2017

There is an opportunity to showcase the wonderful interdisciplinary work many of our members do at the Australian Historical Association conference which is to be held in Newcastle 3-7 July 2017.  The conference theme is Entangled Histories and we are keen to have some legal history-specific panels.  As the conference call for papers’ deadline is looming please send an abstract of your  proposed paper to or to by 30 March 2017.

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New work on the history of slavery

This new work may be of interest to members.

Granville Sharp’s Cases on Slavery

Andrew Lyall

The purpose of Granville Sharpe’s Cases on Slavery is twofold: first, to publish previously unpublished legal materials principally in three important cases in the 18th century on the issue of slavery in England, and specifically the status of black people who were slaves in the American colonies or the West Indies and who were taken to England by their masters. The unpublished materials are mostly verbatim transcripts made by shorthand writers commissioned by Granville Sharp, one of the first Englishmen to take up the cause of the abolition of the slave trade and slavery itself. Other related unpublished material is also made available for the first time, including an opinion of an attorney general and some minor cases from the library of York Minster.

Dr Andrew Lyall is a retired member of staff in Law at University College Dublin.

Hart Publishing are currently offering a discount to members here

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