Prizes, prizes….

For those so minded, a reminder…

Nominations for the History Council of NSW awards and prizes close Friday 31 March 2017Full details.

Nominations for the 2017 Maritime History Prizes offered by the Australian Association for Maritime History and the Australian National Maritime Museum close on Friday 28 April 2017. Full details.

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Research Assistant position, Melbourne Law School

This may be of interest to some of our post-grad members:

Applicants with a background in historical research are sought to work on a legal-historical project based at Melbourne Law School. Professor Ian Ramsay and Associate Professor Paul Ali are currently recruiting a Research Assistant to work with them on a study of bankruptcy laws in nineteenth century Australia. This study forms part of a three year ARC-funded investigation of Australia’s personal insolvency regime. More information is available.

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Fellowship Opportunity – Stanford Centre for law and history

We note the following opportunity for early career scholars. The Centre for Law and History at Stanford is calling for applications for a 2 year Fellowship. Further details are available via Stanford.

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PhD studentship opportunity at La Trobe

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship attached to the Australian Research Council Discovery Project, ‘Breaking down tradition: women in male-dominated work, 1840-2000’ (DP 160102764). Through examining the origins and circulation of ideas about women’s and men’s paid work in both Britain and Australia, the research will enhance current understandings of the enduring nature of workplace inequality. The successful candidate will work with the Chief Investigators on the project, Professor Diane Kirkby and Dr Emma Robertson, and be attached to the Archaeology and History Program of La Trobe University.

Applicants are encouraged to explore the contested and changing nature of workplace ‘tradition’ in any period of the 19th and 20th centuries with a focus on aspects of law in Britain or Australia. How did certain jobs become ‘traditional’ for men and ‘non-traditional’ for women? Proposals are particularly welcomed in the field of Indigenous women’s labour history. The studentship is funded by La Trobe at the initial rate of $26,288 p.a.

History at LTU has a reputation for research excellence sustained since its inception in 1969, with particular strengths in gender and labour history. Our vibrant research community has recently undergone a period of renewal and exciting growth. We currently host three ARC DPs, four Future Fellowships and three Linkage Grants. The successful applicant may choose to be based at either the Bundoora (Melbourne) or Bendigo campus of La Trobe.

For more information and instructions on how to apply, please contact Prof Diane Kirkby in the first instance:; tel. 03 9479 2379. The deadline for applications is 31st January 2017.

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CFP: Canada’s Legal Past: Future Directions in Canadian Legal History

We have the following call for papers. Note the key dates: Conference July 16-18 University of Calgary. CFP close February 1.

‘From July 16 to 18, 2017, the Faculties of Law and Arts at the University of Calgary will jointly host  “Canada’s Legal Past: Future Directions in Canadian Legal History,” and we are seeking expressions of interest and abstracts. Canadian legal history has come into its own in the last thirty-five years, as scholars have moved to examine law within the context of cultural, philosophical and larger historical frames. This conference will provide an opportunity to take stock of the last generation of work on Canada’s legal history and to assess what comes next, in terms of topics, methodologies, sources, and theories. The majority of the papers will be original papers on recent work, but we are also hoping to attract historiographical scholarship that will identify future topics and approaches. The anniversary of the country will inspire reflections on the longer story of northern North America. We are hoping participants will locate the historical project that was and is Canada within the larger context of empires – indigenous and European – and the world and to consider questions of law’s relationship to the tension between local and faraway influences; to gender, race and indigeneity; to state-building, trade and commerce; and to the circulation of ideas, legal, cultural, religious, economic and otherwise. This conference will also provide an opportunity for discussions of the teaching of legal history in different disciplinary contexts within the academy, as it is is hoped that scholars from a range of disciplinary homes and backgrounds – working in French and English – will take part.

Abstracts should be submitted by February 1 to Lyndsay Campbell (, but early expressions of interest would be most welcome. Please do pass this call for papers along.

Conference organizers:

  • Blake Brown, History and Atlantic Canada Studies, St. Mary’s University (
  • Lyndsay Campbell, Law and History, University of Calgary (
  • Ted McCoy, Law & Society and Sociology, University of Calgary (
  • Nicole O’Byrne, Law, University of New Brunswick (
  • Adrian Smith, Law and Legal Studies, Institute of Political Economy, and Institute of African Studies, Carleton University (’
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law&history vol. 3

Volume 3 of the Society’s journal, law&history, will soon be available. Look for it in the next couple of weeks online and hardcopies will be posted to subscribers in early December. A reminder that it is available via Heinonline and Informit, and that you can email for hardcopy subscription. As a taster, here is the table of contents and editors comments from Diane Kirkby. In addition to the articles below, there are also book reviews on a range of topics.

Table of Contents

1. Shaunnagh Dorsett: Metropolitan Theorising: Legal Frameworks, Protectorates
and Models for Māori Govenance 1837–1838

2. Renae Barker: ‘Under Most Peculiar Circumstances’: The Church Acts in the
Australian Colonies as a Study of Plural Establishment

3. Janine Pizzetti: Judging Protection: ‘The Unintentional Errors of an Unlearned Magistracy’, British Guiana and Port Phillip, 1830s–40s

4. Eugene Schofield-Georgsson: ‘Mad’ Edwin Withers and the Struggle for Fair Trial Rights in Colonial New South Wales

5. Bevan Martin: The Vice Admiralty Court of New Zealand: Imperial Neglect
and Colonial Pragmatism, 1841–1868

6. Kathy Bowery: Speaking of Us, About Us and For Us: Telling Stories About
Aboriginal Peoples From the Archive


Editor’s Comments

This is our third issue of law&history. The articles published here are a representation of  papers presented at the ANZLHS Law and History conference and other forums over the past couple of years. They demonstrate the importance of scholarship being done in this region of the world and the emergence of new scholars with an interest in the field. The concentration is on the colonial period of Australian and New Zealand history and its legacy into the late twentieth century.  They reflect a diversity of interests and approaches within the field and the continuing value of comparing colonial experience.

We are delighted for this issue to be publishing the inaugural Francis Forbes Society for Legal History Prize for the best paper presented by a postgraduate student or early-career researcher at the ANZLHS conference. Janine Rizzetti won this prize for her paper presented at the 2014 conference organised by the University of New England and held at Coffs Harbour. We are grateful to the Francis Forbes Society for supporting our new and emerging researchers in this valuable way.

True to our historical orientation, the articles are organised roughly chronologically, starting with the 1830s. In Shaunnagh Dorsett’s analysis of theories for the governance of New Zealand that offered the prospect of Māori involvement we see how historical research can illuminate moments of possibility for paths not taken. The next article moves us to the Australian colonies where Renae Barker shows how a moment of plural establishment of religion can reveal subsequent histories. Staying with the same time period Janine Rizzetti brings in a comparative perspective between colonies of the British Empire, that of Port Phillip and British Guiana, in her view through the lens of a single judge moving between colonies.

The decade of the 1840s was a critical one for the colony of New South Wales and the evolution of fair trial rights as Eugene Schofield-Georgeson demonstrates through the story of ‘Mad’ Edwin Withers. In his focus on New Zealand’s experience of the admiralty jurisdiction Bevan Martin takes us into a new area of colonial legal history and reminds us that identifying the absences of imperial power (the ‘neglect’ of colonial problems) is another window on to the colonial past (the pragmatism of experience). In the last article Kathy Bowery brings us forward in time to the late twentieth century with a reflection on the ethics of legal archives and their powerful impact on the lives of Aboriginal people in Australia today. These articles expand our understanding of law’s history and the importance of knowledge about the colonial past.

We dedicate it to our La Trobe colleague Patrick Wolfe (1949-2016) whose untimely death removed a warm and wonderful colleague and a truly gifted scholar of settler colonialism from our midst. A review of his final book is also published here.



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Max Planck Summer Academy for Legal History

The Max Planck Summer Academy for Legal History is calling for applications from PhD candidates to attend their annual summer school. The theme is conflict regulation. They cover fees, accommodation and some scholarships are available for travel.

More information is available via the Max Plank Institute.

Hat Tip: Legal History Blog

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