Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture

Leading Early American Scholarship Since 1943


WMQ  &   EMSI Workshop—Early American Legal Histories

May 29–30, 2015 • Stewart R. Smith Board Room, The Huntington Library

Introduction | Program: May 29 • May 30

The Omohundro Institute and the University of Southern California-Huntington Library Early Modern Studies Institute are pleased to announce the tenth in a series of William and Mary Quarterly-EMSI workshops designed to identify and encourage new trends in understanding the history and culture of early North America and its wider world.

Participants will attend a two-day meeting at the Huntington Library (May 29–30, 2015) to discuss a precirculated chapter-length portion of their current work in progress along with the work of other participants. Subsequently, the convener may write an essay elaborating on the issues raised at the workshop for publication in the William and Mary Quarterly. The convener of this year’s workshop is Sarah Barringer Gordon of the University of Pennsylvania.

This workshop will explore new work in law and history, with the goal of bridging the two disciplines. Scholars of early American history have long probed the legal past through research in government and court records. Legal historians have explored the evolution of doctrine and substantive law. Recent scholarship has united the two fields, resulting in work that spans disciplinary boundaries and brings new insight to both. This workshop presents a unique opportunity to deepen and broaden the growing cross-disciplinary conversation. The organizers welcome proposals that address (among other topics) the law of empire and legal status of colonies from Atlantic, continental, and comparative perspectives, as well as the status of Native peoples, enslaved and other bound persons, and colonists; competing legal systems and legal pluralism, including indigenous legal systems and religious and customary law; domestic relations, including the law of master and servant, husband and wife, and parent and child; property in land as well as persons; trade, finance, and debt; war and conquest; the legal profession; courts and/or the judiciary.

Questions may be directed to Joshua Piker, Editor, William and Mary Quarterly, at japiker@wm.edu.