Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Struggle for Land--conference on early modern legal history

Speaking of interdisciplinarity, I received from H-Net this announcement of what looks like a fascinating conference about land use and legal history: The Struggle for Land: Property, Territory, and Jurisdiction in Early Modern Europe and the Americas, to be held at the Newberry Library in Chicago on April 8, 2011.  From the announcement:

The struggle to possess and control land, both as property and as jurisdictional territory, was central to the formation of early modern European societies as well as their colonial domains. This conference will look at how Europeans and indigenous peoples defined the right to land. We will examine how so-called European expansion influenced the conceptualization of property and territorial jurisdiction and the relationship between them. Conference participants may explore how notions of property and territoriality changed over time; and how colonial needs and the encounter with new cultures reshaped these notions. In what ways did “international competition” and the emergence of an “international law” (to use an anachronism) modify property and jurisdiction? How did economic, social, and political developments influence new ideas and experiences regarding the land? In what ways did these ideas and experiences shape practical strategies for claiming land and asserting rights to govern it and profit from it? We are particularly eager to know whether these encounters encouraged, consciously or not, borrowing between different European legal systems as well as between settlers and indigenous peoples. How was the movement and refashioning of legal knowledge bound up with the movement of peoples and refashioning of modes of control over land? We would like to encourage an interdisciplinary conversation among lawyers, historians, sociologists, geographers, and literary scholars.

Participating in the symposium will be a number of really promient historians, plus several law profs including Richard Ross (who appears to be the organizer, along with Tamar Herzog), Claire Priest, R.H. Helmholz, Stuart Banner, Christopher Tomlins, Daniel Hamilton, and Allison LaCroix.  More info, including the schedule, after the jump.

Matt Festa

            Tamar Herzog (Stanford History) and Richard Ross (Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Law and History) organized “The Struggle for Land.”  The conference is an offering of the Symposium on Comparative Early Modern Legal History, which gathers yearly under the auspices of the Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library in Chicago in order to explore a particular topic in the comparative legal history of the Atlantic world in the period c.1492-1815.  Funding has been provided by the University of Illinois College of Law.

            Attendance at the Symposium is free and open to the public.  Participants and attendees should preregister by contacting the Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library at [email protected]<mailto:[email protected]> or at 312-255-3514.  For information about the conference, please consult our website at http://www.newberry.org/renaissance/seminars/legal.html  or contact Prof. Richard Ross at [email protected]<mailto:[email protected]> or at 217-244-7890.

            Here is the program and schedule:

9:00 Welcome: Tamar Herzog (Stanford History) and Richard Ross (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Law and History)

9:05 to 10:40: Panel: Religion, Civility, and Debates over Property Regimes

Paper 1: Tamar Herzog (Stanford History): “How the Indios Lost their Land: Spanish Debates and Practices of Dispossession”

Paper 2: Dominique Deslandres (Montreal History): “Conversion and French Imperialism:  A New Hypothesis on Territorial Expansion in Early Modern France and New France”

Paper 3: Rafe Blaufarb (Florida State History): “The Nation as Lord: The French Revolution and the Creation of National Feudal Dues”

Commentator 1: Frederick Hoxie (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, History)

Commentator 2: Richard Helmholz (University of Chicago Law)

Chair: James Palmitessa (Western Michigan History)

10:40 to 10:55: Refreshment Break

10:55 to 12:30: Panel: Strategies for Claiming Land

Paper 1: Antonio Stopani (Turin, Italy, Faculty of Archeology, Anthropology and Historical Geography): “What Territory Is Made Of: On Property, Jurisdiction and their Reciprocal Relationship in Italy, 15th to 18th Centuries”

Paper 2: Hal Langfur (SUNY Buffalo History): “Lawlessness and Land Grants: Gold Prospecting, Runaway Slave Communities, and the Acquisition of Private Property on a Brazilian Frontier”

Paper 3: Alan Taylor (California, Davis, History): “Remaking Americans: Louisiana, Upper Canada, and Texas”

Commentator 1: Emilio Kourí (University of Chicago History)

Commentator 2: Christopher Schmidt-Nowara (Fordham History)

Chair: Bianca Premo (Florida International History)

12:30 to 1:50: Lunch: Participants and audience members are invited to try the restaurants in the neighborhood around the Newberry.

1:50 to 3:05: Author-Meets-Readers Session on Christopher Tomlins’ Freedom Bound: Law, Labor, and Civic Identity in Colonizing English America, 1580–1865 (2010).

            Reader 1: Julia Adams (Yale Sociology)

            Reader 2: Stuart Banner (UCLA Law)

            Reader 3: Paul Eiss (Carnegie Mellon History)

Reader 4: Tamar Herzog (Stanford History) and Richard Ross (Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Law and History)

            Reader 5: Richard White (Stanford History)

            Reply: Christopher Tomlins (California, Irvine, Law)

3:05 to 3:20: Refreshment Break

3:20 to 4:55 Panel: Property as a Foundation of Political Order and Political Economy

Paper 1: Govind Sreenivasan (Brandeis History): “Peasant Property Rights and the Public Order in the Early Modern World: The Holy Roman, Ottoman and Qing Empires Compared”

Paper 2: Allan Greer (McGill History): “Property Formation and State Formation: New Spain, New France, New England”

Paper 3: Claire Priest (Yale Law): “Creating an American Property Law”

Commentator 1 and Chair: Daniel Hamilton (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Law)

Commentator 2: Alison LaCroix (University of Chicago Law)

5:00 Adjourn


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