Note: this call is for proposals from early career scholars and grad students only:
“We Must First Take Account”: A Conference on Race, Law, and History in the Americas
University of Michigan Law School
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Friday and Saturday, April 1 – 2, 2011
Call for Papers
“To get beyond racism, we must first take account of race,” is the well-remembered phrase from Justice Harry Blackmun’s opinion in the 1978 Bakke decision. Blackmun’s view may remain controversial in debates about constitutional jurisprudence. But for historians of law it is axiomatic. In the generation since Bakke, scholars have indeed taken account, mining legal culture’s archives to explain the origins and endurance of race. Today race is at the core of interpreting the history of law in the Americas. Understood as a set of ideas that rely upon religion, culture, labor, biology, and politics, race has organized profound inequality and galvanized movements for social justice. Race has been linked to slavery and its abolition, immigration and exclusion, and the status of indigenous peoples, shaping the emergence of democratic states, imperialism, labor relations, social welfare policy, and movements for civil and human rights. Legal historians have debated the relationship of law to these transformations while exploring how race and law have shaped home, family, marriage, gender, and sexuality.
“We Must First Take Account” will explore new scholarship in race, law and history. We solicit proposals from early career scholars and graduate students that address the above themes and inter-related questions from the field: How have ideas about race shaped the evolution of legal culture? How has law produced ideas about race? How has legal scholarship incorporated race into its analysis? How has law been allied with or an obstacle to movements for social change? What strategies can be used to carry out comparative studies of race, law, and history? We encourage research that rethinks earlier frameworks, particularly that of the nation-state. Histories of race and law in transnational and comparative perspectives are welcome, and we invite work across the Americas including North America, the Caribbean, Latin America, and Brazil. Senior scholars will be invited to provide discussion and commentary.
Proposals should include a 300-word abstract and a short c.v. and be submitted no later than January 17, 2011. Please send proposals via email with “Legal History Conference” in the subject line.
For those selected to present, final papers of no more than 9,000 words are due by March 14, 2011. All papers will be pre-circulated to conference participants. Support for presenters’ travel and lodging expenses will be available.
“We Must First Take Account” is sponsored by the University of Michigan Law School and the Legal History Consortium (University of Illinois College of Law, University of Michigan Law School, University of Minnesota Law School, and University of Pennsylvania Law School,) with generous support from the American Society for Legal History.