:: AWARDS & FELLOWSHIPS ::
New for 2012: The Society announces a
competition for two Paul L. Murphy Awards. See below for
The Society offers a wide range of awards, prizes and fellowships. See below for information about
the ones being offered in 2012 and about the winners in 2011.
Lists of award winners, the citations for the awards, and announcements of competition for awards for the past few years may be found here. A more comprehensive list of past award winners may be found on the page that lists past presidents
and awards recipients.
The Surrency Prize, named in honor of Erwin Surrency, a founding member of the Society
and for many years the editor of its publication the American Journal of Legal History,
is awarded annually, on the recommendation of the Surrency Prize Committee, to the person or
persons who wrote the best article published in the Society's journal, the Law and History
Review, in the previous year.
The 2011 Surrency
Prize was awarded to Michelle McKinley of the University of Oregon for "Fractional Freedoms: Slavery, Legal Activism, and Ecclesiastical Courts in Colonial Lima, 1593-1689," which appeared in Law and History Review, 28 (2010) 749–790.
The citation read:
"Michelle McKinley's 'Fractional Freedoms: Slavery, Legal Activism, and Ecclesiastical Courts in Colonial Lima, 1593-1689' insightfully advances our understanding of how the role of the Catholic Church in the law and legal institutions of colonial Latin America affected the experience of slavery there in ways that made it differ significantly from North American slavery. Drawing from ecclesiastical court records demonstrating the ability of slaves in Spanish Peru to sue for marriage and divorce, protect their families' integrity, enforce promises of manumission, and compel transfers of ownership to less abusive masters, McKinley gives us indelible examples of enslaved women acting as autonomous agents shaping, within the confines of their bondage, their lives and destinies. Engaging long-standing debates between scholars with a variety of perspectives on the role of law and legal agency in the institution of slavery, McKinley forcefully asserts that law matters, that legal traditions and religious institutions can ameliorate social relations grounded in unbridled power and material interests.
"'Fractional Freedoms' is also thoroughly sourced in archival records from Peru and in secondary literature, in multiple languages, from three continents. The Surrency Committee was impressed by McKinley's mastery of this transnational array of material covering many legal subjects, as well as the eloquence with which she drew from it to reconstruct daily life, intimate relations, and societal norms in seventeenth-century Peru. 'Fractional Freedoms' is commended as a work of social, cultural, and legal history that is sure to inform the way scholars think and write about slavery in the Americas."
The selection of the winner of the Surrency Prize for 2012 is under the
charge of the Society’s Committee on the Surrency Prize. The members of the Committee for 2012 are:
Kenneth F. Ledford (2010), Chair, Case Western Reserve University <email>
David Abraham (2011), University of Miami <email>
Kristin A. Collins (2011), Boston University <email>
Elizabeth Kolsky (2011), Villanova University <email>
Matthew P. Harrington (2011), University of Montreal <email>
The Sutherland Prize, named in
honor of the late Donald W. Sutherland, a distinguished historian of the
law of medieval England and a mentor of many students, is awarded annually,
on the recommendation of the Sutherland Prize Committee, to the person or
persons who wrote the best article on English legal history published in
the previous year.
The Sutherland Prize for 2011 was awarded to N. G. Jones of Cambridge University for: "Wills, Trusts and Trusting from the Statute of Uses to Lord Nottingham," Journal of Legal History, 31 (2010) 273–98. Second place was awarded to Matthew Stevens of the University of London for: "Failed Arbitrations before the Court of Common Pleas: Cases relating to London and Londoners, 1400–1468," Journal of Legal History, 31 (2010) 21–44.
The citation for the prize-winner read:
"The article by N. G. Jones, 'Wills, Trusts and Trusting from the Statute of Uses to Lord Nottingham', is an example of painstaking work on a technical topic that lights up the history of the common law, even to the point of upsetting long-established assumptions about the law’s development. The article deals with the aftermath of the enactment of the Statute of Uses in 1535. The Statute had the effect of abolishing the power to leave real property by will by employing a feoffment to uses to be declared in a will. The strong negative reaction to this change led quickly to enactment of the Statute of Wills in 1540, allowing testators to devise land directly, without creating a trust. Trusts to perform the settlor’s last will then quickly fell out of use. This article, making extensive use of manuscript sources, including the difficult records of the Court of Chancery, shows that the widely accepted story is much too simple. In fact such trusts continued to be used quite often and for a variety of purposes. This created new problems and it also opened up new opportunities for the settlement of interests in land. It had important effects on the history of the trust. Once integrated into general histories of English law, Neil Jones’ impressive work will change the way historians understand this important era in the history of the common law."
The selection of the winner of the Sutherland Prize for 2011 is under the
charge of the Society’s Committee on the Sutherland Prize. The members of the Committee for 2012 are:
Richard Helmholz (2010), Chair, University of Chicago <email>
John Beattie (2009), University of Toronto <email>
Joshua C. Tate (2011), Southern Methodist University <email>
J. Willard Hurst
Summer Institute in Legal History
The Society's J. Willard Hurst Memorial
Committee is charged with task of appropriately remembering the late J.
Willard Hurst, who was for many years the dean of historians of American
law. On the Committee's recommendation, the Society, in conjunction with
the Institute for Legal Studies at the University of Wisconsin Law School
has sponsored five biennial J. Willard Hurst Summer Institutes in Legal History.
The purpose of the Hurst Summer Institute is to advance the approach to
legal scholarship fostered by J. Willard Hurst in his teaching, mentoring,
and scholarship. The "Hurstian perspective" emphasizes the
importance of understanding law in context; it is less concerned with the
characteristics of law as developed by formal legal institutions than with
the way in which positive law manifests itself as the "law in
action." The Hurst Summer Institute assists young scholars from law,
history, and other disciplines in pursuing research in legal history.
The fifth biennial Hurst Institute took place at the University of Wisconsin Law School on June
12 - June 24, 2011. The chair was Barbara Young Welke (University of Minnesota); guest scholars included Society members
Sarah Barringer Gordon (University of Pennsylvania), Lawrence M. Friedman (Stanford University), Robert W. Gordon
(Yale University), Dylan Penningroth (Northwestern University), Lauren Benton (New York University), and
Christopher Tomlins (University of California-Irvine School of Law). A full account of the Institute, including
the program and the names and biographies of the fellows, may
be found on the Insitute's website.
The next conference is scheduled for the Summer of 2013. Information concerning applications will be
available on this page in due course. The Society has recently concluded an agreement with the
Wisconsin Law School that should ensure that there will be several more such conferences after the
one in 2013.
Research Awards and Fellowships:
In 2012, the William Nelson Cromwell Foundation* will make available of a number of
fellowship awards intended to support research and writing in American
legal history. The number of awards to be made, and their amounts, is at the
discretion of the Foundation. In the past four years, the trustees of the Foundation
have made three to five awards, in amounts up to
$5,000. Preference is given to scholars at the early stages of their
careers. The Society's Committee for Research Fellowships and Awards reviews the
applications and makes recommendations to the Foundation.
In 2011, Cromwell fellowships were awarded to:
- Cynthia Greenlee-Donnell, a Ph.D. candidate in History at Duke University, whose project is entitled: "Daughters of the Nadir: Black Girls and Childhood on Trial in South Carolina Courts, 1885-1905";
- Melissa Hayes, who recently completed her Ph.D. in History at Northern Illinois University and is currently an instructor at Shawnee Community College, whose project is entitled: "Sex in the Witness Stand: Legal Culture, Community, and Out-of- Wedlock Sexual Governance in the Nineteenth-Century Midwest";
- Jeffrey Kahn, a Ph.D. candidate in Socio-Cultural Anthropology at the University of Chicago, whose project is entitled: "Cracking Sovereignty: Haitian Migration and the Transformation of U.S. Immigration Law, 1974-1994"; and
- Kimberley Reilly, who recently completed her Ph.D. in History at the University of Chicago and is currently a postdoctoral fellow and lecturer in History at the University of Baltimore, whose project is entitled: "Bonds of Affection: Marriage in Law and Culture, 1870-1920."
* The Cromwell Foundation was established in 1930 to
promote and encourage scholarship in legal history, particularly in the
colonial and early national periods of the United States. The Foundation
has supported the publication of legal records as well as historical
Application Process for 2012
Cornelia Hughes Dayton of the University of Connecticut <email> is the chair of the Society's Committee for Research Fellowships and Awards, with members:
Bruce Mann (ex officio) (President), Harvard University <email>
Linda K. Kerber, University of Iowa <email>
Felicia Kornbluh, University of Vermont <email>
William E. Nelson, New York University <email>
Kunal Parker, University of Miami <email>
Chris Tomlins, University of California, Irvine <email>
There is no application form. Applicants should submit a three to five page description of a proposed project, a budget, a timeline, and two letters of recommendation from academic referees.
Applications must be submitted electronically, including the letters of reference, and received no later than July 13, 2012. Successful applicants will be notified after the annual meeting of the Cromwell Foundation, which normally takes place in the second week of November. An announcement of the awards will also be made at the annual meeting of the American Society of Legal History in St. Louis, MO, November 8-11, 2012.
To apply, please send all materials to the chair of the Committee: Professor Cornelia Hughes Dayton <email>.
Paul L. Murphy Awards
Paul L. Murphy (1923–1997) spent much of his career at the University of Minnesota where he rose to the rank of Regent’s Professor of History and American Studies. At the time of his death, he was in the second year of his term as president of the ASLH. During his tenure at Minnesota he became one of the nation’s leading constitutional historians and a mentor to generations of undergraduate and graduate students.* Under the auspices of the Society, many of those students contributed to a fund to honor Murphy’s memory by supporting research in United States constitutional history. Within that broad field, and reflecting Murphy's interests and accomplishments, those who wished to honor his memory were particularly interested in supporting research in civil liberties.
* A tribute to him, with much information about his life and works, may be found in Kermit L. Hall, Robert Kaczorowski, John Johnson and Sandra VanBurkleo, “Paul L. Murphy 1923–1997”, Law and History
Review, 16 (Spring 1998) ix-xi.
At its meeting in Atlanta in November of 2011, the board of the Society voted to devote that money to offering two one-time awards of $5,000 to support the completion of books on civil liberties of any sort in any period of American history. The responsibility for making the awards was delegated to the Committee on the Paul L. Murphy Awards. The members of the Committee are:
Mary L. Dudziak (2011), Chair, Emory University <email>
Robert Kaczorowski (2011), Fordham University <email>
Serena Mayeri (2011), University of Pennsylvania <email>
David M. Rabban (2011), University of Texas <email>
The Committee has determined that one award will be offered in 2012 and one in 2013. Nominees at all levels of seniority will be considered; the award is not, however, for the completion of a dissertation.
To be considered for this award, authors or nominators should send a book proposal with chapter descriptions, a discussion of the book’s contributions, and a time-line for completion; a sample chapter; and a c.v. to committee chair Professor Mary L. Dudziak <email>. Submissions via e-mail are preferred, and attachments can be in Word or PDF. Please put “Murphy Prize” in the subject line. If you must submit by hard copy, please send four copies of these materials to arrive by the deadline to this address: Professor Mary L. Dudziak, Emory School of Law, 1301 Clifton Rd NE Atlanta Georgia 30322. The deadline for receipt of proposals for this year’s award has been extended to August 5, 2012.
Cromwell Book Prize
The William Nelson
Cromwell Foundation* awards annually a
$5000 book prize for excellence in scholarship in the field of American Legal History by
a junior scholar. The prize is designed to recognize and promote new work in the field by
graduate students, law students, post-doctoral fellows and faculty not yet tenured. The work may be
in any area of American legal history, including constitutional and comparative studies, but
scholarship in the colonial and early national periods will receive some preference. The prize
is limited to "first books," i.e., works by a junior scholar that constitute his or her first major undertaking. Books that are
not first books are eligible for the Reid Prize described below. Doctoral dissertations and articles
have their own separate
* For a brief description of the Foundation, see above Cromwell Fellowships .
The Foundation awards the prize on the recommendation of the Cromwell Prize
Advisory Committee of the American Society for Legal History. The Committee
will consider books published in the previous calendar year.
The Society announces the award after the annual meeting of the
Cromwell Foundation, which normally takes place early in
In 2011 the Cromwell Book Prize was awarded
to Mark Brilliant (University of California, Berkeley) for The Color of America Has Changed: How Racial Diversity Shaped Civil rights Reform in California, 1941-1978, published by the Oxford University Press in 2010.
The committee's citation read as follows:
"In The Color of America Has Changed, Mark Brilliant opens up a new vista on what Nathan Glazer called the 'great enterprise' of determining what the ‘equal protection of the laws’ should concretely mean in a multi-racial and multi-ethnic society. Without slighting 'the exceptionally invidious history of antiblack racism' in the American South and urban North, Brilliant directs us to civil rights in California, the country’s racial frontier, from the 1940s through the 1970s. At first, race liberals assumed that the same 'binary logic' that governed struggles between blacks and whites would prove serviceable when the category of non-whites was expanded to include persons of Chinese, Japanese, and Mexican descent. Yet as they attempted to build coalitions, bring lawsuits, and pass laws to address discrimination in property law, education, housing, labor, public accommodations, and family law, they discovered that minorities experienced bias in different ways and preferred different and sometimes conflicting remedies. Brilliant brings this complexity to life with impressive research in the manuscripts of civil rights organizations, personal papers, court files, and other public records. He sustains his argument and the reader’s interest with a disciplined and artfully constructed narrative. The result is a new past with which to comprehend America’s 'increasingly complex, nonbinary, multiracial civil rights law, policy, and politics'."
Nelson Cromwell Foundation* has generously funded a prize of $2500 for
dissertations accepted in the previous calendar year. The Foundation awards the prize on
the recommendation of the Cromwell Prize Advisory Committee of the American
Society for Legal History. The Society announces the award after the
annual meeting of the Cromwell Foundation, which normally takes place early in November.
* For a brief description of the Foundation, see above Cromwell Fellowships.
The Foundation awarded the Cromwell Dissertation Prize for 2011 to Cynthia Nicoletti for “The Great Question of the War: The Legal Status of Secession in the Aftermath of the American Civil War, 1865-1869”—a
dissertation submitted for the Ph.D. degree in history at the University of Virginia in 2010. The Advisory Committee's citation read as follows:
"This deeply researched and well-argued dissertation challenges the assumption that the North’s victory in the Civil War led inexorably to the demise of the states’ argument that secession was a constitutional right. Although historians often argue that Confederate defeat resolved the question of secession’s constitutionality, Nicoletti recreates the vigorous post-war debate about the validity of permitting the outcome of the war to substitute for a legal judgment on the constitutionality of secession. She reveals how the federal government’s decision not to try Confederate President Jefferson Davis for treason forced Americans to confront the unsettling realization that they had allowed a violent conflict to provide the ultimate determination of their society’s most divisive legal issue. The Supreme Court’s technical decision in Texas v. White notwithstanding, many Americans concluded that “Trial by Battle” rather than rational argument in a court of law had determined secession’s legitimacy. While skillfully recreating the lives of the lawyers, politicians, and jurists who grappled with these issues, Nicoletti also demonstrates how the theoretical justifications for military Reconstruction complicated efforts to reach a judicial determination of the legality of secession. We were impressed with Nicoletti’s achievement. She engaged one of the most frequently debated questions in American history (the legality of secession) and found innovative ways to provide new and important insights."
The Committee also honorably mentioned “Contingent Constitutions: Empire and Law in the Americas,” by
Christina Duffy Burnett, a dissertation submitted for the Ph.D. degree in history at Princeton University in 2010, and
“‘Almost Revolutionary:’ The Constitution’s Strange Career in the Workplace, 1935-1980,” by Sophia Z. Lee,
a dissertation submitted for the Ph.D. degree in history at Yale University.
In the past, the Cromwell Dissertation prize has also been open to articles of "comparable scope"
as a dissertation. With the decline, however, of the "monster" article that used to grace the pages of law reviews,
there are relatively few articles that meet that criterion. The Cromwell Advisory Committee has read a number of
articles that have been submitted for the Dissertation/Article prize, some of very high quality indeed, but they did
not stand much of a chance of winning when compared to the doctoral dissertations that were also submitted. The
Committee brought this to the attention of the Cromwell Foundation, and the Foundation generously agreed to fund a
separate prize of $2,500 for articles in the
general field of American legal history (broadly conceived), with some preferance for those in the area of early
America or the colonial period. A substantial preference will be given to first articles, written by scholars who are
not yet tenured. An Article published in the Law and History Review is eligible for the Surrency Prize
and will not be considered for the Cromwell Article Prize.
In 2011, the Cromwell Foundation awarded the article prize to Krishanti Vignarajah for her article "The Political Roots of Judicial Legitimacy: Explaining the Enduring Validity of the Insular Cases," Univerisity of Chicago Law Review, 77 (2010) 781–845. The Advisory Committee's citation read:
"This article shows how the political branches sought to handle the politically explosive issues of what constitutional constraints might apply to Americas’s governance of its newly acquired empire, by reframing those issues as legal ones suitable for decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Insular Cases, she shows, were a paradigmatic instance of political branches deliberately handing off sensitive and contentious issues to the judiciary for resolution. The article is expertly researched and argued with precision and analytic panache."
The Advisory Committee also honorably mentioned Brad Snyder for "Taking Great Cases: Lessons from the Rosenberg Case", Vanderbilt Law Review, 63 (2010) 885–956. The Committee's citation read:
"This article revisits the long and tortuous path taken by the – ultimately unsuccessful – appeals of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg to the Supreme Court . One of the major puzzles of this episode has been the behavior of Justice Douglas, who initially declined to support the appeal but later granted a stay of execution. Snyder carefully considers the evidence afresh, uncovers new evidence on Justice Douglas and his relations with other justices, and of the poisonous personal feuds between them that affected their decisions in the case; and reaches judicious and carefully considered conclusions. Though the case is a familiar one that has attracted a great deal of commentary and scholarship, Snyder’s very illuminating contribution brings a fresh eye and non-ideological judgment to the evidence."
Nomination Process for 2012
Three prizes will be awarded in 2012 – one for a book, one for an article, and one for a dissertation.
Cromwell Book Prize for 2012.
The nomination process for the Cromwell Book Prize Book Prize for 2012 is listed below, along with that for the John Phillip Reid Book Award.
Cromwell Dissertation Prize for 2012. The William Nelson Cromwell Foundation has generously funded a dissertation prize of $2,500. The winning dissertation may focus on any area of American legal history, including constitutional and comparative studies, but topics dealing with the colonial and early national periods will receive some preference. Anyone who received a Ph.D. in 2011 will be eligible for this year's prize. The Foundation awards the prize on the recommendation of the Cromwell Prize Advisory Committee of the American Society for Legal History.
To be considered for this year's prize, please send one hard-copy to the chair of the Cromwell Prize Advisory Committee and to each of the members of the subcommittee for the dissertation prize by May 31, 2012. Addresses follow:
John D. Gordan, III, Chair, Cromwell Prize Advisory Committee
1133 Park Avenue
New York, NY, 10128
Christian G. Fritz, Chair, Cromwell Dissertation Prize Advisory Subcommittee
Professor of Law
University of New Mexico
School of Law
1117 Stanford NE
MSC 11 6070
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001
Dr. Maeva Marcus, Director
Institute for Constitutional History
The New York Historical Society and
The George Washington University Law School
2000 H Street NW
Washington DC 20052
Claire Priest, Professor of Law
Yale Law School
P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520
Michael Ross, Associate Professor
Department of History
University of Maryland
2115 Francis Scott Key
College Park, MD 20742
Cromwell Article Prize for 2012. The William Nelson Cromwell Foundation has generously funded a prize of $2,500 for an excellent article in American legal history published by an early career scholar in 2011. Articles published in 2011 in the field of American legal history, broadly conceived, will be considered. There is a preference for articles in the colonial and early national periods. Articles published in the Law and History Review are eligible for the Surrency Prize and will not be considered for the Cromwell Article Prize.
The Cromwell Foundation makes the final award, in consultation with a subcommittee of the Society's Cromwell Advisory Committee. This subcommittee invites nominations for the article prize; authors are invited to nominate themselves. Others may nominate works that meet the criteria and that they have read and enjoyed. Please send a brief letter of nomination no longer than a page, along with an electronic or hard copy of the article, by May 31, 2012, to the subcommittee's chair, Alfred Brophy, University of North Carolina School of Law, Campus Box #3380, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380 or via email.
Kathryn T. Preyer Scholars
Named after the late Kathryn T. Preyer, a distinguished
historian of the law of early America known for her generosity to young
legal historians, the program of Kathryn T. Preyer Scholars is designed to
help legal historians at the beginning of their careers. At the annual
meeting of the Society two younger legal historians designated Kathryn T.
Preyer Scholars will present what would normally be their first papers to
the Society. (Whether there is a Kathryn T. Preyer Memorial Panel at the
meeting, as there was this year, or whether the Preyer Scholars present
their papers as part of other panel depends on the subject-matter of the
winning papers and on what is on the rest of the program.) The generosity
of Professor Preyer's friends and family has enabled the Society to offer a
small honorarium to the Preyer Scholars and to reimburse, in some measure
or entirely, their costs of attending the meeting. The competition for Preyer Scholars is organized
by the Society's Kathryn
T. Preyer Memorial Committee.
In 2011, the Preyer Memorial Committee
chose three Preyer Scholars:
- Kevin Arlyck (New York University) for his paper “Plaintiffs v. Privateers: Litigation and Foreign Affairs in the Federal Courts, 1816-1825”;
- Anne Fleming (University of Pennsylvania) for her paper “The Borrower's Tale: A History of Poor Debtors in Lochner Era New York City”; and
- Michael Schoeppner (University of Florida) for his paper "Atlantic
Emancipations and Originalism: An Atlantic Genealogy of Dred Scott.”
Preyer Scholars presented their papers at a special panel, chaired by Mary Bilder (Boston College) with William Wiecek (Syracuse University) and Charles McCurdy (University of Virginia) serving as commentators.
Application Process for 2012
The members of the Preyer Memorial Committee for 2012 are:
Gautham Rao, Chair, Rutgers University, Newark, and New Jersey Institute of Technology <email>
Sally Hadden, Western Michigan University <email>
Christopher W. Schmidt, Chicago-Kent College of Law <email>
Michael A. Schoeppner, California Institute of Technology <email>
Karen Tani, University of California, Berkeley <email>
Submissions are welcome on any topic in legal, institutional and/or constitutional history. Early career scholars, including those pursuing graduate or law degrees, those who have completed their terminal degree within the previous year, and those independent scholars at a comparable state, are eligible to apply. Papers already submitted to the ASLH Program Committee--whether or not accepted for an existing panel--and papers never previously submitted are equally eligible.
Papers must not exceed 40 pages and must contain supporting documentation. In past competitions, the Committee has given preference to draft articles and essays, though the Committee will still consider shorter conference papers.
Submissions should include a complete curriculum vitae, contact information, and a complete draft of the paper to be presented. The draft may be longer than could be presented in the time available at the meeting (twenty minutes) and should contain supporting documentation, but one of the criteria for selection will be the suitability of the paper for reduction to a twenty-minute oral presentation. The deadline for submission is June 30, 2012. The Preyer Scholars will be named by August 1.
Kathryn T. Preyer Scholars will receive a $250 cash award and reimbursement of expenses up to $750 for travel, hotels, and meals. Each will present the paper that s/he submitted to the competition at the Society's annual meeting in St. Louis, MO on November 8-11, 2012. The Society’s journal, Law and History Review, has published several past winners of the Preyer competition, though is under no obligation to do so.
Please send submissions as Microsoft Word attachments to the chair of the Preyer Committee, Gautham Rao <email>. He will forward them to the other committee members.
John Phillip Reid
Named for John Phillip Reid, the prolific
legal historian and founding member of the Society, and made possible by
the generous contributions of his friends and colleagues, the John Phillip
Reid Book Award is an annual award for the best monograph by a mid-career or senior scholar, published in English in any of the fields defined broadly as Anglo-American legal history. The award is given on the recommendation of the Society's John Philip Reid
In 2011 the Reid Prize was awarded to Christopher Tomlins for Freedom Bound: Law, Labor, and Civic Identity in Colonizing English America, 1580-1865, published by Cambridge University Press in 2010. For the first time in the history of the prize the committee also gave an honorable mention to Paul D. Halliday for Habeas corpus: From England to Empire, published by Harvard University Press, also in 2010. The committee's citation for the award-winner read:
"Christopher Tomlins’s Freedom Bound is an ambitious effort to place law at the heart of American history generally, by demonstrating its centrality to the creation of the particular regimes of freedom and subordination that governed the colonies and states until the Civil War. Tomlins rejects the surprisingly durable notion that law has been an impartial releaser of energy (as if it did not have a lot to say about whose energy would get more or less favorable treatment). And he equally rejects the idea that law has been mere window dressing for developments really driven by the logic of capitalism. Rather, Tomlins argues that law makes society, makes labor, and makes civic identity as much as it is made by those things. And it never does this work impartially but, instead, by setting out the terms of “colonization.” In Tomlins’s hands, the colonizing process that launches American history is both a creation of law and a durable metaphor for what law is and does, not just in the so-called colonial period but all the way to the Civil War and beyond. Thus the long sweep of American history from the earliest migrations to the Civil War becomes a history of colonization. The land is colonized, the indigenous peoples are colonized, and human beings who are needed for the labor of colonization are themselves colonized—all by means of law and its capacity to shape and limit the imagination, to legitimate and naturalize that which inescapably rests on power and violence. But, as the law obscures its own violence and its determination to subordinate some to enhance the freedom of others, that history of law as colonization never becomes a reductive story of one fixed class oppressing another. Rather, law is always plural, contingent, contested—much more so in the uncertain atmosphere of the early colonies than in the ever more rigidly slave-based society of the next two centuries (so much for the unfolding of freedom and the beneficent release of energy)—but still law as power, law as colonization, is always a matter of human contest over the highest stakes: more freedom for some and more unfreedom for others. Tomlins’s big book and big arguments are often deeply persuasive, but the most important testament to his work will come when we are still debating his many claims, big and small, another generation down the road."
Nomination Process for 2012 (Reid Award and Cromwell Book Prize)
The chair of the Society's Committee on the John Phillip Reid Book Award and the chair of the Subcommittee on the Cromwell Book Prize of the Cromwell Advisory Committee have issued a joint announcement on the nomination process for 2012: The Reid Award and the Cromwell Book Prize are mutually exclusive. The Reid Book Award is for a book by a mid-career or senior scholar, and the Cromwell Book Prize is for a “first book” by a junior scholar. For advice where the distinction is doubtful, please consult Philip Girard, chair of the Reid Award Committee, and Daniel Ernst, chair of the Subcommittee on the Cromwell Book Prize.
John Phillip Reid Book Award
|John Phillip Reid|
Named for John Phillip Reid, the prolific legal historian and founding member of the Society, and made possible by the generous contributions of his friends and colleagues, the John Phillip Reid Book Award is an annual award for the best monograph by a mid-career or senior scholar, published in English in any of the fields defined broadly as Anglo-American legal history. The award is given on the recommendation of the Society's John Phillip Reid Prize Committee.
For the 2012 prize, the Reid Award Committee will accept nominations from authors, presses, or anyone else, of any book that bears a copyright date in 2011. Nominations for the Reid Award should be submitted by May 25, 2012, by sending a curriculum vitae of the author and one copy of the book to each member of the committee. (Listed below
Cromwell Book Prize
|William Nelson Cromwell|
The William Nelson Cromwell Foundation awards annually a $5000 book prize for excellence in scholarship in the field of American Legal History by a junior scholar. The prize is designed to recognize and promote new work in the field by graduate students, law students, post-doctoral fellows and faculty not yet tenured. The work may be in any area of American legal history, including constitutional and comparative studies, but scholarship in the colonial and early national periods will receive some preference. The prize is limited to “first books,” i.e., works by a junior scholar that constitute his or her first major undertaking.
The William Nelson Cromwell Foundation awards the prize on the recommendation of the Cromwell Prize Advisory Committee of the American Society for Legal History. The Committee will consider books published in 2011. The Society will announce the award after the annual meeting of the Cromwell Foundation, which normally takes place early in November.
To nominate a book, please send copies of it and the curriculum vitae of its author to John D, Gordan, III, Chair of the Cromwell Prize Advisory Committee, and to each member of the Cromwell Book Prize Advisory Subcommittee with a postmark no later than May 31, 2012. (Listed below
John Phillip Reid Book Award Committee
Philip Girard, Chair,
James Lewtas Visiting Professor,
Osgoode Hall Law School,
4700 Keele Street
Reader in Legal History,
Department of Law,
Queen Mary, University of London, Mile End Road,
London E1 4NS, United Kingdom
Sophia Z. Lee, Assistant Professor, University of Pennsylvania Law School, 3400 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Steven Wilf, Joel Barlow Professor of Law
and Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development, Law School, University of Connecticut, 65 Elizabeth Street,
Hartford, Connecticut 06105
Assistant Professor, University of Chicago Law School,
1111 E. 60th St., Room 410
Chicago, IL 60637
Cromwell Book Prize Advisory Subcommittee
John D. Gordan, III, Chair, Cromwell Prize Advisory Committee,
1133 Park Avenue,
New York, NY 10128
Daniel R. Ernst,
Chair, Cromwell Book Prize Advisory Subcommittee, Visiting Professor of Law (2011-12),
411B Vanderbilt Hall,
New York University School of Law,
40 Washington Sq. South,
New York, NY 10012
Laura F. Edwards, Professor of History,
Box 90719, Duke University,
Durham, NC 27708
Robert W. Gordon, Stanford Law School,
559 Nathan Abbott Way,
Stanford CA 94305
Laura Kalman, Department of History,
University of California, Santa Barbara,
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9410