The Docket celebrates the end of an eventful and enriching 2019.
We lead off with a major addition to our mission to develop and improve the teaching of legal history, presenting a guide to digital research resources (and how to guide students in their use), originally presented to a pre-conference workshop at the 2018 American Society for Legal History meeting by Sally Hadden. Dr. Hadden’s list of links, distilled from her presentation, is accessible here, and we hope that our community will expand on it. Email us to suggest additions!
The Docket is also happy to highlight the work of Sara Kimble, whose article “Of ‘Masculine Tyranny’ and the ‘Women’s Jury’: The Gender Politics of Jury Service in Third Republic France” appeared in Law and History Review 37.4. Here, Professor Kimble summarizes the work of French feminists (and male allies) around the turn of the twentieth century, and discusses how her research challenges existing chronologies of French feminist movements and draws attention to the courts as places where French women developed a shadow jury system to demonstrate both sexist bias in the law and the social benefit of political enfranchisement and civic inclusion of women.
The end of the year is an opportunity for reflection, and this issue presents two articles on the state of legal history. LHR Editor-in-Chief Gautham Rao writes approvingly of the intellectual diversification of the field, as scholars examine the role of non-elite actors–“runaway slaves, merchants, administrators, printers, political economists”–in shaping the lived meaning of law, while leveraging this knowledge in an effort to steer the decisions of legal institutions–“using the past to support normative positions about contemporary law and politics.”
Following this brief synthetic account, we invite readers to draw their own conclusions about the state of the field by engaging with a social media roundup of the ASLH annual meeting, held in Boston from November 21 to 24. If you weren’t able to follow the social media action in real time during the meeting, fear not. The most dynamic hashtags and trending topics from the meeting are captured here. Check and see if a 140-character insight gives you something new to think about.
Helping a new generation of legal history scholars take the field in yet-unimagined directions requires resources. Doctoral research fellowships for the McNeil Center for Early American Studies are an outstanding opportunity for dissertation-stage graduate students to engage with a vibrant interdisciplinary community of scholars and the extensive museum, library and archival collections in the greater Philadelphia area. Many emerging scholars of the legal history in early US, Caribbean, colonial and transatlantic contexts (including published Law and History Review authors and Docket contributors) have benefitted from this program, and have shared some of their experiences. If this motivates you to apply, or to encourage one of your graduate students to do so, the deadline is February 3.
Finally, it is time for The Docket to formalize its procedures for submission and review as interest in our venue grows. While we will continue to showcase the work of authors published in LHR, we also wish to present other views and emerging work in the field. We are publishing our guidelines as an article in this issue; they will be permanently accessible here (and can be reached by a link on the “About” page).