We begin our second issue of 2020 with well wishes. To our readers and your loved ones: we hope you are as well as is possible in the face of present crises. Amid such uncertainty, we remain committed to enriching our readers through open-access; to democratizing compelling new legal history and historiography. We continue to share work published in Law and History Review, and we also look forward to highlighting emerging authors. If you wish to make a submission, please visit our submission page.
We also bring heartening news. Cambridge University Press will resume printing all its journals, including Law and History Review, on 1 July 2020. Print subscribers and society members (where applicable) will be sent copies of missed issues as promptly as possible.
The Docket would like to thank Laura Lammasniemi and Kanika Sharma, who guest edited this special issue on the history of age of consent laws. Without their leadership and expertise, none of the content in this issue would have been possible. Their ambitious vision began with a 2018 conference on the age of consent in the British Empire, wherein participants explored the debates that led to the reform of age of consent laws at the turn of the twentieth century. Subsequently, attendees identified the need for a focused, comparative collection—comprising a variety of locales—that represents the latest scholarship in the field.
This special issue is grounded in that need. We begin with posts from Lammasniemi and Sharma, where they revisit their LHR pieces—adding new historical context and contemporary interviews. From here, Catriona Ellis and Tania Sebastian trace a change in discourse—decades before the passage of the Childhood Marriage Restraint Act—regarding childhood and womanhood in India. Aparna Bandyopadhyay takes readers to colonial Bengal, where she reframes Muslim women as conscious actors who leveraged the Age of Consent Act to their advantage.
For further context, we highlight three historical actors, each germane to the study of age of consent: Eliza Armstrong, Phulmoni Dasi, and Rukhmabai Raut. We also feature an interview with Antoinette Burton on her recent work regarding age of consent in the British Empire, and another with Maggie Banjo—a child protection specialist with UNICEF UK who sees parallels between her current work and historical age of consent reforms.