Workshop Announcement – Law in Theory and History: a Neglected Dialogue

The Centre for Legal History and the Centre for Legal Theory are proud to announce a joint workshop on the above-mentioned theme. The idea for this workshop arose from two edited collections produced by Maks del Mar and Michael Lobban (Legal Theory and Legal History (2014) and their newly published Law in Theory and History (2016)). The rationale for this workshop takes its cue from the blurb of the most recent work: “Legal historians have often been sceptical of theory. The methodology, which informs their own work is often said to be an empirical one, of gathering information from the archives and presenting it in a narrative form. The narrative produced by history is often said to be provisional, insofar as further research in the archives might falsify present understandings and demand revisions. On the other side, legal theorists are often dismissive of historical works. History itself seems to many theorists not to offer any jurisprudential insights of use for their projects: at best, history is a repository of data and examples, which may be drawn on by the theorist for her own purposes. The aim of this collection is to invite participants from both sides to ask what lessons legal history can bring to legal theory, and what legal theory can bring to history. What is the theorist to do with the empirical data generated by archival research? What theories should drive the historical enterprise, and what wider lessons can be learned from it?”

This blurb will form the springboard for the topics discussed during this workshop. Rather than focusing solely on these two books, the aim of this workshop is to bring together a diverse range of scholars working on different fields to debate the merits of legal history and legal theory in dialogue. Speakers are encouraged to produce papers about their own fields of interest, but within the broader theme of the workshop.

Venue: The University of Edinburgh, School of Law

Date and time: Friday 28 April 2017 9 am – 6 pm

Invited speakers:

Professor Caroline Humfress (St Andrews)
Professor John Hudson (St Andrews)
Professor Michael Lobban (LSE)
Professor Tom Gallanis (Iowa)
Dr Chloë Kennedy (Edinburgh)
Dr Stephen Bogle (Glasgow)
Dr Paul J. du Plessis (Edinburgh)
Dr Daniel Carr (Edinburgh)
Dr Maks del Mar (QMUL)

Professor Claudio Michelon (Edinburgh) will act as session chair.

Each speaker will have 45 minutes plus 15 minutes for discussion. The workshop will end with dinner. Accommodation will be provided in the Kenneth McKenzie Hospitality Suite for those coming from outside Edinburgh.

Invited speakers are requested to sent their titles and a short abstract of no more than 500 words to Paul du Plessis no later than 1 December 2016.