Aberdeen: Legal History: Doctoral Scholarships

The Univeristy of Aberdeen, founded in 1495 by William Elphinstone, a canon lawyer trained in France who acted as a judge on the King's Council, has a fine reputation in legal history and Roman law, with David Daube, Peter Stein, and Geoffrey MacCormack having held the chairs of Jurisprudence. Currently, Robin Evans Jones holds the chair of Jurisprudence and John Ford has just been appointed to the chair of Civil Law previously held by Gero Dolezalek. There are excellent younger people there too. As well as having the archives of David Daube, the University also holds the de Zuleta Roman law collection. So it is a fine place to work and pursue research, with its new library building and the beautiful setting of King's College in Old Aberdeen.

It is therefore welcome to see the University capitalising on all this expertise and good resources to offer two doctoral scholarships on authority and texts which could be held in legal history, as well as divinity and history. The details are pasted in below. But see also http://www.abdn.ac.uk/funding/details.php?funding_id=201



Research Project Award Scheme: Authority and Texts: Concepts and Use
Study Level: Research Postgraduate

Country: All countries

Subject: Divinity & Religious Studies

Brief Description

This project examines religious, historical and legal approaches to authority, taking account of its use and conceptualisations in the areas of law, history, divinity and religious studies.


What constitutes authority and provides authenticity to texts and what is the role of textual criticism? How should authoritative texts (including religious, legal, and other texts), be used and interpreted, and how is this issue determined? Is investigation of the contextual meaning of texts at their time of composition necessary to understanding and respecting their authority, or do different criteria exist which influence readings of texts? When authoritative texts conflict, should there be a dialogue or a competition, and how critical to this are the authorship, age, purpose, and nature of the texts? What functions do authoritative texts have in governance or persecution? What kind of relationship is there among authoritative texts, institutional authority, and leadership? How do traditional accounts and myths interact with texts and to what extent are these authoritative?
This research project has two strands. One examines the nature of textual authority in human culture, particularly relating to theology and religious studies. How do primary texts acquire authority? What is the nature of that authority? How does it function in different cultures? What can be learned about the function of such texts through cross-cultural analysis? Under what circumstances are authoritative texts used to justify discrimination, suppression or violence? How does the increasing digitalisation of culture influence the authoritative status and function of texts? This broad examination of authority will not only yield answers to these important questions, but also provide context to the other research strand.
The second strand will focus on authority in law and governance in Scotland. How was legal authority derived, conceptualised, and used in the governance of late medieval and early-modern Scotland, when ideas on authority were addressed and began to crystallise? How did changing theories of legal authority alter its use by members of the body politic as they participated in, and challenged, royal burghal, university college, and magnate government? Which legal authorities were drawn on by jurists and governing institutions, and how were they used? Did legal authority function differently in the provinces than in jurisdictions which also functioned as seats of national government? Re-examining these issues will enhance our understanding of the legal and political infrastructure in Scotland within the context of governmental development and change. These investigations will allow a greater understanding of the jurisdictional tapestry of Scotland, and provide credible units of analysis and comparison with national and international jurisdictions.
Overall, this project will introduce our doctoral research students into this research environment, allow them to see how an international research network is established, and make them integral to moving the literature forward on a research theme of national and international importance. The Research Institute for Irish and Scottish Studies will provide office space for our students for a cohesive research environment. A seminar series at which the students would present in their second year will give excellent academic training, provide feedback, publicise their research, and prepare them for their viva.
Research and Supervisory Team:
• Dr Adelyn Wilson, School of Law
• Prof. Tom Greggs, Divinity
• Dr Andrew Simpson, School of Law
• Prof. John Ford, School of Law
• Dr Jackson Armstrong, History
• Dr Andrew MacKillop, History
• Dr Michael Brown, RIISS
• Prof. Steve Mason, Divinity
• Prof. John Webster, Divinity
• Dr Chris Brittain, Divinity
• Dr Marie-Luise Ehrenschwendtner, Divinity
• Dr Jutta Leonhardt-Balzer, Divinity
• Prof. Robert Segal, Religious Studies
• Dr Zohar Hadromi-Allouche, Religious Studies
• Dr Lukas Pokorny, Religious Studies

Application Procedure

A normal application for admission to the PhD programme is required and applicants should make explicit note their interest in being considered for a ‘Authority and texts: concepts and use scholarship’ in their application materials.

Deadline: 8th of March 2013




Cummins Legal History Research Grant 2013

GW Law is pleased to invite applications for the Richard & Diane Cummins Legal History Research Grant for 2013.

The Cummins Grant provides a stipend of $10,000 to support short-term historical research using Special Collections at GW’s Jacob Burns Law Library, which is noted for its continental historical legal collections, especially its French Collection.  Special Collections also is distinguished by its holdings in Roman and canon law, church-state relations, international law, and its many incunabula. The grant is awarded to one doctoral, LL.M., or S.J.D. candidate; postdoctoral researcher; faculty member; or independent scholar. The successful candidate may come from a variety of disciplines, including, but not limited to, law, history, religion, philosophy, or bibliography.

The deadline for applications is 15 October 2012.

For information about the Cummins Grant, please visit:  http://www.law.gwu.edu/Library/Special_Collections/Pages/CumminsGrant.aspx

For information about Special Collections at the Jacob Burns Law Library, please visit: http://www.law.gwu.edu/Library/Special_Collections/Pages/Default.aspx

Lectureship/Senior Lectureship in Legal History, University of Edinburgh, School of Law

School Of Law: Lectureship/Senior Lectureship in Legal History

Applications are invited for a Lectureship/Senior Lectureship in Legal History from candidates with an interest in European Legal History, broadly conceived, preferably with a research and teaching interest in the law and legal culture of the Renaissance/Early Modern period.

The candidate will be expected to contribute to established programmes and to help develop new courses in this area at undergraduate and postgraduate level, in particular for the LL.M. in History and Philosophy of Law, as well as undertake doctoral supervision.

The candidate will also be expected to further the international reputation of the School in Legal History, in a way compatible with the aims and objectives of the Centre for Legal History. The candidate need not have a primary degree in law, but will be expected to have a relevant PhD or equivalent research experience, with a proven record of research and publication.

The position is available from 1st January, 2013. Appointment will be on an open-ended basis.

Salary Scale: £37,012-£44,166 (UOE8) / £46,846-£52,706 (UOE9)

Find out more and apply at http://www.jobs.ed.ac.uk/vacancies/index.cfm?fuseaction=vacancies.detail&vacancy_ref=3016149.

Opportunities for Doctoral Research in Frankfurt



The Blog is delighted to see that there are interesting opportunities for young graduates in (canon) law, history, philology, philosophy or theology to be employed as a doctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Legal History in Frankfurt. These positions are within the research group ‘Canon Law, Moral Theology and Conflict Resolution in the Early Modern Period’. Four positions are available from 1 August 2012 for doctoral candidates who are interested to work on any subject that is related to the overall theme of the research group.

It is important to note that the deadline for submissions is 1 April 2012. This is short notice; but these are excellent opportunities. The Blog would urge any qualified person to apply. Formal details are pasted in below.


Doctoral Research Fellows (Junior Research Group)

LOEWE Research Focus

Doktorandenstellen (Nachwuchsgruppe)

The Junior Research Group "Canon Law, Moral Theology and Conflict Resolution in the Early Modern Period" within the LOEWE Research Focus "Extrajudicial and Judicial Conflict Resolution" (Frankfurt am Main) is seeking to employ, to start 01.08.2012,

four Doctoral Research Fellows (E 13/2 TVöD-Bund)

settled at the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History, for a limited period to 31.12.2014.

The members of the Junior Research Group will be expected to collaborate with the other participants in the LOEWE Research Focus, which is a joint, interdisciplinary research project supported by the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History and the University of Applied Sciences in Frankfurt am Main. The LOEWE Project is funded as part of the State of Hessen's Offensive for the Development of Scientific and Economic Excellence. The LOEWE Research Focus pursues the interdisciplinary and international analysis of conflicts and conflict resolution from a comparative, historical, and contemporary perspective.

Junior Research Group Project:
The Junior Research Group aims to investigate the role played by canonists and theologians in the resolution of conflicts in the early modern age (ca. 1450-1650). The involvement of the Catholic Church in legal affairs, in the regulation of business and in dispute settlement will be examined from various perspectives: jurisprudence, court practice and ethnology. The actual PhD project that successful applicants end up doing will be worked out in dialogue between the doctoral fellow and the junior research group leader. Particularly welcomed are projects on the northern European roots of the so-called School of Salamanca (e.g. Conrad Summenhart), on the use of the legal teachings of the Catholic theologians in practice (e.g. the Jesuit colonies in South America), on the relationship between forum internum and forum externum (e.g. within the Church's own jurisdiction or regarding the influence of penitential literature on the decisions of the English Court of Chancery). However, candidates are invited to submit any research proposal that fits into the main theme of the Junior Research Group "Canon Law, Moral Theology and Conflict Resolution in the Early Modern Period".

Job Requirements and Role:
The applicant will hold a master's degree (M.A.) or equivalent qualification in Law, History, Theology, Philology, Philosophy, Anthropology or a related discipline. Reading knowledge of Latin is required. The Doctoral Fellow will develop his/her own research project under the supervision of the Junior Research Group Leader. He/she is an independent scholar eager to work in an international and interdisciplinary environment. Willingness to collaborate with the other members of the Junior Research Group and the other participants in the LOEWE-Project is essential. We offer a stimulating environment for high quality research, a large support team and career development services.

The LOEWE Research Focus "Extrajudicial and Judicial Conflict Resolution" attempts to employ a balanced proportion of female staff. We therefore particularly encourage women to apply.

Furthermore, the LOEWE Research Focus "Extrajudicial and Judicial Conflict Resolution" makes efforts to employ severely disabled people. We explicitly hope to receive applications from the severely disabled.

Please send the electronic version of your application to personal@rg.mpg.de <mailto:personal@rg.mpg.de> , by 01.04.2012.

Recent vacancies

Three recent vacancies in the field of legal history/Roman law have attracted the attention of this blogger:

 1. Full Professorship for Roman law, Ancient legal history and Private law at the Ludwig-Maximillians University in Munich:


 2. Full Professorship of General Legal Theory (in the subject area "Normative, Historical and Sociological Approaches to Law"), University of Amsterdam:


 3. Doctoral Research Fellow positions at the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History in Frankfurt-am-Main:


Legal History Ph.D.: opportunities in Exeter

Our colleagues, at Exeter, Anthony Musson and Chantal Stebbings, inform us that Exeter is prioritising legal history for the award of internal Ph.D. Scholarships this year. This is an excellent opportunity for those wishing to pursue doctoral studies in the field to gain funding and have the benefit of supervision from an excellent team of distinguished scholars. Exeter has hosted the British Legal History Conference twice, and is an agreeable city in a part of Britain with an agreeable climate, with many strong associations for English legal historians. In 2009, as this Blog reported (http://www.law.ed.ac.uk/elhblog/blogentry.aspx?blogentryref=8244), the University instituted the Bracton Centre for Legal History, demonstrating a commitment to the discipline see http://socialsciences.exeter.ac.uk/law/research/clhr/

Musson and Steebings have just published an important collection with CUP on Making Legal History: Approaches and Methodologies, deriving from the recent BLHC they hosted.

For further information, see  http://socialsciences.exeter.ac.uk/postgraduate/research/funding/

Legal History Fellowship: Harvard

For young legal historians a period to turn their doctoral or other work into a book or other publications can be invaluable. It is therefore important to bring to the attention of readers of this Blog the advertisement for the Raoul Berger-Mark DeWolfe Howe Legal History Fellowship at Harvard.

As well as working on their research (in any field of legal history), they will acquire other skills and experience through involvement in organising the Harvard Law School Legal History Colloquium. The Harvard website states: "The purpose of the fellowship is to enable the fellow to complete a major piece of writing in the field of legal history, broadly defined. There are no limitations as to geographical area or time period." This said, past recipients listed have all been working on a relatively modern field of US history, with the concerns of contemporary US legal historians obviously to the fore, which is fair enough.

The deadline for applications is 15 February 2012.

See http://www.law.harvard.edu/academics/fellowships/raoul-berger-mark-dewolfe-howe-legal-history-fello.html


Vacancy – legal history/policy

Source: Legal history blog


The Federated Department of History at Rutgers University-Newark and New Jersey Institute of Technology invites applications for a tenure-track position at the rank of assistant professor, based at NJIT, to begin September 2012. Applicants should be able to present evidence of scholarly accomplishment and effective teaching and should have a Ph.D. with a primary research field that focuses on legal history/policy. They should also have an aptitude for program administration, as the holder of this position will serve as associate director of the department’s growing new degree program in Law, Technology and Culture. Time period and geographical area of scholarly expertise are open, but preference will be given to applicants who can contribute to the department’s M.A. concentration in the history of technology, environment, and medicine/health. NJIT and the Newark campus of Rutgers University are located across the street from each other in the University Heights section of Newark, with easy access to the entire metropolitan New York-New Jersey area.

    Send letter of application, C.V., writing sample, sample syllabi, and three letters of recommendation as directed at njit.jobs, posting # 0600782. Review of applications will begin in January 2012 and will continue until the position is filled. NJIT is an Equal Opportunity Employer M/F/H/V.

Exciting Legal History PhD Opportunity, Queen Mary London: The Court of Chancery and its Records, 1820-1888


Queen Mary London has an excellent programme in legal history at both LLM and PhD level, for which one of your Blogger's former Edinburgh undergraduate students, who studied there,  has had nothing but praise. Ably led my Michael Lobban, one of the most talented historians of English law in the period 1760-1900, there are also such outstanding scholars involved as Catharine MacMillan. Lobban was a major contributor to the recently published (2010) three volumes of the Oxford History of English Law covering 1820-1914, while MacMillan's Mistakes in Contract Law (2010) is an excellent work. She is currently writing a biography of Judah Benajamin, a man of considerable interest to this Blog.

At Queen Mary there is now an exciting opportunity for a scholar to pursue research for a PhD for three years with a full scholarship in the Department of Law. The aim is to study the Court of Chancery and its Records in the era of nineteenth century reform in collaboration with the National Archive. The aim of the project, which will be jointly supervised by Professor Michael Lobban in the Department of Law and Dr Amanda Bevan at The National Archives, is to explore the structure, working and business of the court in the era in which Charles Dickens wrote Bleak House. The student will be given in-depth training in the court records at The National Archives, as well as general academic supervision at Queen Mary. Applicants who hold, or are currently taking, a postgraduate degree in law or history are welcome to apply, but must meet the School of Law's PhD programme academic entrance criteria (in terms of the required grades/marks). Any informal enquiries about the studentship can be directed to Michael Lobban by email on m.j.lobban@qmul.ac.uk.


Richard & Diane Cummins Legal History Research Grant for 2012

The Richard & Diane Cummins Legal History Research Grant for 2012

George Washington University Law is pleased to invite applications for the Richard & Diane Cummins Legal History Research Grant for 2012.

The Cummins Grant provides a stipend of $10,000 to support short-term historical research using the Special Collections Department at GW's Jacob Burns Law Library, which is noted for its continental historical legal collections, especially its French collection, with strengths in Roman and canon law, church-state relations, international law, and many incunabula holdings.

The grant is awarded to one doctoral, LLM, or SJD. candidate, postdoctoral researcher, faculty member, or independent scholar. The successful candidate may come from a variety of disciplines including, but not limited to, law, history, religion, philosophy, or bibliography.

Applicants must submit a letter and research proposal (maximum 1000 words) outlining the scope of their project and specifying those materials from the Special Collections Department that are relevant to their research. Applicants also should submit two letters of support, preferably from academic colleagues. For student applicants, one of the letters must be from a dissertation or thesis advisor. These documents may be submitted electronically or in hard copy via mail.

During his or her visit, the grant recipient will deliver a presentation to interested faculty of the research completed at GW, and at the conclusion of the visit will submit a summary of research conducted during the visit.

Grant application
The deadline for submitting applications is 1 November 2011. Inquiries and application materials should be sent to:

Dean Scott B. Pagel
Director, Jacob Burns Law Library
The George Washington University
716 20th Street NW
Washington, DC  20052

About the Special Collections Department
The Special Collections Department of the Jacob Burns Law Library preserves more than 35,000 important legal works from the fifteenth through nineteenth centuries. Its French Collection is one of the largest assemblages of early French law in the United States. The Incunabula Collection comprises more than 120 titles. Other significant areas of the collection include church-state relations, Roman and canon law, international law, and early American statutes and practitioner guides. Additional information regarding the collection is available from the Special Collections Department.  

For information regarding the scope of the collection and its potential pertinence to individual research needs, please contact:

Jennie Meade
Director of Special Collections
Jacob Burns Law Library

You can find out more about the collections here.

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