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Fall 2009 Legal History Workshop
Seminar Guest Schedule Descriptions

Select Fridays, 10:10 a.m. – 12:10 p.m.
Mondale Hall, Room 55

Friday Sept. 25: Tamar Herzog, Professor of Latin American and Spanish History, Stanford University, "Defining Empires: Spain and Portugal in the Americas (17th-18th century)"

Description: From late fifteenth to the early nineteenth century, Spain and Portugal struggled to define the extension of their American domains. Having first secured papal bulls that gave them a monopoly in certain areas and having signed a bilateral treaty (the Treaty of Tordesillas, 1494), for the next 500 years the monarchs, officials, experts, military men, religious personal and inhabitants of these two powers could not agree what this monopoly meant and how it was to be implemented.

This paper will examine (1) why agreement was so hard to reach (2) how the lack of agreement affected individuals living on the border. It seeks to understand how the rights of Indians were incorporated (or not) in these debates, and how rights originated in papal bulls and treaties interacted with Roman Law doctrines of actual occupation. Last but not least, it argues that the conflict between Spain and Portugal forced both parties to define who Spaniards and Portuguese were, and how Indians became either. It will contend that law and its interpretation affected the ways individuals living on the border acted and that their understanding of the law, mainly the right to land but also the right to citizenship, defined the territorial jurisdiction of their respective countries. The paper will end with a brief conclusion regarding the larger implications of these questions.

Friday Oct. 2: Margot Canaday, Assistant Professor of History, Princeton University, The Straight State: Sexuality and Citizenship in Twentieth-Century America (Princeton University Press, 2009)

Description: When and how did the federal government begin to care about homosexuality? Focusing on key arenas of the twentieth century state – immigration, the military, and the welfare bureaucracy – The Straight State argues that federal awareness of perversion and action against it emerged gradually in tandem with the rise of the bureaucratic state. In the early-twentieth century, federal officials were slow to implement policies specifically addressing homosexuality. To the extent that homosexuality was policed, it was generally through mechanisms aimed at other sorts of problems: poverty, violence, or vice, for example. But beginning in the later years of the New Deal and continuing through the post-war period, an intensified federal response to homosexuality dovetailed the federal government's own steady rise as the primary locus of state action. In contrast to the earlier period, policies were enacted that explicitly used homosexuality to define who could enter the country and be naturalized, who could serve in the military, and who could collect state benefits. Indeed, a homo/heterosexual binary was inscribed in federal citizenship policy during these years. Yet as The Straight State shows, regulation itself changed what was regulated: the state did not simply implicate but rather constituted homosexuality in the construction of a stratified citizenry. In setting the terms for inclusion and exclusion in citizenship, in other words, the state also helped to set the terms for homosexuality. Note: If you are unable to read the book in advance, Princeton University Press includes the introduction on its website:

Friday Oct. 16: Christopher Capozzola, Associate Professor of History, MIT, "A Tale of Two Treasons: Adjudicating War Crimes and Collaboration in Manila, 1945"

Description: This paper examines the trial of Japanese General Yamashita Tomoyuke—and the unsuccessful Supreme Court appeal in Yamashita v. United States that preceded his August 1945 execution—in the local context of postwar Manila. Based on U.S., Philippine, and Japanese public records, this paper explores the conflicts, both local and geopolitical, that shaped America’s approach to transitional justice in postwar Asia. Considering Yamashita’s trial together with the indictments of thousands of Philippine collaborators before the Filipino People’s Court demonstrates the limits of transitional justice and the endurance of colonial legal practices on the eve of decolonization in Asia.

Friday Oct. 23: Karl Shoemaker, Professor of Law and Associate Professor of History, University of Wisconsin, Madison, "Sanctuary for Crimes in the Western Legal Tradition: How to Get Away with Murder"

Description: Every major European legal tradition prior to the sixteenth century recognized some form of protection for criminals who fled to a church or other designated sacred place. In its basic form, medieval sanctuary granted a wrongdoer who fled to a church protection from forcible removal as well as immunity from capital or corporal punishment. The fugitive might be required to pay a fine or perform penance, but almost without exception his body and his life would be spared. Sanctuary protections are replete in late ancient and early medieval legal traditions, finding recognition in imperial Roman law, in early-medieval European feuding traditions, in the English common law, and in the Roman-canonical tradition of late medieval Europe. Despite its longstanding presence in all the major medieval legal traditions, sanctuary became the object of intense debates in the late medieval and early modern period and was eventually universally abolished. This project seeks to understand the historical conditions under which sanctuary thrived, and to explain the historical transformations that led to its abolition in early modern England and Europe.

Note: Professor Shoemaker is also one of the presenters at a one-day conference organized by the Center for Medieval Studies, "Law and Religion in the Global Middle Ages," Saturday Oct. 24, 9-5. For information on the conference, see http://events.tc.umn.edu/event.xml?occurrence=418843

Friday Nov. 6: Rebecca M. McLennan, Associate Professor of History, University of California, Berkeley, The Crisis of Imprisonment: Protest, Politics, and the Making of the American Penal State, 1776-1941 (Cambridge University Press, 2008), Intro., Ch. 1-4, 8

Description: In the Age of Jackson, private enterprise set up shop in the American penal system. Working hand in glove with state government, contractors in both the North and the South would go on to put more than half a million imprisoned men, women, and youth to hard, sweated toil for private gain by 1900. Held captive, stripped of their rights, and subject to lash and paddle, convict laborers churned out vast quantities of goods and revenue, in some years generating the equivalent of more than $30 billion worth of work. By the 1880s, however, a growing mass of Americans came to regard the prison labor system as immoral and unbefitting of a free republic: it fostered torture and other abuses, degraded free citizen-workers, corrupted government and the legal system, and stifled the supposedly ethical purposes of punishment. The Crisis of Imprisonment tells the story of this controversial system of penal servitude: how it came into being, how it worked, how the popular campaigns for its abolition were ultimately victorious, and how it shaped and continues to haunt the American penal system.

Note: If you are unable to read the book in advance, Cambridge University Press includes the introduction on its website: http://www.ewidgetsonline.com/cup/widget.aspx?bookid=bgUkRc%2b4RQRGUMaew3LrBg==&buyNowLink=http://www.cambridge.org/us/catalogue/AddToBasket.asp?isbn=9780521537834

Note: McLennan will also be presenting a paper at the Law School Faculty Work-In-Progress on Thurs. Nov. 5, 12:15-1:15, Lindquist Vennum Conference Room, Mondale Hall. That paper is titled "The Convict’s Two Bodies: Civil and Natural Death in American Legal Punishment"

Friday Nov. 20: Peggy Pascoe, Beekman Professor of Northwest and Pacific History and Professor of Ethnic Studies, University of Oregon, What Comes Naturally: Miscegenation Law and the Making of Race in America (Oxford University Press, 2009)

Description: What Comes Naturally shows how the invention of the word "miscegenation" and the claim that interracial marriage was "unnatural" were used to justify the passage, spread, and enforcement of laws banning interracial marriage. Miscegenation laws laid the groundwork for America’s post-Civil War systems of white supremacy and racial segregation. When they were at their height, between 1890 and 1948, they covered 30 American states and banned marriage between whites and blacks, Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, and American Indians. America’s obsession with preventing interracial marriage was intimately linked to another, even more revealing, story, for the label "unnatural" held the extraordinary power that it did because ideas about the nature of race were interwoven with ideas about the nature of gender and sexuality. This book shows that miscegenation law was a national—and multiracial—project; that it was a legal factory for the production of race in everything from public opinion to criminal prosecutions to the structuring of families, and that it was inextricably tied to gender and sexuality. Finally, What Comes Naturally raises questions about what is and isn’t really natural or unnatural in order to expose the powerfully pernicious effects these labels have had in America’s past—and in America’s present.

*NOTE: This lecture will be held in Room 262.