2014 Outreach Grant Report: Legal History Consortium

On June 1-2, 2014 an SHCY Outreach Grant helped the Legal History Consortium hold a conference on conference “The Law and the Child in Historical Perspective” in Minneapolis at the University of Minnesota Law School. The conference was the fourth sponsored by the Consortium, which includes: the University of Minnesota Law School and History Department, Indiana University Maurer School of Law, University of Michigan Law School, University of Chicago Law School, University of Pennsylvania Law School and History Department, and University of Illinois Law School. It was established to nurture the work of beginning and early career (advanced graduate students and pre-tenure) scholars in the field of legal history, focusing each conference on a topic of special significance in the field of legal history.

This year’s conference focused on the legal history of children and youth. It attracted emerging scholars working in a broad range of fields geographically, chronologically, and topically. We could accept only 15 of the 57 submissions for the day and half conference. They were divided into five panels with three papers each. All participants read the papers and participated in the discussions; Consortium members served as commentators and discussion leaders. The results were terrific.

The papers ranged chronologically from the 18th through the 20th centuries and included an expansive geographic range with papers focusing on the early English Empire, Latin America, Southeast Asia, Colonial Taiwan, the Ottoman Empire, and the U. S. We heard papers on childhood apostasy, students’ rights, child welfare, child refugees, child immigrants, children’s and parental rights under colonial regimes, and mandatory vaccination. In addition, Michael Grossberg presented a keynote address: “Why Kids Matter: Age as a Useful Category of Analysis in Legal History” that provided an expansive analytical foundation that framed the conference as a whole.

The conference website is available through this link:  http://gooch010.wix.com/law-child-conference

The Society’s essential support of $1,500 was supplemented by a grant from the ASLH ($4,500), $2,000 from the University of Minnesota Law School, $500 from the University of Minnesota History Department, $500 each from the University of Michigan, Chicago, Penn, and Indiana University, and $250 each from the two collaboratives at the University of Minnesota focused on the history of childhood.  Our total cost for the conference was $11,600.

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