Symposium on Comparative Early Modern Legal History

Symposium on Comparative Early Modern Legal History

Symposium on Comparative Early Modern Legal History: The Struggle for Land: Property, Territory, and Jurisdiction in Early Modern Europe and the Americas Date: Friday, April 8, 2011 Location: Newberry Library, Chicago Organized by: Tamar Herzog (Stanford University) and Richard J. Ross (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) The struggle to possess and control land, both as property and as jurisdictional territory, was central to the formation of early modern European societies as well as their colonial domains. This conference will look at how Europeans and indigenous peoples defined the right to land. We will examine how so-called European expansion influenced the conceptualization of property and territorial jurisdiction and the relationship between them. Conference participants may explore how notions of property and territoriality changed over time; and how colonial needs and the encounter with new cultures reshaped these notions. In what ways did “international competition” and the emergence of an “international law” (to use an anachronism) modify property and jurisdiction? How did economic, social, and political developments influence new ideas and experiences regarding the land? In what ways did these ideas and experiences shape practical strategies for claiming land and asserting rights to govern it and profit from it? We are particularly eager to know whether these encounters encouraged, consciously or not, borrowing between different European legal systems as well as between settlers and indigenous peoples. How was the movement and refashioning of legal knowledge bound up with the movement of peoples and refashioning of modes of control over land? We would like to encourage an interdisciplinary conversation among lawyers, historians, sociologists, geographers, and literary scholars. Tamar Herzog (Stanford History) and Richard Ross (Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Law and History) organized “The Struggle for Land.” The conference is an offering of the Symposium on Comparative Early Modern Legal History, which gathers yearly under the auspices of the Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library in Chicago in order to explore a particular topic in the comparative legal history of the Atlantic world in the period c.1492-1815. Funding has been provided by the University of Illinois College of Law. Attendance at the Symposium is free and open to the public. Participants and attendees should preregister by contacting the Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library at renaissance@newberry.org or at 312-255-3514. For information about the conference, please consult our website at http://www.newberry.org/renaissance/seminars/legal.html or contact Prof. Richard Ross at Rjross@illinois.edu or at 217-244-7890.

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