Some Recent Calls for Papers

Below are three calls for papers and proposals that have come into our inbox recently. None of these are specifically about early modern prisons, but they touch on related subjects that might interest readers of our blog. 

If  you have a call for papers or a conference that you think ought to be publicized on this blog, please tell us! 

Third Annual Legal Studies Graduate Conference at Brown University, “Law, Language and the Archive,”  April 27th – April 28th, 2018.  

Language is a conduit of information, a reflection of the social and political constructions of bygone eras, as well as our present. It can be deployed in the service of beauty, expression, liberation, punishment, control, and /or shame. Moreover, language, an essential tool of the law, is ordered and organized according to an often contradictory sedimentation of norms, assumptions, and customs. As legal scholars, we employ a number of methodologies to confront and interpret the messy entanglements of language, law, and lived experience. The legal archive, like law and language, “straddles the material and the ideational,”1 sometimes tracking these myriad modes of legal speech, sometimes itself symbolically producing ‘the law’ as a heavily guarded and precise linguistic apparatus, filled with loopholes and traps.

The Brown Legal Studies initiative invites paper submissions on the subject of “Law, Language, and the Archive” for its third annual graduate student conference. At a moment when important political and legal institutions in the United States are challenged from within and without, our conference will consider the interaction of language and the law, contemporarily and in broader historical and comparitist contexts, and the ways we, as scholars, interact and interpret the language of the law in the archival sources we use. We hope to foster interdisciplinary conversation and so encourage papers from any discipline, including (but not limited to): Jurisprudence, History, Ethnic Studies, Philosophy, Anthropology, Literature, Classics, Political Science, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Economics, and Sociology. We welcome abstracts addressing any geographical area or historical period. Possible topics of discussion may include:

  • law and / as literature
  • jurisdiction
  • ethical, political, and vulnerability considerations of legal archival work
  • legal narrative
  • legal claims as speech acts
  • queering the legal archive
  • deletions, ellisions, absences, silences, and hauntings in the legal archive
  • legal testimony
  • bearing witness in the court and the archive
  • expressing/liberating gender, race, ethnicity, nationhood, and indigeneity
  • disciplining/containing gender, race, ethnicity, nationhood, and indigeneity
  • epistemology/ways of knowing and the law
  • fugitivity in the legal archive

Please submit a 250-500 word abstract, along with a copy of your C.V., by Thursday March 1, 2018. Submissions should be sent to . If you have questions, please contact Anne Gray Fischer ( ) or Sherri Cummings (


NACBS Early Modern Workshop (for graduate students and early-career scholars):  “Populations: counting, classifying, moving and managing groups of people in the early modern period”

This workshop will explore the topic of “populations” in the early modern period. How, by whom, and to what ends were groups of people defined or treated as populations? What were the intellectual and practical consequences of such classifications? What historical or historiographical legacies have they had? How do historians’ definitions of “population” replicate or resist early modern categories and practices? How do current social-scientific, political, or legal understandings of population help or hinder historical analysis? Papers may address these questions from perspectives including but not limited to migration and colonization; slavery, race and ethnicity; reproduction; medicine and health; religious and national difference; political economy and governance; political arithmetic and information.

The session will include 6-8 pre-circulated papers of 15-25 pages each. Participants will be chosen with a view to the complementarity of their research topics and strong preference will be given to graduate students and early career scholars. Participants must be prepared to submit their papers by September 30, 2018. Each participant will be required to read all papers for the session, and to share written comments on two of the papers, prior to the conference. The session itself will include brief presentations and discussions of each paper, followed by a more extensive conversation between participants and the audience around common questions and themes.

Those interested must submit a CV and a one-page abstract to Rachel Weil ( and Ted McCormick ( by MARCH 5.


Call for papers for a panel to be proposed on  “Prison, Power, and Protest in Black History, “proposed panel for the upcoming 103rd meeting of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) in Indianapolis, IN OCT 3-7 2018

This call for papers is for a proposed panel for the upcoming 103rd meeting of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) in Indianapolis, IN between OCT 3-7 2018. (The panel has not yet been submitted to ASALH and I am currently collecting abstracts for the submission.) Once assembled, the panel will focus on themes of black legal confinement across the 20th century, and attempts to resist, protest, and dismantle unfair systems of incarceration. Papers on convict labor, imprisonment, parole, and execution are welcomed including work on broader themes such as mass incarceration, the war on drugs, and sentencing disparities. More specifically, papers that explore the depth of the experience of convicts, resistance to the impact of incarceration, and movements, ideologies, or cultures of opposition, are most fitting. Individual presentations will be 15-20 minutes in length with a question and answer period at the end of the panel.

To apply as a panelist, please submit a CV and a short (500 word or less) abstract of the paper you would like to present by MARCH 10 to ( Submission of the full panel proposal to ASALH is due APRIL 1, so papers will be selected before that date. Further details about the exact time and date of the panel will be determined after the panel is accepted by ASALH. However, it will certainly take place during the time of the conference between OCT 3-7 2018. To discuss your submission, or if you have any queries, please contact the panel organizer and panelist: Dr. Douglas Flowe, Assistant Professor of History, Washington University in St. Louis, :

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