2007 Hurst Summer Institute in Legal History

Fellowship Announcement updated 1/15/07

2007 Hurst Summer Institute in Legal History
University of Wisconsin Law School – Madison, Wisconsin 

Tentative Dates: June 10-22, 2007
** Note: Application Deadline extended to Feb. 1, 2007 **

Cosponsored by The American Society for Legal History
and The Institute for Legal Studies


The American Society for Legal History and the Institute for Legal Studies at the University of Wisconsin Law School are pleased to invite applications for the fourth  J. Willard Hurst Summer Institute in Legal History. The purpose of the Hurst Summer Institute is to advance the approach to legal scholarship fostered by J. Willard Hurst in his teaching, mentoring, and scholarship. The "Hurstian perspective" emphasizes the importance of understanding law in context; it is less concerned with the characteristics of law as developed by formal legal institutions than with the way in which positive law manifests itself as the "law in action." The Hurst Summer Institute assists scholars from law, history, and other disciplines in pursuing research in legal history. While this event has been held biennially, it may move to a three-year cycle.

The previous three Hurst Institute sessions were led by distinguished legal history scholars Lawrence M. Friedman, Marion Rice Kirkwood Professor of Law at Stanford University, and Robert W. Gordon, Chancellor Kent Professor of Law and Legal History at Yale University.  We are pleased to announce that Barbara Welke, Associate Professor in History and Law at the University of Minnesota, will lead the 2007 session. Guest scholars will include Lawrence Friedman as well as Dirk Hartog, Holly Brewer, and Margot Canaday. The two week program is structured but informal, and features discussions of core readings in legal history and analysis of the work of the participants in the Institute.

The general format includes daily sessions Monday-Friday that run through early afternoon, a few scheduled social events, and ample free time for additional discussion, reading and research. Fellows will have the opportunity to conduct archival work at the Wisconsin Historical Society. The Society holds a vast array of primary documents and is particularly strong in areas involving nineteenth and twentieth century social movements and labor activism. In addition, the Library possesses an excellent collection of federal and state government material which is largely un-cataloged. The Society offers open stacks, liberal copying policies, and is open six days a week.

The ASLH Hurst Selection Committee will select up to twelve Fellows to participate in this event. 

Applicant Qualifications

Preference will be given to applications from scholars in the early stage of their career (beginning faculty members, doctoral students who have completed or almost completed their dissertations, and J.D. graduates with appropriate backgrounds). More advanced scholars may also apply.

Fellowship Requirements

Fellows are expected to be in residence for the entire two-week term of the Institute, to participate in all activities of the Institute, and to give an informal works-in-progress presentation in the second week of the Institute.

Fellowship Terms

The Institute for Legal Studies will pay for approved travel expenses and will provide a private hotel room for each fellow at The Lowell Inn and Conference Center, located on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. Most meals will be provided.

Application Process

To apply, submit the following materials and arrange to have two letters of recommendation sent to the Institute for Legal Studies, Hurst Selection Committee, UW Law School, 975 Bascom Mall, Madison, WI, 53706-1399. Please submit the original and six copies (total = 7) of your application packet, which must include the following:

  1. Cover sheet with your name and complete contact information.
  2. Curriculum Vitae.
  3. Statement of Purpose (maximum 500 words) describing your current work, specific research interests, and what you hope to gain by attending the Institute.
  4. Estimated travel costs (airfare or mileage plus any other travel related expenses).

It is not necessary to arrange for multiple copies of the letters of recommendation.

Deadlines for the 2007 Session 

Applications will be accepted through February 1, 2007.

Decisions will be announced by March 15, 2007.

Additional Information

Questions about the Hurst Summer Institute may be directed to the Hurst Institute Coordinator at the University of Wisconsin Law School: Pam Hollenhorst, Associate Director, Institute for Legal Studies, at pshollen@wisc.edu or ils@law.wisc.edu.

The Institute for Legal Studies offers systematic support for research and associated scholarly activity related to the "law in action," as distinguished from doctrinal analysis of the "law on the books." The Institute promotes the exchange, testing, and dissemination of ideas at the UW Law School through colloquia, workshops, conferences, and the hosting of visitors. For more information about ILS, Legal History and comments from participating fellows at the 2001, 2003 and 2005 Hurst Summer Institutes, consult the ILS webpage at http://www.law.wisc.edu/ils/.

The American Society for Legal History is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to fostering scholarship, teaching, and study concerning the law and institutions of all legal systems. More information about ASLH is available at http://www.h-net.msu.edu/~law/ASLH/aslh.htm.

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