About the Hurst Summer Institute

The J. Willard Hurst Summer Institute in Legal History is a biennial event sponsored by the American Society for Legal History (ASLH). It is traditionally held in June in Madison, Wisconsin, with support from the Institute for Legal Studies of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where the late Professor James Willard Hurst was a founding member of the modern field of legal history.

Each Hurst Institute is organized and chaired by a well-known legal historian and includes visiting senior scholars who lead specialized sessions. An ASLH committee reviews applications and selects 12 early career scholars from around the world as Institute Fellows. The Fellows participate in seminars, meet other legal historians, and present their own work. The 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. Fellowships are supported by dedicated funds donated in honor of leading mentors in the field, by the alumni of past Hurst fellows, and for other worthy ASLH goals that reflect the Institute's commitment to supporting early career scholars.

Scholars in law, history and other disciplines pursuing research on legal history of any part of the world and all time periods are eligible to apply. The seminar and written materials are conducted in English, and we cannot consider non-anglophone applications. Applicants with no formal training in legal history are encouraged to apply. Traditionally, the selection committee has sought to create a cohort of fellows with varying degrees of familiarity with the field, and welcome applications from scholars at an early stage of their career (beginning faculty members, doctoral students who have completed or almost completed their dissertations, and J.D. graduates).

Please visit the Hurst Institute Archives (UW Law School Repository) for more information about J. Willard Hurst, the legal history tradition at UW Law School and previous Hurst sessions.

2023 Hurst Summer Institute

The 12th Hurst Summer Institute took place June 18-30, 2023 (see ASLH announcement).

It was chaired by Sarah Barringer Gordon, Arlin M. Adams professor of constitutional law and professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania, and Michelle McKinley, the Bernard B. Kliks professor of law at the University of Oregon School of Law.

Previous Sessions

Previous Hurst Institute sessions have been led by distinguished legal history scholars, including Mitra Sharafi (University of Wisconsin), Lawrence Friedman (Stanford University), Robert W. Gordon (Yale and Stanford universities), Barbara Young Welke (University of Minnesota), Hendrik Hartog (Princeton University), and Lauren Benton (Yale University).

2021 Hurst Summer Institute

The 2021 Hurst Institute took place June 13-26, 2021 and was chaired by Sarah Barringer Gordon, Arlin M. Adams professor of constitutional law and professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania, and Lauren Benton, Barton M. Biggs professor of history and professor of law at Yale University.

Visit the Hurst Institute Archives (UW Law School Repository) for information about previous Hurst sessions.

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