CFP for the Sixteenth Century Society Conference (2020): Early Modern English Law and Culture

Hayley Cotter's picture
Call for Papers
February 16, 2020
Maryland, United States
Subject Fields: 
Early Modern History and Period Studies, Literature, Law and Legal History, Cultural History / Studies


Early Modern English Law and Culture

A Session at the Sixteenth Century Society Conference, Baltimore, Maryland, 29 October-1 November 2020

“We live in and by the law,” wrote legal philosopher Ronald Dworkin in 1986. “It makes us what we are: citizens and employees and doctors and spouses and people who own things. It is sword, shield, and menace” (Law’s Empire, vii). Early Modern English Law and Culture considers how people in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England obtained their information about the law, and how, in turn, this law impacted their lives. The period witnessed a proliferation of printed legal material—statutes, royal proclamations, reports, treatises—but individuals also encountered law in other mediums, such as poetry and drama.

This panel invites twenty-minute papers that address any issue on the spectrum of early modern English law and culture. Interdisciplinary approaches are especially encouraged. Possible topics include:

  • Law and early modern English literature
  • Allegory and justice
  • Shakespeare and the law
  • Printing and English law
  • Humanism and English law
  • Common law and civil law in early modern England
  • Law and authority
  • Fictional depictions of lawyers, trials, or crime

To propose a paper, please send a 250-word abstract, one-page CV, and current affiliation to Hayley Cotter at by 16 February 2020. For more information about the Sixteenth Century Society & Conference, see

Contact Info: 

Hayley Cotter, University of Massachusetts Amherst

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