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Legal Historians Take Stock

Three generations of leading scholars from a dozen countries gathered at Boston College Law School September 21 and 22 to debate the recent past and future of legal history. The collective effort combined rigor and ambition to set a new paradigm to understand how the law of complex societies change in historical time.

The event, “Historiography/Ideology/Law II,” which was cosponsored by BC Law and the Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy, was led by an organizing committee of law professors from BC Law, Yale Law, University of Colorado Law, and University of Virginia Law schools.

Participants offered new understandings of the intellectual, economic, and social history of law and historical legal scholarship. Looking to the future, they examined the most promising ways to comprehend how legal systems have changed over time. While some scholars focused on the place of contextualism in legal history, others focused on the structural aspects of legal evolution.

“Boston College Law School is one of the premiere academic institutions in the field of legal history,” said BC Law Professor Paulo Barrozo, who was among the organizers and panelists. “Last week’s conference confirmed the leadership role the Law School plays in this vital field of legal research and teaching.”

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