The 38th annual conference of the Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society (ANZLHS) invites those who bring an historical perspective on law to consider together the many ways our work has in the past, and continues in the future, to matter.
This conference will examine the value of studying law's history in its many forms.
This historical perspective on law is broadly defined – and includes those who position law in a temporal frame, who write legal history or histories of law, lawmaking, legal ideas, jurisprudence, jurisdiction or legal institutions and their personnel.
Conference theme: Does Law's History Matter? The Politics of our Disciplinary Practices.
Writing law's history has long been understood as a purposeful practice, both necessary and never complete, as the eminent British historian FW Maitland noted more than a century ago. Today, with the flourishing of imperial and postcolonial scholarship, Maitland's advocacy of researching law's past prompts renewed attention to the progenitors, methods and politics of our disciplinary practices.
The imperative of capturing and presenting that knowledge seems greater than ever before. Yet for those of us engaged in historical study it can often appear that what we do, and why we do it, is not always well recognised or as valued as it should be. Simultaneously, questions abound about the implications of our practice and its political impact or purpose.