This morning's mail brought a very exciting volume, the September 2011 issue of the UC Irvine Law Review, which has a lengthy symposium on "Law As ..." Theory and Method in Legal History. This reminds me of just how many different directions legal history scholarship is pointing. I mean, this issue is more than 500 pages long! There's a lot that ought to be said about this, but right now I'd like to crib a little from Catherine Fisk and Bob Gordon's introduction and say that they divided the articles into five categories of "law as" -- law as the language of social relations; law as consciousness; law as enhanced ritual and as spectacle; law as sovereignty; and law as economic/cultural activity.
My interests run these days to how law serves as a gauge of culture and also as an important technology, as well as an instrument of power and governor of it (to a lesser extent). And I'm also mightily interested in the ways that legal scholarship can be applied to immediate issues (what is increasingly called "applied legal history.") I hope to write some more -- perhaps this summer when there's time! -- about the many directions legal historians are going. I have the feeling this field is pointing out in so many directions. I think you'll really enjoy the articles! Here they are: