Author Archives: Rachel Holmes

University of Cambridge: Maitland Studentship in Legal History

This studentship in Legal History, which can include Law and Literature, might be of interest to junior members of the Institute of Legal and Constitutional Research or to the students of members

The Managers of the F.W. Maitland Memorial Fund are able to offer one maintenance-only Studentship for Home/EU, or Overseas/Islands students applying to undertake doctoral research in legal history at the University of Cambridge, starting in October 2016. Studentships are tenable in the Faculty of Law, the Faculty of History, or the Faculty of English.

Applications will be accepted from students applying directly to read for the PhD degree only. Studentships are tenable for up to three years. Continued tenure of the Studentship will be subject to satisfactory academic progress, and to the meeting of any other conditions set by the University for continuation of study. In making decisions on the award or continuation of studentships, the Managers will take into account funding available from other sources.

The maximum annual value of the Studentship will be the University of Cambridge’s minimum maintenance requirement for PhD students, which for the academic year 2015-16 is £12750. Candidates wishing to be considered for this Studentship should complete the studentship application form and send it directly to Mrs Alison Hirst, University of Cambridge, Faculty of Law, 10 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DZ or by email to by 30 January 2016. Candidates should also apply for admission as a graduate student by the relevant PhD course closing date in the Faculty of Law, the Faculty of History or the Faculty of English.


“DIVERGING PATHS? The Shapes of Power and Institutions in Medieval Christendom and Islam” RECEIVES STELLAR REVIEW

Diverging Paths? The Shapes of Power and Institutions in Medieval Christendom and Islam” (Brill, 2014), received a stellar review to be included in the “The Medieval Review”.

The book is edited by John Hudson, Director of the Institute of Legal and Constitutional Research (ILCR), and long-time friend of St Andrews Ana Rodríguez (CCHS-CSIC). It emerges from work undertaken in the related projects “Diverging Paths” and “Power and Institutions in Medieval Islam and Christendom“, and includes contributions from John Hudson, and Caroline Humfress.

From the forthcoming review by Thomas W. Barton (University of San Diego):

This sophisticated volume illustrates the impressive, thought-provoking results an accomplished, diverse group of scholars can produce in pursuit of a simple and open-ended yet ultimately difficult and complicated question. Based on the level and manner of institutionalization of Islamic and Christian societies in the early medieval period, one would have expected their respective development by the late Middle Ages to be the reverse from what,Diverging Paths in fact, transpired. For example, whereas Christendom witnessed the development of sophisticated medieval states and other exclusive economic and political organizations, Islamic societies were seemingly prevented by the nature of Islamic law from developing similarly elitist institutions. How can scholars account for this unexpected reversal in “institutionalisation and institutional continuity” (xi)? Funded by Spain’s Ministry of Science and Technology, a gathering of handpicked experts on premodern Islamic and Christian societies from around the world (but predominately Europe) participated in a number of meetings convoked by Ana Rodríguez and Eduardo Manzano at their Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) in Madrid between 2009 and 2013. The project took the same name now borne by this handsome volume and pursued a fascinating and timely inquiry into the comparative institutional development of societies of the premodern Mediterranean, a topic that has of course interested historians for generations. Yet with a plethora of highly trained and interested experts and arguably more collaboration between scholars working on the formerly much too isolated Islamic and Christian sides of the Mediterranean world (encouraged by numerous and proliferating networking associations), academia has never been better prepared to tackle such a project.

It is uncommon to find an edited volume for which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Nevertheless, such is the case with Diverging Paths?, which manifests an impressive degree of synergy among its widely varied contributions. Nearly every essay could stand alone as a significant contribution to its respective field, yet the individual arguments become all the more intriguing and meaningful when presented within the broader context and comparative framework generated by the volume. This cumulative effect must be at least partly the result of sustained collaboration by these scholars over several years, enabling them to tweak their theoretical approaches and assumptions and ruminate adequately over the meanings of their results. It is also clearly owing to the hard work of the editors, who were evidently committed to expending the additional thought and work to generate the introductory and concluding materials necessary to tie these diverse studies together into a more meaningful aggregate for their readership. In sum, this well-presented volume offers its readers an array of perspectives on a subset of the comparative historical issues that are intriguing premodern scholars in a mode that will be challenging yet still accessible to non-specialists, while both highly engaging and valuable for experts.

When published, a full version of the review will be available here.

*This post has been very slightly adapted for the ILCR from a post written by Lydia Hayes for the St Andrews Institute of Mediaeval Studies (SAIMS) blog.


Reading Group: Interpreting Literature, Law, and Constitution (I)

Tuesday 6 October, 12:30-2 pm
Old Seminar Room, 71 South Street, School of History

The first CMEMLL Reading Group and the first meeting of the Institute of Legal And Constitutional Research will take place next Tuesday lunchtime (6th October). We’ll meet in the Old Seminar Room on the first floor of 71 South Street at 12.30pm for a sandwich lunch, with the Reading Group on ‘Interpreting Literature, Law, and Constitution (I)’ starting soon after 1pm and finishing in time for people to teach at 2pm.

The Reading Group will involve an introduction by John Hudson and Lorna Hutson followed by discussion on the theme of ‘Literature, Law and Constitution’.

The background reading is Chapter 1 of Christopher Warren, Literature and the Law of Nations, 1580-1680 (Oxford: OUP, 2015), available at:

We look forward to seeing you there.


CMEMLL Conference: Emotions in the Courtroom

3 – 4 May, 2015
St John’s House, 71 South Street, St Andrews 

The recent surge of interest in the history of emotions has seen medievalists uncover a broad range of new source material recording the affective lives of Europeans in the Middle Ages. A parallel growth of interest in crime and judicial records from ecclesiastical and secular courts has identified these as excellent sources and made clear that the courtroom could be a locus for emotionally charged events. This one and a half day interdisciplinary symposium brings together scholars of law, literature and history to examine the role that emotions played in legal conduct and procedure.

The symposium is free of charge but pre-booking is required before 25th April, 2015. For pre-booking and information, contact:

The symposium has been generously supported by:

  • ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions (Australia)
  • The Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Law and Literature, University of St Andrews
  • The Royal Society of Edinburgh
  • Power and Institutions in Medieval Islam and Christendom (PIMIC)


Kimberley-Joy Knight (CHE, The University of Sydney)

Jamie Page (University of Durham)

John Hudson (University of St Andrews)


Emotions in the Courtroom