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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 June 2015

Elizabeth Dale*
Affiliation:
University of Florida
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Abstract

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Copyright © the American Society for Legal History, Inc. 2015 

This issue of Law and History Review begins with an example of applied legal history. The first article, by Aoife Duffy, uses recently opened archives to explore the history of colonial detention camps in twentieth century Kenya. Duffy's study connects the bits and pieces from those records to trace out the “conceptual and material” consequences of colonial detention laws, focusing in particular on the ways in which those laws created “an architecture of destruction” that permitted violent practices to be concealed and whitewashed.

The next article, by Lee Wilson, continues Duffy's focus on colonial legal history. Wilson's study looks at how disputes over property law, particularly debates over the use of escheat, in colonial Jamaica led to an elaborate, trans-Atlantic constitutional debate. She shows that as the colony shifted from a society with slaves to a slave society, questions of property law became paramount. In the process, rights talk clashed with significant shifts in Jamaica's economy.

The next two articles offer new perspectives on the history of crime and policing. The first, by David Thacher, looks at the Central Park Police, set up by Frederick Law Olmsted in the nineteenth century. Thacher's article explores Olmsted's experiments with his park police force, his assumptions about their role in regulating the park, and the regulatory tools he encouraged his police to use. Olmsted, Thacher argues, based his ideas of policing on theories of urban order and urban public space, which were quite distinct from other, contemporaneous theories of policing and public order.

Sascha Auerbach's article looks at Britain's shift from a discretionary, moralized criminal justice system, to a bureaucratic system at the turn of the twentieth century. Specifically, Auerbach looks at the hitherto unexplored role that police court missionaries played in helping bring about this shift. His article demonstrates how and why police court missionaries helped pioneer that criminal justice reform. At the same time, his focus on police missionaries allows him to integrate the experiences of working-class women more completely into current analysis of criminal justice.

The last two articles look at issues of matrimonial law. The first, by Alison Lefkowitz, uses the issue of same-sex infidelity to complicate our understanding of divorce litigation in post-World War II America. Surprisingly, she finds that whereas judges found same-sex infidelity by women grounds for a fault-based divorce, they seemed unwilling to use claims of same-sex infidelity by men as grounds for divorce. Lefkowitz argues that the distinction arose as judges tried to enforce what they saw as husbands’ unique obligations and responsibilities in the postwar world.

Lefkowitz’ study is followed by Okezi Otovo's article on consanquinity in Brazil between 1890 and 1930. The article is a history of Brazil that looks at the rise of legal medicine, evolving theories of the proper grounds for the regulation of marriage, and the political and social anxieties that arose as Brazil entered a new political era in the 1890s. It is also a study of Brazil in the world, one that looks at how “men of science” and legal scholars in Brazil brought continental and international debates into play.

This issue concludes with a selection of book reviews. We invite readers to also consider American Society for Legal History's electronic discussion list, H-Law, and visit the Society's website at http://www.legalhistorian.org/. Readers may also be interested in viewing the journal online, at http://journals.cambridge.org/LHR, where they may read and search issues of the journal.

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