Owning the Past: Whose Past? Whose Present?

Date(s) of Conference:

December 13-15, 2010


Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society


The use and study of the past is constantly being refashioned and reinterpreted to construct meaning in the present, imparting understandings of a common but chaotic humanity. Because everyone and no one ‘owns’ history, the ownership of historical events and the right to speak of them remains deeply contested. What are the outcomes and practical challenges surrounding the construction of historical consciousness through and about law? Whose past is told and by whom? How does law’s past influence history’s present? And is there any such thing as the orderly evolution of legal ideas? This conference invites papers on the subject of ownership in history and law, and may include contributions on any of several broad themes: the contestation of memory; the ethics of representation and remembrance; the commoditization and consumption of traumatic pasts; transcultural and transgenerational trauma; new technologies of historical documentation; testimony and bearing witness; Indigenous knowledge; identity politics; citizenship; the ethics of reproducing historical narratives; colonialism and hegemony; ‘dark’ tourism and artefacts of law; and new legal imaginings and the contest with the legal past.

Contact Information:




Comments are closed.