There are signs that the culture of English courtrooms was changing in the later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. First, lawyers intervened decisively in criminal trials, transforming the exchange of theatre and counter-theatre to a contest between carefully constructed cases, and effectively silencing lay voices. Second, trials and punishments became a staple of press reportage and comment. Indeed the eighteenth-century explosion of popular trial publishing is important because it raises the intriguing possibility that the non-professional input which had been a feature of courtroom proceedings before the mid-eighteenth century was partly relocated to the ‘public sphere’ of the press.
This symposium seeks to address the coincidence of these events, a conjunction, it is hypothesised, that had important results for the conduct of trials and popular apprehensions of law. Papers should address one or more of the following three principal questions:
• the extent to which legal proceedings may be understood as theatre and counter-theatre, 1700-1850;
• the impact of lawyers’ intervention in the courtroom; and/or
• the role and impact of print media in relation to trials.
If you would like to read a paper, please contact the convenors,
Dr Mike Davis (University of Tasmania)
Professor David Lemmings (University of Adelaide)
attaching a 300-word abstract, by 1 June 2010.
Dr Mike Davis
University of Tasmania
Private Bag 3502
Burnie TAS 7320
Fax: +61 (0)3 6430-4950 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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