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"Legal Texts and the New Philology,'" the Fiftieth Conference on Editorial Problems, convened by Simon Stern (University of Toronto), was held on Friday 20 March and Saturday 21 March 2015 at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto.


The conference will focus and intensify the debate over the changing nature of editorial approaches to legal texts in order to guide the fields of legal history, legal theory, and legal text editing into today's digital environments. If the basis of our legal system depends on communications of authority, and if, as the work of literary critics suggests, the mode of transmission of this authority is unstable, then the work of the new philologists has great significance for legal theorists and practitioners alike. By showing that law is a product of its own materiality -- and is therefore authored by web designers and database engineers and well as by legislators, judges and clerks -- we hope to highlight an overlooked aspect of the legal "textual condition."

Conference Program

The provisional program is listed below; changes in the schedule will be posted as necessary. All sessions will be held in Room FA3 in Falconer House, Faculty of Law, 84 Queens Park, in the University of Toronto (see map for directions).


1:00 pm
• Simon Stern and Maya Bielinski, University of Toronto: "Introduction"

1:15 – 2:30 pm
• Daniel Lee, University of Toronto: "Legal Theory in the Margins"

3:00 – 4:15 pm
• Jonathan Robinson, University of Helsinki, Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies: "Hugo Grotius, Natural Rights, and the Medieval Ius commune"

4:45 – 6:00 pm
• Ryan Greenwood, University of Minnesota Law Library: "Gentili, Grotius and the Form of Early Modern International Law Treatises"


9:30 – 10:45 am
• Simon Stern, University of Toronto: Margins of Authority: Precedent and Citation in Coke's Institutes

11:00 am – 12:15 pm
• Michael Hoeflich, University of Kansas: The Rise of the Legal Editor in the Antebellum United States

12:15 – 1:30: Lunch Break

1:30 – 2:45 pm
• Robert Spoo, University of Tulsa: Legal Paratexts: Binding Legitimacy into the Literary Text

3:00 pm
• Simon Stern and Maya Bielinski, University of Toronto


There is no registration fee. To register, please visit the conference site. For details and abstracts, please contact Simon Stern.