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Property Rights Topic of Hendricks Law and History Lecture

On Thursday, September 27, Lauren Benton, professor of law and history and dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at New York University, will deliver the 2012 Hendricks Lecture in Law and History.

The lecture will begin at 3 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons on the campus of Washington and Lee University. The event is free and open to the public.

The title of Dean Benton’s lecture is “’To secure the Rights of Owners’:  Planter Crimes, Prize Courts, and the British Empire of Law.”

Dean Benton’s research focuses on the legal history of European empires. She has been especially interested in understanding how imperial legal conflicts helped to form and shape a global legal order. This broad topic has encompassed research on legal pluralism in empires; maritime law (including piracy); the formation of imperial sovereignty; and the interactions of indigenous law and the law of colonizers.

She has examined case studies from South Asia, Latin America, Africa, North America, and Australia, though she concentrates especially on the legal history of the Atlantic world. She is currently working on two projects: a legal history of abolition and a reassessment of the imperial content of Latin American constitutionalism.

Dean Benton’s publications include numerous scholarly articles and several books, including A Search for Sovereignty: Law and Geography in European Empires, 1400-1900 and Law and Colonial Cultures: Legal Regimes in World History, 1400-1900, both published by Cambridge University Press. The latter work was the winner of the 2003 World History Association Book Award and the 2003 James Willard Hurst Prize.

The Law and History lecture series was endowed by alumnus Pete Hendricks (’66A, ’69L), who has a private practice in Atlanta specializing in land use zoning and government permitting. A history major himself, Hendricks also endowed the Ollie Crenshaw Prize in History at the University several years ago in honor of his favorite professor.