Ada Kuskowski (Penn), "Foundational Legal Documents in an Era of Customary Law: Thinking about the Middle Ages"
Monday, September 20, 2021, 5:15pm, in person and via Zoom*
*For Zoom information, please please contact Aylin Malcolm.
Our speaker writes:
From the great codifications such as Justinian’s Corpus Iuris Civilis (529-534 C.E.) to celebrated legislation such as Magna Carta (1215), the history of law is often understood and written as a history of foundational documents. But how should we think about foundational documents at a time when legal culture was so dominated by customary law? Customary law formed the basis of the lay courts, and consisted of rules and procedure that developed from practice. This practice was increasingly shaped by written rules and administrative practices in the twelfth and thirteenth century, it was largely not a practice based on Ur-texts. This talk will examine early bodies of customary law composed in thirteenth-century Northern France in order to think about what a foundational legal document meant to a legal culture that did not primarily turn around foundational documents.
About our speaker:
Ada Kuskowski is an assistant professor in the Department of History at the University of Pennsylvania and a fellow at Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies (Fall 2021). She is a medieval historian and a legal historian and currently finishing revisions on her book manuscript, Vernacular Law: Writing and the Reinvention of Customary Law in Medieval France.
Talks will be held live, in person, in the Class of 78 Pavilion, 6th floor, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library. They will also be available via Zoom (please contact us for details). All are welcome. If you would like to receive details on future talks, please sign up for our listserv using this link or visit the Workshop website.
The Workshop in the History of Material Texts is supported by the School of Arts and Sciences through the Department of English and hosted by the Penn Libraries. The co-directors of the seminar are Professor Zachary Lesser (English), Jerry Singerman (Penn Press, Emeritus), and John Pollack (Kislak Center, Penn Libraries).
Associated with the workshop is the book series in Material Texts published by the University of Pennsylvania Press, which includes many monographs that have emerged from presentations given at the workshop over the years.
For more information, please contact Aylin Malcolm.