Hilary Bernstein

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Talk: Lawyers and Legal Consciousness in Early Modern Europe: A Cultural History

4080 HSSB UC Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, United States

Michael P. Breen is the author of Law, City, and King: Legal Culture, Municipal Politics and State Formation in Early Modern Dijon (2007) and numerous articles on lawyers and legal culture in early modern France. In this talk, he will address the following question: “Historians have long believed that lawyers played a central role in the dissemination of legal knowledge and the ideal of the ‘rule of law’ in early modern Europe. Recent scholarship, however, ...

Talk: Missing Babies and Tacit Tolerance of Infanticide in Early Modern Europe

4080 HSSB UC Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, United States

Aggressive criminal prosecution of unwed mothers who killed their newborns in early modern Europe (1550-1750) has led historians to assume that Europe was less tolerant of illegitimacy and infanticide than other pre-modern societies, including China and Japan. New research throws this assumption into question. In early modern Geneva, authorities often turned a blind eye to the untimely deaths and abandonment of unwanted bastards. These findings suggest that Europeans took a more practical approach to managing ...