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Family and Justice in the Archives: Historical Perspectives on Intimacy and the Law

Edited by Peter Gossage & Lisa Moore

A collection of essays that use archival records of legal processes to piece together a picture of daily life across varied identities and lived experiences

Legal archives offer extraordinary opportunities for understanding intimacies across time and space. Family and Justice in the Archives presents a series of fascinating historical essays that unpack stories of familial, domestic, and sexual intimacy from the records left behind by legal processes, providing rich new insights about family, gender, race, sex, culture, identity, and daily life.

Contributors examine the written traces left by public proceedings that occurred in legally sanctioned spaces of social regulation, from notaries’ offices to criminal and civil courtrooms to legislatures. Focusing on the past two centuries and spanning five continents, the essays explore a wide range of topics including marriage, citizenship, inheritance, indentured servitude, infanticide, juvenile justice, parental abuse, bigamy, and sex work. Mindful of the ethical questions that arise when scrutinizing the details of people’s most vulnerable moments, these authors also demonstrate how individuals navigated and sometimes challenged legal prescriptions and processes to address systemic imbalances of power.

Family and Justice in the Archives reveals the wealth of detail that emerges from a close reading of documents generated by legal processes in the past, offering valuable new perspectives on the complex personal lives of so-called ordinary people in former times.

March 2024
$64.95 CAD/$59.95USD
464 pages | 13 b&w photos and figures | 6 x 9
9781988111438 | Paper
9781988111445 | ePub

Save 20% by using the code "Intimacy20" at checkout!

“This is a strong collection focusing on intimacy, affect, and emotion as viewed through legal archives. The individual stories told by the authors of Family and Justice in the Archives are compelling, moving, and often tragic. The glimpses and contexts of intimacy that they uncover constitute a major strength and unifying force in the collection. And, the narrative approach,  based most often around the histories of specific individuals or kinds of court cases, not only unites the chapters but also makes the issues accessible to a wide audience.” —Bettina Bradbury, professor emeritus of history, York University, adjunct professor, Victoria University Wellington, New Zealand

Family and Justice in the Archives uses archival sources generated by law and legal processes as a window into better understanding numerous aspects of intimate life and family relations. Each chapter is clearly, concisely and thoughtfully written, carefully researched, and will be of interest to social and legal historians, as well as scholars interested in colonialism and post-colonialism, gender, immigration and migration, and suitable for use in graduate or honours seminars.” —Christopher Frank, professor of history, University of Manitoba

The e-book version of this title will be available in Winter 2024.

Peter Gossage is a professor in the Department of History at Concordia University

Lisa Moore is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at Concordia University

Concordia University Press
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