Research School for Economic and Social History


9 June 2022
09:30 - 17:30
International Institute of Social History, Cruquiusweg 31, Amsterdam

Symposium ‘Voices in the Justice System: Agency of Victims, Plaintiffs, Witnesses and the Accused in Global Perspective’

The research group Tolerant Migrant Cities? The Case of Holland 1600-1900 organises in collaboration with the N.W. Posthumus Institute a symposium on agency in the justice system in global perspective on 9 June 2022 at the International Institute of Social History (IISG) in Amsterdam.

This symposium is preceded on 8 June by a Masterclass by Professor Robert Shoemaker, follow this link for more info.


The aim of this symposium is to connect scholars working on the history of crime and justice across various chronological periods and geographic regions. In doing so we hope to open up the theme of crime and justice into a global perspective. By focusing on how historians approach criminal justice sources to better understand the daily lives and agency of those who came into contact with various courts and legislations through time, the aim is to facilitate discussion and exchange of global sources and methodologies between historians from different networks and disciplines. In doing so, the difficulties and opportunities in using legal source material in order to reveal something about the agency and daily lives of those who came into contact with the justice system will form the central theme.


The symposium aims to broaden the knowledge of (early career) researchers by inviting presentations by experienced scholars in the subject of legislation, crime and justice in a global perspective, as well as offering a platform for post-doctoral researchers, PhD-candidates, and ReMA students to share their own research and connect with other researchers working on similar subjects or source types.


You can download the program, including abstracts of the lectures, as pdf via this link.

12:00-12:45 Walk-in and drinks
12:45-13:00 Opening
13:00-13:45 Professor Robert Shoemaker (University of Sheffield)
Victims in the English Criminal Courts, 1674 to the Present: From Obligations to ‘Rights’
13:45-14:15 Dr Marjolein Schepers (KU Leuven)
Navigating the justice system: changing trajectories in sex work and migration in 19th-century Antwerp
14:15-14:30 Coffee break
14:30-15:00 Dr Dries Lyna (Radboud University)
The Hindu merchant and the Dutch paper fetish: Examining civil suits in 18th-century colonial Sri Lanka
15:00-15:30 Karlijn Luk MA en Samantha Sint Nicolaas MA (Leiden University & International Institute for Social History)
Tolerant Migrant Cities? The Case of Holland, 1600-1900
15:30-15:45 Coffee break
15:45-16:30 Professor Nandini Chatterjee (University of Exeter)
The price of a life: diya or compensation for loss of life and limb in late Mughal (early 18th century) India
16:30-17:00 Sophie Rose MA(Leiden University)
Voices from the archives: excavating non-elite perspectives on sex and marriage from Dutch colonial court cases, 1700-1800
17:00-18:00 Drinks reception

How to participate

Those who wish to attend but not present can sign up for the symposium by sending a quick email to the organisers stating name, affiliation and topic of research.