Staff Profile:Dr Steve Banks

Mr Stephen Banks
Job Title:
Associate Professor
Director of Undergraduate Admissions
Areas of Interest:

History of Criminal Justice, Violence and Inhibition, History of Popular Culture, Criminal Law

Research Interests:

Steve's research interests lie in the fields of historical, social and legal anthropology. In particular, he is interested in the deep rules, the understood customs and conventions that have shaped fundamental social structures. His work is located in English society from the eighteenth century to the present day and has to date focussed on 'folk justice' and upon the role of nuanced violence in creating individual identities and forming social groups. His recent monograph on popular justice rituals Informal Justice in England and Wales: The Courts of Popular Opinion was shortlisted by the FLS, the world's oldest folklore society, for its senior prize, the Katherine Briggs award and was commended by the judges for its 'wide-ranging social history offering original insights into the interaction of law and lore in eighteenth and nineteenth century England and Wales.' Prior to this he published extensively on duelling, honour culture and the influence that that culture exercised on the evolution of the criminal law. In recognition of his work he was made a fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 2014. He is currently working on a chapter in A Cultural History of the Law to be published by Bloomsbury and upon a third book, a new edition of Cornish and Clarke, Law and Society in England, 1750-1950.


Steve teaches in the following subject areas

  • Criminal Justice
  • Criminal Law
  • History of English Law
  • Surveillance, Security and the State
Research groups / Centres:
Jump to: 2017 | 2014 | 2013 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007
Number of items: 12.








This list was generated on Tue Sep 25 11:05:27 2018 UTC.

Recent Conference Presentations:

  • "The strongest expression of outraged public opinion that a country district is capable of conveying", popular justice rituals in the English village 1760 - 1960' presented at the Mid-Western Conference on British Studies, Detroit, 28th September 2015.
  • "Crime and Popular Justice in the long Eighteenth Century" presented at the Bloomsbury Cultural History of the Law symposium, University of Warwick, 7th July 2015.
  • "Skimmingtons, Stang-ridings and Justice Rituals in England, 1600 - 1900" presented at the Folklore Society Calendar Customs Conference, Exeter University, 27 June 2015.
  • "A Temptation to Murder" or "Choosing the Lesser of 2 Evils:" Courts, Cannibals, and the Common Law' presented at the 15th Global Conference Perspectives on Evil, Prague, 14th March 2014.
  • "Right and Rough Music: Popular Justice Ritual in England and Wales, 1750-1950" presented at the London Legal History Seminar, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 29th November 2013.
  • "Necessary, Evil and Contagious: Public Execution and the Construction of the English Crowd, 1800-1868" presented at the 13th Global Conference Perspectives on Evil, Lisbon, 12th March 2012.
  • "The Institutional and Historical Structure of Record-Keeping in the UK" presented at the British Library, Socio-Legal Studies Association, Archives, records and repositories for socio-legal research workshop, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 4th November 2011.
  • "Magic and the Power of the Condemned: English Public Execution and Popular Superstition from 1735 to 1868" presented at the 2nd Global Conference on Magic and the Supernatural, Prague, 18th March 2011.
  • "Dead before Breakfast: The English Gentleman and Honour Affronted" presented at the ID net 1st Global Conference on Revenge, Mansfield College, Oxford, 16 July 2010.
  • "Criminal Informations in the eighteenth century" presented at the Forum for Legal and Historical Research symposium The Geography of Justice: Space and Place in the History of English Law University of Reading, 30th September 2008.
  • "Very Little Law in the Case: Contests of Honour and the Criminal Law" presented at the Forum for Legal and Historical Research symposium Representations of Justice: Narratives of the Trial, the Institute of Historical Research, 20th December 2007.
  • "Challengers Chastised and Duellists Deterred: Kings Bench and Criminal Informations 1790-1842" presented at the 26th Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society Conference, Armidale NSW, 22nd September 2007.
  • "A Most Peculiar View of Provocation: Gentlemen and the Judge, Directions in English Duelling Trials, 1785-1842" presented at the 18th British Legal History Conference, St Catherine's College, Oxford, 4th July 2007.
B.A., M.A (UCL); LL.B. (Birkbeck), PhD (Birkbeck)

Biographical Details:

Steve graduated from UCL with a BA in Ancient Near Eastern History and Babylonian cuneiform. He then when on to complete his MA in the regulation of magical practice in Ancient Rome. This led naturally to a 17 year career in law enforcement focussed in particular upon issues related to maritime security. He completed his LLB and then PhD at Birkbeck College, University of London and joined the University of Reading in 2005. He is a founding director of the Forum for Legal and Historical Research and an active member of and the Royal Historical Society.

Stephen Banks

Contact Details

+44 (0) 118 378 7529

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See also

Further details of my work and publications can be found on my tumblr page


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