Entanglements in Legal History. Conceptual Approaches to Global Legal History

Entanglements in Legal History. Conceptual Approaches to Global Legal History

Max-Planck-Institut für europäische Rechtsgeschichte, Frankfurt a.M.
From - Until
02.09.2012 - 06.09.2012
Prof. Dr. Duve, Thomas

Global History, World History, Imperial History, Atlantic or Pacific History: the variety of transnational historiography is growing ever larger. Still, in legal history, these global perspectives seem to be rare. There are some traditions of transnational legal historiography such as ‘European Legal History’, ‘Derecho Indiano’, or the history of the ‘Western Legal Tradition’, to name but a few. But legal historians have not yet taken up the challenge that lies in developing global perspectives on legal history, and getting more involved with the theoretical debates about the analytical tools to describe and analyze the complex processes of entanglement in Global History. Concepts currently discussed in this field - like ‘mestizaje’, ‘hybridisation’, ‘(g)localization’, ‘translation’ - could be fruitfully contrasted with established visions on entanglement processes in legal history or comparative law like ‘reception’, ‘transfer’ or ‘transplant’. Processes of normative entanglement within Europe could be contrasted with those observed in intercultural contexts.

In light of this, there seems to be an urgent need for a reflection on the analytical and heuristic value of such terms for legal history. It could lead to an understanding, or at the very least to a raised awareness of the images and models associated with these concepts but also of the epistemic risks inherent in the multitude of images and metaphors for the description and analysis of entanglement processes. The discussion of these questions appears all the more important given that the work of legal history does not only depend on the accuracy of its analytical instruments but that it could offer concepts developed from historic-empirical research to the discourse on global normative orders, especially in social and legal sciences.

The Max Planck Institute for European Legal History will discuss these questions within the framework of a conference in Frankfurt and a panel discussion at the 39th Rechtshistorikertag (Conference of Legal Historians) in Lucerne/Switzerland.

We ask all interested colleagues to submit proposals for approximately 20-minute contributions to these events which deal with the analysis of the above-described questions on the basis of case studies of (legal) history.

Please submit your proposals by 15 December 2011 in the form of an abstract of approximately 6,000 characters (including spaces = 2 A4 pages) in English or German. Please submit the proposals electronically and with a short CV to: sekduve@rg.mpg.de. We will select a small number of contributions for the 39th Rechtshistorikertag (Conference of Legal Historians) in Lucerne (2-6 September 2012) and, if applicable, a larger number for a conference at the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History in Frankfurt am Main, (planned in the week of 20 August 2012) by 15 January 2012.

The elaborated version of the contributions for both events should be on hand on 1 July 2012 in order to make them available to the participants of the events. A comprehensive English abstract is to be added to any German language publication. It is foreseen that selected contributions will be published after peer review.

The Max-Planck Institute will provide accommodation for both conferences. It may be possible to obtain financial aid or even full coverage for travel expenses.

For questions and any further correspondence, please contact Ms. Nicole Pasakarnis, Email:


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Nicole Pasakarnis

Hausener Weg 120
60489 Frankfurt a.M.


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