Konferens i Leeuwarden den 22-23 september 2016: Law & Ritual in the Middle Ages


The plethora of legal cultures developed across the medieval landscape is a fascinating insight into the minds and lives of the people we study. With a special focus on the translation, performance and application of law and judicial discourse, the ‘Voices of Law’ Research Network seeks to illuminate the ways encounter and negotiation between legal culture and the wider culture of society took place.

We are happy to announce the first upcoming interdisciplinary conference on medieval legal history and invite colleagues whose research touches upon aspects of law and ritual in the Middle Ages to submit proposals for papers of 20 minutes’ duration. A title and an abstract of 200-250 words should be sent by e-mail to VoicesofLaw@gmail.com or one or more members of the organising committee (see e-mail addresses below).

Speakers will be able to claim back their travel expenses from the Voices of Law International Network.


The final programme will be published soon thereafter. All proposals and presentations should be in English. Selected papers will be published.

Suggested thematic strands are:

  • Performance of law: legal procedures and rituals in practice
  • Connections between judicial and social relationships
  • Ritual sites and ritual objects
  • Law and rituals in visual and material culture
  • Legal rituals vs. non-legal rituals
  • Oath-making and oath-breaking

The conference is sponsored by The Leverhulme Trust through the International Networks Grant.

More information can be found here!

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Högre seminarium i rättshistoria i Stockholm den 3 mars 2016

Inbjudan till seminarium i rättshistoria


Torsdagen den 3 mars 2016 håller professor Stephan Meder (universitetet i Hannover) ett seminarium om grundaren av den historiska skolan Friedrich Carl von Savignys tolkningslära och hermeneutik. Savignys tolkningslära kommer att diskuteras och jämföras med rättsvetarna Thibaut och Francis Liebers respektive läror.

Tid: 16.00-18.00

Plats: Juridiska institutionen, fakultetsrummet plan 8, hus C, södra husen.

Språk: Inledning på tyska med efterföljande diskussion på tyska och engelska

Efter seminariet serveras lättare förtäring i lunchrummet på plan 7. Anmälan till seminariet krävs inte, men kan göras till adam.croon@juridicum.su.se


Stephan Meder är professor i civilrätt och rättshistoria vid universitetet i Hannover. Till Meders produktion hör bland annat ett arbete om juridiskt tolkningsarbete med titeln Missverstehen und Verstehen: Savignys Grundlegung der juristischen Hermeneutik (Mohr Siebeck, 2004)

Ur den engelska beskrivningen av boken:

“When is it permissible to interpret a binding legal text? Unlike Anglo-Saxon and French legal experts, the Germans believe that it is in principle possible to interpret legal texts whose wording is unambiguous. This opinion can be traced back to the transition to modern hermeneutics, which was carried out by Friedrich Carl von Savigny in jurisprudence. Stephan Meder outlines the development of Savigny’s hermeneutic theory against the backdrop of his contacts to other advocates of modern hermeneutics, such as for example Friedrich Schleiermacher or August Boeckh. In doing so, he shows that essential elements of the image that current methodologies have of Savigny’s analysis of interpretation need to be corrected.”

Mer information om inledaren går att finna på http://www.jura.uni-hannover.de/meder_lehrstuhlinhaber.html?&no_cache=1

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Call for papers: Conceptual Change in History. Conference at the University of Helsinki, September 22-24, 2016

Call for papers: Conceptual Change in History.
Conference at the University of Helsinki, September 22-24, 2016.

Organised by the Oulu Centre for Theoretical and Philosophical Studies of History (http://www.oulu.fi/centreforphilosophyofhistory) and the research project ‘Reinventing the foundations of the European Legal Culture 1934-1964’ (foundlaw.org).

Keynote speakers:
Theodore Arabatzis (University of Athens)
Martti Koskenniemi (University of Helsinki)
Sinai Rusinek (Van Leer Jerusalem Institute)
Benjamin Straumann (New York University)
Paul Thagard (University of Waterloo)

It is often suggested that historiography deals with change in time. If nothing ever changed, it would hardly make sense to do historical research. The nature of conceptual change has been an object of acute interest in recent years in the history and philosophy of science, cognitive science, Begriffsgeschichte, the history of ideas, legal history and other fields. Although a seemingly simple notion, the term ‘conceptual change’ hides a complex set of questions and problems.

First, ‘conceptual change’ may be seen to imply a number of different claims. It could mean a change of a particular concept or a replacement of that concept by another. It could also refer to the emergence of an entirely new concept. On the other hand, the reappearance, circulation and mutable application of alleged ´perennial´ concepts in historical writing would seem to undermine the idea of any abrupt ´change´ in conceptualizing history. Concepts operate within their intellectual context, where issues such as tradition have an impact within conceptual change and permanence. Especially in normative contexts such as law and legal tradition, concepts and their interrelationship take on a formative and constructive character.

One is consequently entitled to ask what ‘change’ is in history. Ultimately it is a question of how historians have understood invariance, change and replacement in their texts. It may appear that invariance is the prerequisite of variance. When we speak about a change of X, something would need to stay unchanged. If there is no invariance whatsoever, the case would appear to be that of a replacement of X, rather than of a change. The problem becomes visible when one tries to understand the emergence of an entirely new concept. Does it presuppose discontinuity with respect to the tradition that precedes it? Or does it rather imply continuity, as Collingwood suggested: “Any process involving an historical change from P1 to P2 leaves an unconverted residues of P1 incapsulated within an historical state of things which superficially is altogether P2” (An Autobiography, 2002, 141)?

Third, how should the concept of concept be understood in the context of historiography? That is, what is the anatomy of this tool of representation? On the one hand, many different philosophical traditions have put forward theories of concept, but often their notions appear unsuitable for describing changes in history. On the other, many schools of history deal with concepts, but they often define them only vaguely or assume implicitly. Thus it is necessary to ask, for example, what the relation of concepts to language is and whether they should be seen as atomistic units or as composable to smaller elements. In addition, contributions from educational science, neurobiology and cultural studies challenge historians to rethink whether concepts should be perceived as mental or social entities. Sociolegal studies have challenged the normative value and permanence of concepts and examined the way that change in political, intellectual and legal contexts is reflected in conceptual change.

We invite contributions on the topic of Conceptual Change in History from both junior and senior scholars and from various fields.  The papers may deal with the semantic problems of conceptual change: How should change, stability, replacement and emergence of concepts in history be understood? What kind of theory of concepts does historiography require? Contributions may also address the question of the modelling of conceptual change. What are the mechanisms of conceptual change and how can they be presented? What is the relationship between concepts and normative orders and such as law and legal culture? In addition, papers may describe specific cases of conceptual change in history, which illuminate some philosophical, legal and theoretical aspects of conceptual change.

The three-day conference hosts presentations by keynote speakers and additionally invites submission for plenary papers. Please email submissions to Heta Björklund (foundlaw@gmail.com) by March 31, 2016. The maximum length of abstracts is 300 words.

The language of the meeting is English. There is no registration fee. The organizers are unfortunately unable to aid in the travel arrangements or accommodation of participants.

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Call for Papers: Digital Humanities

The Project ”The School of Salamanca. A Digital Collection of Sources and a Dictionary of its Juridical-Political Language” invites all interested scholars to submit contributions to the forum

Die geisteswissenschaftliche Perspektive: Welche Forschungsergebnisse lassen Digital Humanities erwarten?

With the Eyes of a Humanities Scholar: What Results Can We Expect from Digital Humanities?

Contributions should adopt the perspective of the humanities and focus on the experiences scholars made in their research work with DH instruments. Therefore, the interaction between research interests in the humanities and digital tools is going to be of crucial importance: how do digital possibilities impact on research methods and questions? What new research questions arise from the digital availability of data and from the implied possibility of mass analysis? Do the DH instruments with their presumed “objective“ results restrict the range of research questions and limit the scope of interpretation?

Contributions to the Forum are to be published in the journal of the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History, Frankfurt: Rechtsgeschichte – Legal History 24 (2016). The forum gathers short, incisive contributions (no detailed research papers) treating a common topic. Contributions should not be longer than 8,000 characters (including blanks). To keep the essayistic character of the texts, footnotes should be used sparingly, if at all.

Contributions will be accepted in English, German, Spanish, Italian, French, and Portuguese.

Deadline is April 1, 2016.

Contact person: Dr. Christiane Birr

Further information and submission of manuscripts: birr@rg.mpg.de

Link to the source of information.

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Constitutional Polymorphism. Historical paradigms and constitutional shapes/ Polimorfismo costituzionale. Paradigmi storici e modelli costituzionali

Nytt nummer av Journal of Constitutional History, n. 30/2015.




José Domingues, Francisco Castelo Branco, Synopsis of legal sources of portuguese
Habeas Corpus (14th to 16th centuries) / Sinossi delle fonti giuridiche dell’Habeas Corpusportoghese (XIV-XVI secc.)
Valdis Blūzma, The Formation of the Elements of Parliamentarism and Constitutionalism at the Territory of Latvia in Middle Ages and Early Modern Times (13th-18th centuries) / La formazione degli elementi di parlamentarismo e costituzionalismo nei territori lettoni nel Medioevo e nella prima Età moderna (XIII-XVIII secolo)
Marco Fioravanti, From the People to the Constitution. Inventing Democracy during the French Revolution / Dal popolo alla costituzione. L’invenzione della democrazia durante la Rivoluzione francese
László Komáromi, Establishment, Evolution and Interaction of Modern Direct Democratic Traditions / Costituzione, evoluzione e interazione delle moderne tradizioni di democrazia diretta
Ernesto De Cristofaro, Is defense of stock the same as defense of race? An itinerary from the Penal Code to racial laws / La difesa della stirpe e la difesa della razza sono la stessa cosa? Un itinerario dal codice penale alle leggi razziali
Cristiano Paixão, Past and future of authoritarian regimes: constitution, transition to democracy and amnesty in Brazil and Chile / Passato e futuro dei regimi autoritari: costituzione, transizione verso la democrazia e amnistia in Brasile e Cile
Elisa Arcioni, Historical facts and constitutional adjudication: the case of the Australian constitutional preamble / Fatti storici e giudizio costituzionale: il caso del preambolo della Costituzione australiana
Noémi Nagy, Western European perspectives towards language minorities and linguistic rights – then and now / Prospettive dell’Europa occidentale verso le minoranze linguistiche e i diritti linguistici – allora e ora
Martin Sunnqvist, Seven Categories of Constitutional Critical Judging: An Interpretation of Nordic Case-Law / Sette categorie di giudizio costituzionale critico: una interpretazione del diritto casistico nordico
Salvatore Mura, Per un profilo di Antonio Ferracciu, un costituzionalista da rivalutare / A profile of Antonio Ferracciu, a constitutionalist that should be reconsidered
Giorgio Ridolfi, Un socialismo panteista. Appunti sugli inizi filosofici di Jean Jaurès / A Pantheistic Socialism. Notes on Jean Jaurès’ Philosophical Beginnings


Ventotto proposte di lettura / Twenty-eight reading proposals
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Seminar: Comparative Constitutional History – Scandinavia and Europe

Comparative Constitutional History – Scandinavia and Europe

April 25, 2016

13.30 – 17.00

Telaris, Juridicum, Lilla Gråbrödersgatan 4, Lund


Comparative legal history is an increasingly applied area of research. There are several research projects, where different histories of law are compared to each other, thus giving a deepened understanding of the reasons behind similarities and differences between legal solutions at different times and places.

Professor Bruno Aguilera Barchet, Madrid, has recently published A History of Western Public Law. Between Nation and State (Springer 2015), where he has provided a broad historical and comparative analysis of European and North American constitutional law.

Professor Eirik Holmøyvik, Bergen, has recently in his dissertation about the separation of powers in the Norwegian constitution of 1814 analyzed the relationship between constitutional thinking in Norway and Europe.

Scandinavian constitutional law could benefit from more historical comparative analyses, and European comparative constitutional legal research could benefit from more research in English about Scandinavia.

Bruno Aguilera Barchet and Eirik Holmøyvik have been invited to talk about their research results, and professor Dag Michalsen, Oslo, professor emeritus Hans-Heinrich Vogel, Lund, and senior professor Kjell Å Modéer, Lund, to comment on their presentations.

An aim of the seminar is to strengthen the internationalization of Nordic constitutional historical research, to discuss the state of the art in comparative constitutional history and to find new topics for comparative legal historical research on the relationship between Scandinavian and European constitutional law.

The seminar is sponsored by the Olin Foundation for Legal History.


Martin Sunnqvist



13.30          Welcome and introductory remarks


13.45          Bruno Aguilera Barchet:

The History of Western Public Law and the Need for More Comparative Research


14.30 Pause


15.00         Eirik Holmøyvik:

The Relationship between Norway and Europe in Nineteenth Century Constitutional Law


15.45          Prepared comments:

Dag Michalsen, Hans-Heinrich Vogel and Kjell Å Modéer




17.00 End of seminar


Faculty of Law, Lund University                    The Olin Foundation for Legal History


The programme as a pdf-file: Programme 25 april 2016

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Postdoctoral and Research Scholarships 2017 The Max Planck Institute for European Legal History

The Max Planck Institute for European Legal History (MPIeR) will be awarding several scholarships for a research stay at the institute in 2017.

Postdoc Scholarships enable highly qualified researchers from abroad who already obtained a PhD to either develop a new research topic in a thematically relevant context or to pursue an already existing project. Established researchers from abroad who have received their PhD more than 10 years ago can apply for a Research Scholarship, which enables them to come to the institute as a guest in order to pursue their own research project at the MPIeR.

For 2017 the research subjects are:

Department I – Professor Stefan Vogenauer

  • Legal transfer in the common law world
  • History of European Union Law
  • Fundamental issues concerning legal reception

Department II – Professor Thomas Duve

  • Legal history of Latin America in early modern and modern periods
  • Methods of legal history in a global perspective
  • Law and Diversity: legal historical perspectives

For a group of international researchers who already hold doctoral degrees and wish to pursue a joint research project, it is possible to jointly apply for scholarships at the MPIeR.

The scholarships are awarded for a period of three or six months. The research stay usually starts at the beginning of Jan./April/July/Oct. The amount of the scholarship awarded is dependent on the scholarship holder’s level of qualification. Post-docs receive 2100.00 € per month and research scholarship holders receive 2300.00 € per month. Those researchers employed either in Germany or abroad have the option of receiving expenditures compensation instead of a scholarship.

The MPIeR has rental apartments, available on a monthly basis. All scholarship holders are required, depending on availability, to utilise them. For more information, please visit our website (http://www.rg.mpg.de/welcome_center).

Researchers should apply online via our application management system and need to submit the completed application form, including a curriculum vitae and a complete list of publications. Furthermore, three major publications from within the last five years must be submitted as PDF files and the names of two evaluators should be listed, who can be called upon for a statement regarding the proposed project.

The selection will be based on a 2-4 page project outline providing an overview of the current state of the project as well as a working plan. The connection(s) of the proposed project to the existing research being carried out at the institute should be made explicit.

Applications must be submitted by March 31st 2016.

More information can be found here.

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