17 April 2015

JOURNAL: Merchant Morality in the 18th Century Mediterranean (Rives 2014, nr. 49)

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The journal Rives méditerranéennes published a theme issue on "merchant morality in the 18th Century Mediterranean".

Par l’existence d’une densité et d’une variété institutionnelles et par la prégnance du commerce sur l’économie, l’espace méditerranéen du long XVIIIe siècle peut être perçu comme un laboratoire pertinent pour travailler la thématique des moralités marchandes. Ce numéro se penche sur la question au croisement de quatre niveaux d’analyse : les trajectoires et les caractéristiques personnelles des négociants, avec leurs stratégies d’autoreprésentations ; les encastrements politiques, culturels et sociaux qui façonnent les groupes marchands (l’État, la paroisse, la « nation », la ville, la religion…) ; les institutions productrices de normes et de comportements normés (l’État, mais aussi les tribunaux de commerce, les assemblées de marchands…) ; et les pratiques qui mettent les éthiques, les lois et les discours à l’épreuve du terrain.

Table of contents (source:

JOURNAL: Uses of the Law (Review of Nineteenth Century History 2014, Nr. 48)

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The Revue d'histoire du dix-neuvième siècle published an interesting theme issue on the uses of law in 19th century Europe.

Table of contents (source:

15 April 2015

JOB: Two Postdocs at the MPI for European Legal History/Goethe University Frankfurt, 'Knowledge of the Pragmatici, late 16th, early 18th Century'; DEADLINE 15 MAY 2015

(image source: MPI Frankfurt)

The MPI for European Legal History in Frankfurt advertises two postdoc positions on early modern legal history.

Project presentation:
By the third decade of the sixteenth-century, once the first settlements had been successfully established in the Caribbean as well as in Central and South America, the Spanish monarchy had to confront the task of establishing its dominion over huge populations and across vast distances, albeit with limited human and material resources. In light of the scarcity and the remoteness, great importance was accorded to propagating and implementing codes of conduct and modes of behavioural control – not just among European settlers, but also over the indigenous populations.
As a part of the Collaborative Research Centre (‘Sonderforschungsbereich’) 1095, which was approved in November 2014 and is slated to begin at the start of 2015 at Goethe University, Frankfurt, bearing the title “Discourses of Weakness and Resource Regimes”, this subproject draws on the broader historical context described above to ask what norms and mediatic forms had been put to service by the Spanish sovereign to regulate codes of conduct in the period spanning between the 16th and mid-17th century. This study centres predominantly on “normativity”, its conventional and mediatic sources, not least on “law” and the functionality of these normative orders. However, the core of this project draws less on conventional sources of legal history, meaning the large stacks of textual collections pertaining to the norm setting practices of higher authorities or other early modern legal sources from the Castilian tradition and ius commune. Instead, special attention is being paid to modalities of normativity and their special mediatic forms primarily established to reach out to “practitioners” – and, in particular, sources from the fields of moral theology, pastoral or catechetic literature. Research on private book collections and on book circulation shows that they predominantly included popular works, namely small compendia, summaries of greater moral theological works, and, in part, also juridical theses that were notably used in Hispanic America.
The project builds on the hypothesis that “pragmatic literature”, in particular, the strand that powerfully refers back to the tradition of moral theology, may have gained in significance and functionality in the remote frontier context of the early modern empire, lacking in any standard of review: particularly because this body of works did not represent complex instructions or a sophisticated normative framework, or even direct command of the authorities. What on the one hand was regarded as “weakness” could now also be viewed as “strength”: precisely its succinct and concise quality may have rendered this strand of pragmatic literature functional; instead of focusing on law and its enforcement, the works concentrate on the innate force of human conscience, inculcated by way of rituals and discourses. These texts were simultaneously “weak” and “strong”, not only because it was possible to tie them in with Christian traditions of a weak discourse. They were perceived as weak for the lack of theoretical complexity compared to the challenging scholarly tractates and, importantly, also because in general they could not be enforced like the rule of law. They were “strong”, on the other hand, in a pragmatic sense, as their flexible normative underpinnings enabled them to take up those notions of legitimacy and basic moral assumptions which became a part of the moral economy of the colonial society. Not least in the imperial peripheries, where the American territories were located at the beginning and where vast swaths of the Americas continued to remain even after different centres were established in the composite monarchy, these adaptable and pragmatic texts addressing codes of conduct, such as confessional writings, catechisms, moral theological instructions, became particularly important: even in places where the reach of law was limited or non-existent, the practice of specific regulations and notions of “proper” behaviour were effectively mediated through ecclesiastic institutions and players, but also through the omnipresent religious symbols and their consistent inculcation.   
There are some indications that this constellation of resources was responsible for generating, even minimally, normative conceptions of social order and thereby also establishing a system of rule: Juridical normativity and institutions consolidated in a process of differentiation, essentially resources central to the formation of the early modern European state, were substituted by religious normativity and pragmatic literature, which characteristically offered greater scope for interpretation. As a result, the situation that emerged could be construed as “weak” when compared to the European context. But set against the backdrop of the challenge of the colonial project – at the outset at least – it could be viewed as a functional normative order built on a distinct configuration of resources.  
If these hypotheses were confirmed, the project would also help to bring to light not just the practical significance and functionality of this strand of sources, which has received scant attention for a long time, but perhaps also its intellectual weight. It is possible that the perceived weaker nature of this literature does not merely suggest – as often assumed – a form of vulgarization; on the contrary, it may be possible to see herein a conscious, and considerable work of abstraction.

WORKSHOP: "Between slavery and freedom: aspects of manumission in the ancient world. The ancient Near East, Greece, and Rome" (Edinburgh, 1 May 2015)

WHAT Between slavery and freedom: aspects of manumission in the ancient world. The ancient Near East, Greece, and Rome, one-day Workshop

WHEN Friday 1 May 2015, 9:30 am - 6:00 pm 

WHERE Sydney Smith Lecture Theatre, doorway 1, Old Medical Quad, Teviot Place

all information here

Hosted by the School of History, Classics and Archaeology, this workshop will bring together scholars working on manumission and slavery in both the classical world (Greece and Rome), and the Near East to debate specific aspects of the manumission process and the lives of freed slaves.

Transition from slavery to freedom

Recent monographic work on ancient slavery has included a number of significant studies of manumission and freedmen. But despite these monographic treatments, it has become ever clearer that seminal aspects of the processes involved in slave manumission are understudied (including the workings and the place of peculium, the slave’s ability to amass possessions that enables him or her to purchase their freedom, the role played by the slave’s gender in the manumission process and prospects, etc.).
Moreover, the status of freed slaves remains subject to debate. In light of the prominence of evidence for manumission and the importance of status in ancient societies, the transition from slavery to freedom is central to our understanding of the peculiar institution in the ancient world.

Workshop programme

There will be three formal sessions: one on Rome, one on Greece, and one on Near Eastern slavery and manumission.
Each speaker is allocated one full hour for paper delivery and ensuing discussion, followed by a plenary discussion session at the end of the day chaired by the workshop organisers.

LECTURE: "Manumitting Slaves: Eighteenth-Century Scotland and Ancient Rome" (Edinburgh, 30 April 2015)

WHAT Manumitting Slaves: Eighteenth-Century Scotland and Ancient RomeThe 5th Slavery in World History lecture

WHEN Thursday 30 April 2015, 6:15 pm - 7:30 pm 

WHERE Teviot Lecture Theatre, doorway 5, Old Medical School, Teviot Place

all information here

Hosted by the School of History, Classics and Archaeology, this lecture will consider the manumission of slaves in eighteenth-century Scotland, delivered by Professor John W. Cairns from the University of Edinburgh Law School.

Manumitting Slaves: Eighteenth-Century Scotland and Ancient Rome

Manumission has played a complex social role in slave-owning societies. Unlike ancient Rome, eighteenth-century Scotland was not a slave-society; but it was certainly a society in which men, women and children were held as slaves.
This was the product of the energetic activity of Scots in the British Empire: most of the individuals held as slaves had been imported from the colonies. Slave-societies typically regulate manumission as part of a complex set of regulations of slavery and slave-ownership.
But the legal position of slaves in Scotland as ambiguous; legal practices imported from the colonies and often understood - at least by lawyers - through a lens of Roman law created social and perhaps even legal norms. These ambiguities created uncertainties about manumission and how to make it effective, to allow those freed to maintain their freedom and not be sold abroad.

Join us at our 'Slavery and freedom' workshop

Following this public lecture, there is a workshop on manumission in the ancient world, taking place on 1 May.
Full information on the workshop programme, as well as on how to register, can be found on our website.


This lecture is free but ticketed. Please visit our online booking system to register.

Further information

For further information on this workshop, please contact the organiser, Dr Ulrike Roth.

CONFERENCE: Capital, Investment and Innovation in the Roman World (Free University of Brussels (VUB), 28-30 May 2015)

(image source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Research Network "Structural Determinants of Economic Performance in the Roman World" (Ghent/Leuven/VUB, funded by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO)) organises a conference in Brussels (VUB) on 28-30 May 2015 around the theme "Capital, Investment and Innovation in the Roman World".

Capital may be defined to comprise all man-made resources available for production. These include (1) financial capital : all monetary wealth in whatever form (stocks of currency, bullion, transferable credit bonds, etc.) available to buy whatever is needed or used to realize production: supplies, tools, equipment, labor, licenses, information, etc.; as well as (2) real (or physical) capital: all material resources such as tools, workshops and factories, warehouses, etc. needed or used to realize production. Both forms of capital may be privately or publicly owned. In a wider sense the concept 'human capital' denotes the embodied stock of human competencies, intellectual and other, that allow a person to perform the tasks necessary to create 'labor'. In order to retain a clear focus for the project and monograph, however, we will limit ourselves for this project to these 'classical' definitions of capital. The concept 'social capital', while valuable in itself, would take us too far from what we consider the core issues of our project. We explicitly focus, furthermore, on investments and innovations, i.e. on the quantitative and qualitative changes that stocks of financial, real and human capital underwent in the Roman world. The objective is to produce a coherent and innovative study of capital, investment and innovation in the Roman world.

Capital and credit are important elements in the furthering or holding back of economic growth. The allocation of capital, labor and natural resources through market and non-market channels determines economic performance.

Hence, fundamental issues in understanding the functioning of the economy of the Roman world include: who had access to capital, to what extent, and in what form, and how they dealt with it. Various segments of society controlled capital to different extents and used it for diverse purposes.

Did the social and political elites of the Roman world treat the wealth they controlled fundamentally differently from the magnates of the capitalistic era, or do the different forms and instruments of the Roman business world no more than cloak an essentially identical mentality? To what extent did other segments of society have access to capital, and how did capital circulate through society?

Asking these questions implies that we should not limit our study to the formal instruments of banking and business, but also take into account the wider institutional framework, both the formal rules and the social networks and informal arrangements that eased or hampered the dissemination of capital. Recent approaches within NIE (North, Wallis & Weingast, Violence and Social Orders, 2009) urge us to look at political and social conditions that constrained the pre-modern economy. According to a pessimistic view, the predatory and exploitative inclinations of the state and of the politically leading rentier class, who extracted the surpluses produced by the peasantry and an underprivileged workforce, hampered the accumulation and productive investment of capital. In other views, it was not the shortage of capital, but the poor allocation of capital that restrained economic performance. The question, however, is whether this is a valid assessment of the situation in the Roman Empire.

Some questions that we will discuss are:
•Did the political and social elites perceive money as an economic asset?
•What part of their property and income consisted of disposable money? How easily and/or readily were assets such as land, buildings, workshops, or slaves transferred into financial capital through factor and commodity markets?
•To what extent did the political and social elites dominate ownership of capital goods (land, natural resources, raw materials, production facilities, tools)?
•What is the role of the state (on imperial and local levels) in the accumulation of capital? What was the property rights regime of publicly owned goods ? What is the role of war in the dissemination and destruction of (fixed) capital?
•What was the role of religious institutions, such as temples, in the creation of capital and in making it available? Were there subject to the same property rights regime as private persons?
•How well did the credit market function? What does the level of interest tell us about the value of capital? Which requirements and whose needs determined the development of formal and informal instruments of the credit market?
•What was the role of private voluntary collectives, such as collegia, in the creation of capital and in making it available ? Were there subject to the same property rights regime as private persons ?
•To what extent was credit necessary for production ? What form did this credit take ? To what extent was consumption credit provided for by commercially oriented financial institutions or entrepreneurs - i.e. by enterprises whose financial assets constituted working capital rather than reserves for future consumption ?
•How and by whom were capital goods besides land and natural resources (tools, machines, production facilities, work animals) produced and allocated?

Equally important is the question to which purposes capital was used: what scope for investment did the agricultural and non-agricultural sectors offer, and to what extent was capital invested in means of production that boosted productivity rather than in status-enhancing assets such as urban palaces, benefactions, and expensive cooks? While investments potentially created growth, market oriented capital investment is as much a response to an expanding market as it is an incentive for economic growth in itself. The increasing urbanization and market integration of the Roman world made productive capital investment an increasingly attractive option, as it widened the market and increased the stability of demand. At the same time, to what extent did landowners and businessmen actually respond to these changing conditions of the market? And how did their response to population decline and the shrinking of the urban markets aggravate the economic decline that seems to occur in many parts of the Roman world after the second century AD? The examples of capital investment in agriculture, transportation, and industry in our archaeological and written sources are undeniable, but what limits were there to the investment of capital in the economy ?

One form of investment that deserves particular interest and which operated at all levels of society is that in knowledge and expertise. As with other forms of investment, a costly and time-consuming effort in gaining specialized know-how and expertise was economically only viable in conditions of sufficient - and sufficiently stable - demand. The ways in which knowledge and expertise were disseminated in pre-modern societies has been used as a marker of the economic development of such societies. In concrete terms, how did servile and freeborn workers and artisans acquire the knowledge they needed? To what extent did this stimulate or constrain economic development? In which ways was professional education embedded in the social and domestic context of business, agriculture, and industry? How is education of labor related to the control of capital and other means of production? Who had what interest in the acquisition and dissemination of expertise and know-how among the free and servile population.

Some questions that we will discuss are:
•What forms of investment in agriculture and other sectors of the economy are visible in the archaeological and written sources?
•What conditions stimulated or constrained investments in the various economic sectors? To what extent did imperial and local taxation stimulate and restrain capital investment? To what extent did investment opportunities stimulate the development of financial institutions?
•What is the relation between capital investment and productivity? Is capital investment related to economies of scale?
•To what extent did investments in agriculture lead to an increase in available animal energy and higher labor productivity? To what extent did a fall in demand cause a reversal of this development?
•How was knowledge and expertise acquired and disseminated in various sectors? What is the relationship between the acquisition of specialized knowledge and capital investment in equipment and infrastructure?

As with investment, incentives to modernize methods of production in agriculture or other economic sectors can be seen as stemming from the rise in urban markets and the increase of rural industries as much as causing economic growth in the first place. In many societies, capital investment went hand in hand with innovation. The investment in expertise and know-how does not only concern the dissemination of existing knowledge, but also provides the starting point for the creation of new technologies and methods. Innovation in the Graeco-Roman world not only consisted of the introduction of new cash and fodder crops and new agricultural techniques, but also of the introduction of new forms of equipment and technologies, and of the application of existing methods on a vastly larger scale. A fundamental question concerns the goals of innovation, i.e. whether innovation was intended to overcome the constraints of production (as in irrigation in agriculture or the application of new technologies in industry), to introduce new sources of energy, or to reduce the input of labor. Available energy was a constraining factor in pre-industrial economies, which makes energy-enhancing innovations of vital importance for economic growth. Of equal importance for the allocation of production factors, however, is the extent to which such sources of energy could be concentrated or transported (such as coal was from the 18th century onwards).

Some questions that we will discuss are:
•What forms of innovation occurred in agriculture, transportation, and industry, and what caused these innovations? To what extent did the costs involved and the risks inherent in novelty cause an aversion to innovation?
•What is the relation between innovation and technological change? To what extent do we see investment in larger installations?
•To what extent is the model of the 'low equilibrium trap', which is seen as limiting the need or drive for innovation, a valid model for the Roman world?
•Which goals determined these innovations? What is the relation between the nature of the workforce and the production process?
•In what ways is investment and innovation related to the increase in the availability of new sources of energy?
Koen Verboven & Paul Erdkamp, Introduction

Part 1. Capital
•K. Gunnar Persson, Capital, labour, and income estimates in the Roman world
•Wim Broekaert / Arjan Zuiderhoek, Capital goods in the Roman economy
•Norman Underwood, Laboring for God: The Clergy and Human Capital in the Later Roman Empire
•Leonardo Gregoratti, Temples and traders in Palmyra
•Koen Verboven, Credit institutions and financial capital in the Roman world
•Marguerite Ronin, Cooperative investment in rural communities of the Roman Empire

Part. 2. Investment
•Christiano Viglietti, Pecunia adpensa. Capital, investment, and  innovation in an uncoined-money economy: Rome c. 700-350 BCE
•Jean Andreau, Capital and investment in the Campanian tablets
•Sitta Von Reden, Credit and Investment in Roman Egypt
•G. Minaud, Chiffre d'affaires, bénéfice et capitalisation
•Mick Stringer, Impensae, operae and pastio uillatica. New venture investments in the Roman agricultural treatises.
•Annalisa Marzano, A story of land and water: Capital and Investment in large-scale fishing and fish-salting operations
•Tim Clerbaut, The Roman villae: new beacons of capital production, capital management and Romanization in the Roman North

Part. 3. Innovation
•Paul Erdkamp, Malthusian constraints on the Roman economy. A critique of the ‘low equilibrium trap’
•Helmuth Schneider, Technical innovations in the Roman world

•Robin Veal, Forest resources and technical innovation in the Roman economy
•Andrew Wilson, Concluding remarks
Abstracts can be found on the conference website.

PETITION: Save the Committee for Historical and Scientific Studies (France)

(image source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Committee for Historical and Scientific Studies, founded by François Guizot, issued a call for support to the scientific community. The CTHS's activities cover all epochs of human history, counts as a rallying point for scientific societies all over the country and develops wide-ranging, interdisciplinary activities. The committee publishes both on paper and online. Its annual competition, leading to publication of the best doctoral dissertation received, is well known.

Petition header:
Le Comité des travaux historiques et scientifiques (CTHS) est né en 1834 de la volonté politique du ministre de l’Instruction publique, François Guizot, qui déclarait : « Cette entreprise ne doit pas être un effort accidentel et passager ; ce sera un long hommage et pour ainsi dire, une institution durable en l’honneur des origines, des souvenirs et de la gloire de la France. » (Guizot - 1834)

Les missions historiques du CTHS visent à concourir aux recherches et aux publications portant sur les sciences humaines ; favoriser le développement des activités des sociétés savantes et de leurs fédérations ; assurer l’édition de textes, de répertoires, d’orientations de recherche… ; organiser annuellement le Congrès national des sociétés historiques et scientifiques. (cf. arrêté du 12/06/2007 – NOR: ESRS0755546A)

Le CTHS développe ses activités avec l’aide de 255 membres, chercheurs et universitaires qui favorisent les échanges entre la recherche publique et le monde associatif. Depuis plus de 150 ans, le CTHS publie des ouvrages de référence en sciences humaines. Il a compté parmi ses membres d’éminentes personnalités, telles que Hugo, Mérimée, Viollet-le-Duc, Pasteur, Champollion Figeac, Maspero, Durkheim, Aulard, Tarde…

Depuis 2007, le CTHS est un institut rattaché à l’École nationale des chartes. Sa tutelle remet en cause l’autonomie de gestion du CTHS tout en lui imposant des coupes budgétaires qui ne lui permettent plus d’assurer ses missions. Deux postes ont déjà été perdus et le maintien d’une partie non négligeable du personnel est sérieusement menacé. Sans le soutien actif de la communauté scientifique, de ses partenaires, de ses lecteurs, le CTHS est voué à disparaître.

Soutenez le Comité des travaux historiques et scientifiques en apposant votre signature et en diffusant cette pétition qui sera adressée à la ministre de l’Enseignement supérieur, de l’éducation nationale et de la recherche, Madame Najat Vallaud-Belkacem.

Le personnel du CTHS, son délégué général et son Président
The full petition is available on

14 April 2015

BOOK: Michael STOLLEIS, Public Law in Germany: an Introduction into its History, 16th-21st Century [Beck'sche Reihe, 6135] (Munich: C.H. Beck, 2014), 228 p. ISBN 9783406659430. € 16,95

Prof. em. dr. dr. h.c. mult. Michael Stolleis, honorary director of the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History, has published an introduction to the history of public law (in German).

Die „Geschichte des öffentlichen Rechts in Deutschland“ in vier Bänden von Michael Stolleis gehört zu den herausragenden Gesamtdarstellungen unserer Zeit. Auf mehr als 2000 Druckseiten entfaltet ihr Autor darin weit über den wissenschaftsgeschichtlichen Rahmen hinaus ein rechtshistorisches Panorama Deutschlands von der Frühen Neuzeit bis an die Schwelle der Gegenwart. Nun fasst Stolleis kaum weniger eindrucksvoll den gewaltigen Stoff noch einmal auf rund 240 Seiten zusammen. Der Leser dieser glänzenden Einführung gewinnt ein grundlegendes Wissen über das deutsche öffentliche Recht im Wandel der Zeiten. 

SEMINAR: "Théologie morale et dynamique des fors. La confessionnalisation catholique et les contradictions de la conscience moderne" (Paris, 15 April 2015)

WHAT Théologie morale et dynamique des fors.  La confessionnalisation catholique et les contradictions de la conscience moderne, seminar

WHEN 15 April 2015, 11:00-13:00

WHERE Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, EHESS, CENJ, salle 10 (105, bd Raspail) 


Jean-Pascal GAY (Université de Strasbourg)

CALL FOR ARTICLES: Colonial Legal History - Rechtskultur, European Journal of Legal History (Regensburg) - DEADLINE 31 JULY 2016

(image source: Rechtskultur)

The trilingual European Journal of Legal History Rechtskultur (Regensburg: Edition Rechtskultur) plans its fifth edition in 2016 on colonial legal history.

Call (source: HSoZKult):

2016 wird der fünfte Band der Zeitschrift "Rechtskultur - European Journal of Legal History - Journal européene d'histoire du droit" erscheinen. Themenschwerpunkt ist die Kolonialrechtsgeschichte.
Die Herausgeber laden Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler aller einschlägigen Fachdisziplinen zur Einreichung von Beiträgen für Rechtskultur 5 (2016) ein.
Die Beiträge sollen einen Umfang von 100.000 Zeichen nicht überschreiten und bis zum 31. Juli 2016 bei der Redaktion eingehen, die unter erreichbar ist.
"Rechtskultur" steht Autoren aller einschlägigen Wissenschaftsdisziplinen ohne Ansehen des universitären Status offen. Kriterien sind allein Themenbezug und Qualität eines Aufsatzes. Alle eingehenden Aufsätze werden einer beiderseits anonymen Begutachtung unterzogen.
 "Rechtskultur" ist eine Zeitschrift mit europäischem Charakter. Das wird bereits durch die Dreisprachigkeit des Blattes deutlich. Die Zeitschrift bietet also ein Forum für eine wirklich europäisch verstandene Rechtsgeschichte genauso wie für die Vergleichende Rechtsgeschichte. Sie möchte die nationalen Wissenschaften weiter aus ihrer Beschränkung heraus-führen und dabei helfen, Anknüpfungspunkte für grenzüberschreitende Zusammenarbeit auszuloten.
"Rechtskultur" ist strikt themenbezogen. Jedes Heft ist einem Oberthema gewidmet und gibt auf diese Weise die Möglichkeit, verschiedene Forschungsansätze auf einem Feld kennenzulernen. Jedes Heft wird am Ende einen rapport de synthèse enthalten, den ein ausgewiesener Wissenschaftler liefern wird und der die Verbindungslinien zwischen den einzelnen Beiträgen herstellt.
"Rechtskultur" ist transdisziplinär ausgerichtet, sucht also bewußt den Kontakt zu Nachbarwissenschaften, die sich mit verwandten Fragestellungen befassen oder identischen Quellenbeständen arbeiten. Jedes Themenheft enthält deshalb Beiträge von Wissenschaftlern verschiedener Disziplinen.

Prof. dr. Martin Löhnig
Universität Regensburg, D-93040 Regensburg

ARTICLES: Legal Realism and Natural Law, Logic for Legal Historians, Buddhism and the Law (Law and Humanities Blog)

(image source: Law and Humanities Blog)

 The Law and Humanities blog signalled some interesting new scholarship:
  • Daniel Prey (York), "Legal Realism and Natural Law", in: Maksymilian Del Mar & Michael Lobban (ed.), Law, Theory and History: New Essays on a Neglected Topic (2015) (click here)
The possibility of any meaningful relationship between the legal realists and natural law looks at first rather far-fetched. When it first appeared on the jurisprudential scene, legal realism was savagely attacked by proponents of natural law theory. To this day legal realism is depicted as a modernist, critical, at times almost nihilist approach to law, the polar opposite of the ancient natural law theory that traces its roots to Greek and Roman philosophy, and insists on unchanging objective values. And yet, two of the most famous legal realists, Karl Llewellyn and Jerome Frank, expressed in some of their writings more than a passing endorsement of natural law theory. The purpose of this essay is to try and explain this seemingly odd aspect of their work and in this way help in reassessing their work. We do so by explaining how they understood natural law and how they incorporated it in their work. Though they did not understand the term in precisely the same way, for both of them natural law was connected to the values of the community, which both of them thought were central to understanding law, for explaining how it could remain relatively certain, and ultimately, how it derived its authority.
  •  Ilan Wurman (Winston & Strawn, LLP), "Law Historians' Fallacies", North Dakota Law Review (click here)
A common line of attack against originalists is that lawyers just aren’t good at doing history. But in his famous book Historians’ Fallacies, David Hackett Fischer noted that many historians aren’t good at doing history either: They often fall into one or more of numerous fallacies that he catalogued in his celebrated and often devastating three-hundred page book. This Article points out the many ways in which originalists and other legal historians fall into, but also how they may avoid, some of the same fallacies committed by the historians whose works made their way into Fischer’s book. It will then point to corresponding lessons that lawyers-turned-historians ought to employ to write better history. The belief is that lawyers, judges, and legal academics can become good — or at least better — historians.

Part I confronts two general attacks on the use of history, both of which challenge the possibility of obtaining relevant and objective historical knowledge. Part II establishes the importance of investigative questions and describes fallacies of question-framing that lead originalists astray. Part III explores fallacies of factual verification that stem from reliance on flawed types of evidence. Part IV addresses one fallacy of factual significance — which we shall call the originalist’s fallacy — that leads some originalists to misunderstand the significance of certain evidence. Part V illustrates fallacies of narration, including fallacies of anachronism and presentism, that too often create fruitless investigations and provide ahistorical answers. Part VI, although recognizing the importance of generalization, demonstrates how originalists (and other legal historians) often generalize improperly. 
  • Rebecca French (SUNY Buffalo), "What is Buddhist Law ?", SUNY Buffalo Legal Studies Research Papers (click here)
This Law Review article, and ones that follow, are an introduction to Buddhist Law and its influence in Asia and the rest of the world. While the legal traditions of all major religious traditions have been extensively studied and written about, there are very few scholars of, and little written in any language on, the legal concepts in the Buddhist tradition. There is basically nothing in the legal academic literature in the U.S. nor are translations of the actual legal texts available for general use when working to understand this form of thinking, or in making comparisons to other religious laws. This series of articles will examine the reasons for this gap, outline the contextual setting, explore the actual rules that were established, note how they influenced social systems in Asia and address other general aspects of Buddhist Law.

This article will have two types of writing: (1) in regular script, the legal discussion and description common to a Law Review and (2) in italics, translations of actual Buddhist law code texts, particularly the Vinaya, or canonical law code. The second type of writing is presented to familiarize non-Asian lawyers with the style of the text and some of the concepts and ideas that underlie Buddhism and Buddhist Law. Besides the intrinsic interest of a wholly unknown legal system, this material is useful for comparative lawyers, international lawyers, scholars of public policy and anyone doing law in a former or current Buddhist country.

13 April 2015

JOB: Post-doctoral recruitments at EHESS for 2015-2016 (Paris) (DEADLINE 11 May 2015)

(image source: Wikimedia Commons)

The EHESS (Paris) recruits 10 postdocs for the coming academic year, for one year (2015-2016).

More information:

Recrutement de 10 post-doctorants à l'EHESS en 2015

Dix emplois de chercheurs post-doctorants sont ouverts à l'EHESS à compter du 1er septembre 2015 pour une durée d'un an.
Ces emplois concernent les différents domaines des sciences humaines et sociales.
Ils sont proposés aux jeunes chercheurs ayant soutenu entre le 01 janvier 2012 et le 07 avril 2015, une thèse de doctorat dans un autre établissement que l'EHESS, en France ou à l'étranger.
Les candidats ne doivent jamais avoir été bénéficiaires d'un contrat de travail géré par l'EHESS.
Dans le cadre d’un partenariat avec le Musée des civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée (MuCEM), une candidature sélectionnée s’inscrivant dans le champ d’activité de cet établissement (les dynamiques des sociétés contemporaines du bassin méditerranéen) pourra être soumise au MuCEM pour un co-financement éventuel et une intégration du candidat au département recherche et enseignement du MuCEM.
Chaque candidat indiquera (jusqu'à 3 maximum) le(s) laboratoire(s) ou centre(s) de recherche de l'EHESS (ou auquel l'EHESS est associée) au sein desquels il souhaiterait être accueilli pour y inscrire son projet de recherche dans l'un des programmes d'activités du laboratoire/centre.
(la liste des centres est consultable sur le site de l'EHESS :
La sélection favorisera les dossiers comportant une forte dimension interdisciplinaire, une ouverture internationale et une capacité de dialogue avec plusieurs laboratoires ou domaines de l'EHESS.
Pour candidater, les candidats doivent impérativement remplir le formulaire en ligne  du mardi 7 avril 2015 à midi jusqu'au lundi 11 mai 2015 midi et y insérer les documents suivants au format pdf:
  • un curriculum vitae avec la liste des publications
  • la copie du diplôme de doctorat ou attestation faisant foi
  • le rapport de soutenance de la thèse de doctorat le cas échéant
  • une lettre de candidature, adressée à l'attention du président de l'EHESS
  • le(s) nom(s) du/des laboratoire(s) ou centre(s) de recherche de l'EHESS
  • un projet de recherche et d'activités post-doctorales maximum(en cinq pages maximum) rédigé dans le cadre d'une année et s'insérant précisément dans le programme du/des laboratoire(s) ou centre(s) de recherche de l'EHESS ou lié(s) à l'EHESS, à Paris, Marseille, Toulouse ou Lyon

La rédaction du projet de recherche et d'activités post-doctorales en anglais est autorisée. Toutefois, un bon niveau de compréhension et d'expression orale en français est requis.

Les candidatures se font uniquement en ligne et devront être validées en cliquant sur le bouton du formulaire « Candidater », à partir du mardi 07 avril 2015 midi et au plus tard le lundi 11 mai 2015 à midi (heure locale de Paris)
Une confirmation de réception du formulaire, sous réserve de recevabilité de la candidature à un emploi de post-doctorant à l'EHESS, sera envoyée automatiquement par mail à l'adresse email inscrite dans le formulaire par le candidat.
Les formulaires reçus en ligne passé ce délai, incomplets ou non conformes ne pourront être pris en considération.

Les résultats seront disponibles à partir du mercredi 10 juin 2015 sur le site de l'EHESS - rubrique "Recrutements/chercheurs"
Pour toute information complémentaire, merci de nous contacter, exclusivement par mail, à l'adresse:
(source: ehess website)

11 April 2015

SEMINAR: "Rationalité et consentement dans la perspective du féminisme juridique" (Paris, 15 April 2015)

WHAT Rationalité et consentement dans la perspective du féminisme juridique, seminar

WHEN 15 April 2015, 15:00-17:00

WHERE Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, EHESS, salle 2 (105, bd Raspail) 

Maria Rosaria Marella (University of Perugia)


SEMINAR: "Succès et revers des interprétations juridictionnelles surprenantes. Retour sur „Lüth" (Paris, 14 April 2015)

WHAT Succès et revers des interprétations juridictionnelles surprenantes. Retour sur „Lüth(Cour constitutionnelle fédérale allemande 15 January 1958 ) et „Circoncision“ (Landgericht Cologne 7 mai 2012)Séance du séminaire de Emanuele Conte, Public-privé : une frontière floue entre la force de l'état et l'autonomie des individus

WHEN 14 April 2015, 18:00-21:00

WHERE  Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, EHESS, salle 1 (105, bd Raspail) 

À l’âge de l’État libéral la systématique juridique avait bâti des frontières apparemment bien établies pour séparer l’espace de compétence du pouvoir souverain de la sphère d’action des sujets privés. Aboli tout corps intermédiaire, exaltée l’efficacité de la volonté du sujet privé, l’État avait marqué les chemins par lesquels il pouvait exercer sa toute-puissance.
Ébranlé déjà par les crises du XXe siècle, cette démarcation idéale est désormais presque partout négligée. Sur ce thème, des juristes français et étranger présenteront des cas exemplaires tirés soit de l’actualité nationale et internationale soit de l’expérience historique.

ROUNDTABLE: "Biens communs. Stratégies juridiques pour des perspectives européennes" (Paris, 13 April 2015)

WHAT Biens communs. Stratégies juridiques pour des perspectives européennes, International Roundtable

WHEN Monday 13 April 2015, 9:00- 19:00

WHERE Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, EHESS, salle Lombard (96, bd Raspail) and salle 11 (105, bd Raspail)

Le CENJ « Yan Thomas » de l’Institut Marcel Mauss a animé pendant deux ans le séminaire interdisciplinaire « Le bien commun, les biens communs, les choses communes, la collectivisation des intérêts » qui a fait appel au monde de chercheurs et de praticiens experts pour examiner l’émergence de la thématique des commons et les interactions entre expériences et recherche autour des relations entre biens communs et droit, les usages de stratégie juridique par les divers acteurs sociaux, les formes de law making élaborées par les bas, les expériences d’interaction entres différents acteurs dans des arènes hybrides.
En considérant l’importance que la notion de « biens publics » a prise dans le débat en économie, celle de « biens communs » dans la réflexion en philosophie et sciences politiques, et le développement de travaux dans le domaine de la « propriété intellectuelle », il nous a semblé utile de faire le point sur les définitions des notions juridiques qui se trouvent au cœur de ces recherches. Traditionnellement, les choses communes sont en effet des choses inappropriables, que ce soit de manière privative ou par une entité publique. Leur nature est de « n’appartenir à personne ». En revanche, les biens sont des choses appropriables, de manière privative ou collective. Elles peuvent également être, dans certains systèmes juridiques, uniquement affectées à un usage particulier, sans faire l’objet pour autant d’une appropriation.