Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Association of Young Legal Historians Call for Papers

The Association of Young Legal Historians invites proposals for an upcoming conference in Frankfurt in March 2010. More information about the organization is here. The call for papers in French, German and English is here. Proposals are due November 16, 2009.

What counts as "young"? I've found no age cut-off in the membership materials for this well established organization. The webpage explains that

Except for professors the Association – as it is stated in its Statutes – is open to all young legal historians. This exemption has been made to provide the possibility for young legal historians, who cannot present their ideas on other conferences to share their research results and have it discussed with other legal historians but without the watching eyes of tutors and mentors. Professors and institutions are only welcome as sustaining members.

Their annual forums "are open to everyone interested in legal history but is still not to a professor holding a chair in legal history."

Here's the call for papers:

Law on Stage
Call for Papers for the XVIth European Forum of Young Legal Historians, 24th-28th March
2010 in Frankfurt am Main

Law appears in various forms. Whether within codes of law, in files, legal documents, by handshake and contracts vis-à-vis a notary, or as finally implemented in courtrooms – law adopts a unique expression. Graceful, sacred, authoritative, and pragmatic: law is being staged.

The European Forum of Young Legal Historians seeks to investigate how these particular forms have emerged and shifted throughout history, and their significance for the legal culture of that time.

Law is only evident through its forms. The perspective of Legal History, however, offers an opportunity to approach this relationship between law and its various forms, where these forms may operate as a facade for normative claims or carry significance on their own. Legal forms emerge from traditions, as a product of shifting legal customs, and through the inherent dynamics of form. Also, legal forms have legitimated new legal contents serving lawmakers’ strategic ends. Change also arises through the action of those subject to the legal norms. So the question to be addressed is: How does law achieve its forms?

This view on the forms of law is also an invitation to reflect on different theoretical and scientific approaches taken in the jurisprudence throughout history. Rules and practices of interpretation, attempts to systematize and integrate legal norms, as well as discussions of the autonomy of law, were also always questions of form. Did one believe in the “pure core” of law behind the form or was the form itself of value? The question we would like to explore is: When and how was the relationship between form and the content of law discussed within jurisprudence?

Finally, the variety of forms evokes questions pertaining to the methodology of legal history. Historical sources can only reveal a fraction of the forms chosen by law in a certain period of time. In order to properly analyse these forms, we usually draw upon thick contextualisation of the subject matter; however, there are a variety of difficulties encountered depending on the period and theme being studied. The Forum should open a space for discussion of such methodological problems; therefore we invite the participants to offer insight and critical reflection on their research method.

We are looking forward to receiving contributions addressing the diverse ways of “staging” law throughout legal history. Please send your abstract (max. 2000 characters) by 16th of November 2009 as well as a short academic CV at frankfurt2010@aylh.org. The regular fee for participants giving a paper will be 50 €, for all other 70 €. We are trying to arrange scholarships.

Further information on the Association of Young Legal Historians and past Forums as well as up-to-date information is available on www.aylh.org.

We look forward to your application and to welcoming you in Frankfurt am Main in Spring 2010.

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