Friday, October 29, 2010

East Meets West: A Gendered View of Legal Tradition

Recently posted is a call for papers on gender and European legal history, which is important both for the conference it heralds and for news of the network of scholars that is organizing it.

The conference is "East Meets West: A Gendered View of Legal Tradition." It will be the sixth conference of the research network Gender Difference in the History of European Legal Cultures. It will be held at the Central European University in March 10-12, 2011. It is sponsored by the university's departments of Gender Studies, History, Legal Studies, and Medieval Studies.

Submit abstracts before December 15, 2010, to a member of the organizing committee: Dr. Grethe Jacobsen, Royal Library, Copenhagen, Denmark, gja@kb.dk; Prof. em. Dr. Heide Wunder, Bad Nauheim, Germany, dhwunder@t-online.de; Dr. Gerhard Jaritz, Department of Medieval Studies, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, jaritzg@ceu.hu The organizers promise to send out responses by January 2011.

The "geographical frame" of the conference is "a global perspective with a basis in European legal cultures and with a special focus on Eastern Europe." Its chronological frame is from the Early Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century. The conference language is English.

The organizers have announced three themes: (1) "Gendered Legal Cultures: Theories and Methods"; (2) Gender, Community and Law, including property rights and economic influence, gendered work roles and guild membership, labour movements and the state; and (3) "Migration and competing legal cultures - towards a global perspective. " Presentations may take the form of papers, workshop presentations or panel discussions. The organizers stress that presenters should leave "plenty of room for discussion."

Here is the call's interesting description of the sponsoring "network" and its history:
The European network was founded at a conference entitled ‘gender difference in European law/Geschlechterdifferenz in europäischen Recht’ held at the Max-Planck-Institut für europäische Rechtsgeschichte, Frankfurt, Germany, in February 2000 and organized by Heide Wunder, then professor at Kassel University. The network was named “Geschlechterdifferenz in europäischen Rechtskreisen / Gender differences in European legal cultures” at first but has since changed name to the international network “Gender Differences in the History of European Legal Cultures”.

The first conference has since been followed by four conferences held around Europe. The second conference took place at the Centro per gli studi storici italo-germanici, University of Trent, Italy, in October 2002, under the title ‘Il coste delle nozze/der Preis des Heiratens‘ and organized by professors Silvana Seidel Menchi and Diego Quaglioni. At the closing of this conference the theme of the third conference was agreed to be ‘Less Favored - More Favored: Gender in European Legal History, 12th - 19th Centuries / Benachteiligt - begünstigt: Geschlecht in der Europäischen Rechtsgeschichte, 12. - 19. Jahrhundert.’ This conference took place at the Royal Library, Copenhagen, in September 2004 and was organized by dr. phil. Grethe Jacobsen, professor Inger Dübeck and (then) Ph.D. candidate Helle Vogt. The fourth conference, at the Institute of Mediterranean Studies, Rethymno, Crete, in September 2006, had as its theme ‘Gender, family and property in legal theory and practice: The European perspective from the 10th to the 20th century’ and was organized by professor Aglaia Kasdagli.

At the conclusion of this conference the themes for the fifth conference was decided to be 1) Gender constructions in non-juridical discourses and their impact on jurisprudence and jurisdiction; 2) Comparing legal cultures: Differences and similarities, concepts and methods; and 3) Gendered legal cultures in global perspective: Encounters and conflicts, transfers and interactions. The fifth conference was held in Frankfurt and organized by Dr. Karin Gottschalk, Goethe University of Frankfurt am Main, Germany. It had as its title ‘New Perspectives on Gender and Legal History: European Traditions and the Challenge of Global History’.

The network has its roots in the current flowering, often gendered, research in European Legal history, found in several European countries. The organizers of the conference have been especially committed to bring together young scholars and established scholars from all areas of Europe in the hope that it will inspire them to include a gendered perspective in their research and also situating their work in a broad European context. The search for common traits across chronological and geographical borders will also reveal which local features are unique and therefore of general interest. As can be seen from the places where the conferences have been held, the network has moved across Europe and away from Western Europe, which traditionally has been the focus for much legal history. The papers from the conferences has covered topics in European legal history ranging in time form the Early Middle Ages to the 20th century, and geographically from Iceland to Turkey. A few papers have dealt with Baltic and Eastern European legal history. However, much more awareness of this research is needed and the organizers expect that by placing the next conference in Budapest we will attract papers as well as scholars dealing with these topics

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