Saturday, November 21, 2020

Surrency Prize to Tuori for "Narratives and Normativity"

We continue to recap the prizes and awards announced at this year's meeting of the American Society for Legal History. The Surrency Prize is "for the best article published in the Society’s journal, the Law and History Review, in the previous year." This year's prize went to Kaius Tuori (University of Helsinki) for “Narratives and Normativity: Totalitarianism and Narrative Change in the European Legal Tradition after World War II,” published in the May issue. The citation reads: 

Tuori’s article provides us with a fascinating account of the formation of the “European Idea” in the aftermath of World War Two, and its reliance on a claim to a shared European legal culture founded in Roman law – a particular feature of German scholarship. The centrality of law and legal institutions to European union has been a major theme of modern European legal history: Indeed, it was a major theme in the formation of our sister society, the European Society for Comparative Legal History. But in that identification of law and legal history with the European idea too little attention has been paid to narrative origins. Tuori remedies that gaping hole, and in the process shows how the postwar transition of scholars such as Franz Wieacker from active proponent of Nazi legal science to esteemed Europeanist and Roman law traditionalist resulted in a hybrid narrative of European legal history that incorporated elements of the Nazi narrative of Europe in the return to Roman law. The complicated process was nudged along too by German legal scholars in both geographical exile and “inner” exile who produced Roman law studies that served as counter-narratives to Nazi legal reformers’ efforts to replace the civil law tradition with national German law in the law curriculum and the law books. Tuori’s essay is not only a fine piece of research, it is compelling and important intellectual history.
The members of the Surrency Prize Committee were Cornelia Dayton (chair), Alison LaCroix, Kunal
Parker, Christopher Tomlins, and Laurie Wood. 

Congratulations to Kaius Tuori!

-- Karen Tani