Second panel session

 

Panel 1: Law, Totalitarianism and the Modern World

Co-convenors: Dr Stephen Skinner (University of Exeter), Dr Cosmin Cercel (University of Nottingham)

Speakers: Dr Stephen Skinner (University of Exeter), Dr Cosmin Cercel (University of Nottingham), Prof. David Fraser
(University of Nottingham), Dr Simon Lavis (Open University)

 

Panel overview

This panel aims to provide the basis for a discussion of the particular ways in which law was instrumentalised so as to buttress national identity and security under the specific conditions of authoritarian and totalitarian regimes during the 20th century. While focusing on the cases of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and authoritarian Romania, we seek to consider the ways in which law was used by these regimes and played an effective part in structuring their pretences to legitimacy. Accordingly we aim to investigate, through comparative legal history, intellectual history and legal theory the relation between law as a normative order and the overarching ideological framework of authoritarian regimes, with regard to other contemporaneous legal systems as well as law’s participation in political projects of total domination.

In this way we intend to examine an often overlooked aspect of both legal history and the history of totalitarianism, and to inquire into the place of legal knowledge and legal practices within the structures of the modern. We intend to do this by exploring the technical legal, political and philosophical construction of core concepts underpinning state practices such as sovereignty, security, legality and crime. Subsequently, as a matter of theoretical engagement with the past, our aim is to reflect on these historical experiences and their significance for present ongoing debates relating to law and democracy.

 

Dr Cosmin Sebastian Cercel

University of Nottingham

 

Mapping Dictatorship: Marshal Antonescu’s Dual State and the Law

Prof. David Fraser

University of Nottingham

 

 

Criminal Law in Auschwitz: Positivism, Natural Law, and SS Legal Normativity

 

 

 

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Panel 2: Vectors of Legal Cultures and Identities? Legal Periodicals in Belgium, Estonia and France

Chair: Dr Sebastiaan Vandenbogaerde (Ghent University)

Speakers: Dr Sebastiaan Vandenbogaerde (Ghent University), Prof. Florence Renucci & Ing. Isabelle Thiebau (University of Lille),
Dr Merike Ristikivi (University of Tartu), Ms Pascaline le Polain & Prof. Nathalie Tousignant (University Saint-Louis in Brusselles)

 

Panel overview

Today, periodical studies are blooming in literature and historical disciplines. Research on legal periodicals (reviews and journals will be used as synonyms here) has been, in comparison to their literary counterparts, rather neglected. Legal historians tend to see law reviews only as a source and not as an object of study. However, legal periodicals are inspiring and rewarding to document and reconstruct legal cultures and to sketch professional networks supporting the review, as a material component.

Until now, research on law journals in Europe was a patchwork of case studies mostly based on a very small selection of titles. Only a handful of national studies embedded legal journals into a wider national and historical context. So far, there are case studies on Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Poland and Belgium. Remarkably, all illustrate how legal periodicals played their part in constructing a national entity, identity and legal culture. Several editorial boards explicitly intended to contribute to national law, influencing national legislators and politics and profiling themselves as cornerstones of national legal cultures.

Therefore, this panel launches a new concept in seeing legal periodicals as vectors of legal cultures and identities as they play an active role in spreading ideas on law in both national and international settings. In other words, they shape and determine a justice system. Since law – in the broadest sense of the word – is primordial to create and maintain order in a nation or an empire (even if challenged and opposed to), legal periodicals can be seen as vectors of nations and empires, hence creating legal cultures and identities. Moreover, editors often found inspiration abroad, thus, in a way, legal periodicals are related to each other even beyond national borders. This cross-fertilization leads to the concept of ‘families or models’ of legal periodicals as determining factors of legal cultures.

Beyond contents of these reviews, the panel investigates the role journals play to implement specific imperial policies, to disseminate new conceptions of power and polity and to translate the imperial imagined communities at work.

 

Three groups of research questions are recurrent in each paper. Firstly, on the actors: Who were the editors, authors, publishers and – if possible to find out - readers? How did they relate to each other and were there any connections between different titles? What was their relation to professional associations and how large was the impact of these unions on the journal and its readership? Secondly, on the content: How did editors conceive their periodical? In other words, what was written in the opening statement of each periodical? What were the underlying strategies to establish such kind of journal? Which kind of articles, announcements or other messages were

published? On which topics? A third group of questions focuses on the evolution of legal reviews over time. These questions help to reconstruct the way in which those periodicals contributed to the creation of a legal culture.

This panel addresses perfectly the conference theme as it brings together both the functional and the axiological approach as suggested in the Call for Papers. Legal journals identify legal problems and offer policy-makers solutions. In this way, they (can) shape and determine legal identity and culture on a national and international level. The originality of this panel, uniting Belgian, French and Estonian researchers, lays in its comparative dimension analysing law from a European and colonial point of view. Each contribution will illustrate how legal periodicals are vectors of law, promoters of nations/empires and creators of legal cultures and identities. This panel is inherently multidisciplinary as it positions itself on the cross roads of legal, intellectual, colonial and cultural history and literature sciences adopting methods from several disciplines.

 

Prof. Florence Renucci

(scientific part of
the study)

University of Lille

 

Vectors of Empires? Legal Periodicals in French Colonies (1830-1914)

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Ing. Isabelle Thiebau

(technical part of
the study)

University of Lille

 

Vectors of Empires? Legal Periodicals in French Colonies (1830-1914)

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Dr Merike Ristikivi

University of Tartu

 

 

Vectors of Legal Culture? The Collapse of the Soviet Union in Estonian Law Journals

 

 

 

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Panel 3: Thinking about Ourselves: Legal Historiography and Identity

Chair: Prof. Nir Kedar (Sapir Academic School of Law & Bar-Ilan University)

Speakers: Prof. Luigi Lacchè (University of Macerata), Dr Agustin Parise (University of Maastricht),
Mr Henrik Forshamn (Uppsala University), Dr Jacek Srokosz (Opole University)

 

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Mr Henrik Forshamn

University of Uppsala

 

 

Swedish legal education,
Roman law and legal history

 

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