Saturday, June 18, 2016

Conference: Law, Empire, and Global Intellectual History

On June 19-21, 2016, the Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context" at Universität Heidelberg will hold a conference on "Law, Empire, and Global Intellectual History." The program is here. Here's the idea:

Legal concepts have served as fundamental tools in re-shaping power relations, in normativizing imperial structures as well as in challenging and destabilizing them. Law has offered an intellectual framework for positing new concepts of civilization, ethics, rights, and resilience, in constructing new kinds of individual as well as social selves. The mutual entanglements of legal ideas, imperial power relations, and globalized encounters therefore constitute a key site of interrogation through which one can study the emergence of the world today, while also imagining sites of radical resistance and transformation. This conference will address such issues, raising questions that also have a broader extra-academic ethical and political significance.

The conference will chart the ways in which future areas of legal-historical research can be informed by critical perspectives derived from the discipline of global intellectual history. The assumption is that this nascent academic field can offer new methodologies for studying the transnationally-constructed and globally-entangled emergence of fundamental legal concepts that inform juridical, social, political, economic, and religious frameworks today. Taking a cue from broader debates on transculturality carried out at the Cluster of Excellence ‘Asia and Europe’ in Heidelberg University, this conference brings scholars from different disciplines together to analyze the multi-sited origins of legal-conceptual foundations that inform present-day debates.