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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.


Sunday, June 19, 2016:

16.00: Welcome Coffee

18.00: Introduction-Conceptual remarks by the organizers Kerstin von Lingen and Milinda Banerjee (heidelberg University/ Presidency University)

18.20: Opening Speech by Andrew Sartori (New York): 
Property, Law, and the Histories of Muslim Freedom in Bengal

Chair: Joachim Kurtz (Heidelberg University)

19.45: Conference Dinner


Monday, June 20, 2016:

9.00-12.00:Panel I: Ordering the World through Law: From the Early Modern to the Contemporary

Chair: Hans Martin Krämer (Heidelberg University)

Philip Stern (Duke University):
‘A Radical Vice in the System of Government’: Law, Empire, and the Nineteenth-Century Colonial Corporation.

Matthew Nelson (SOAS London):
Religious Freedom and Public Order: Tracing a Familiar Constitutional Tension in Two Islamic States

09.50-10.15: Discussion

10.15-10.45: Coffee Break

Roni Weinstein (Hebrew University Jerusalem):
The Formation of Modern Jewish Law in the Early Modern Period: A Global Perspective



12.00-14.00: Lunch Break


14.00 - 16.30:Panel II: Legal Normativities and Globalized Confrontations

Chair: Gita Dharampal-Frick (Heidelberg University)

Milinda Banerjee (Presidency University Kolkata):
Sovereignty as a Motor of Global Conceptual Travel: Sanskritic Equivalents of ‘Law’ in Bengali Discursive Production


14.45-15.15: Coffee Break

Kerstin von Lingen (Heidelberg University):
Legal Flows: ‘Crimes against Humanity’ in Transnational Legal Thought, 1899-1945

Dirk Moses (University of Sydney):
Minority Rights, Partition and Cultural Genocide: A Global Postwar Conjuncture



17.00: City tour through Heidelberg

19.00: Conference Dinner


Tudesay, June 21, 2016:

9.00-12.00: Panel III: Imperial Residues and the Emergence of Postcolonial Legal Worlds

Chair: Tanja Penter (Heidelberg University)

Ivan Sablin and Alexander Semyonov (Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg):
Diversity Management and the Russian Empire: Autonomy and Decentralization in the Global Imperial Crisis, 1905-1924

Barnaby Crowcroft (Harvard University/ SOAS):
The First Struggle for Sovereignty: Decolonization in Britain’s Empire of Protectorates, 1945-1951


10.15-10.45: Coffee Break

Mira Siegelberg (Princeton University):
Post-Imperial Constitutions and International Legal Expertise (ca. 1947-62)

Sebastian Gehrig (Oxford University):
Dividing National Sovereignty? Cold War Re-configurations of German Sovereignty within the United Nations


12.00-14.00: Lunch Break

14.00-16.00: Panel IV: Law, Imperial Violence, and ‘Cultural’ Alterity

Chair: Harald Fuess (Heidelberg University)

Ines Eben von Racknitz (Nanjing University):
International Law as “Civilizing Mission”? Lord Elgin’s Introduction of the Concept of “International Law” during the China Expedition of 1860

Kiri Paramore (Leiden University):
The Culturalization of Liberalism in East Asian Intellectual History: Competition and Collaboration in Imperialist and Nativist Otherings of the East Asian Liberal


15.15-16.00: Coffee Break

16.00: Concluding debate

19.00: Conference Dinner

Wednesday, June 22,2016:

From 8.00: Breakfast & Departure


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