Decolonial Comparative Law

Colloquium Methods for Legal History

  • Date: Jan 14, 2020
  • Time: 02:15 PM - 04:30 PM (Local Time Germany)
  • Speaker: Ralf Michaels / Lena Salaymeh (MPI for comparative and international Private Law, Hamburg)
  • Location: Max-Planck-Institut für europäische Rechtsgeschichte
  • Room: Z01
 Colloquium: Decolonial Comparative Law

Decolonial comparative law both identifies how the matrix of modernity/coloniality structures prevalent understandings of law and offers decolonial alternatives. (Coloniality means not merely colonialism, but rather a totalizing and universalizing mode of thought that underlies modernity.) Conventional comparative law rests on epistemic assumptions that emerge from the modernity/coloniality matrix and this has implications for a number of core presumptions or practices in comparative law: using the nation-state as a category of analysis, privileging secular law over religious law, viewing modern law as superior to precolonial and anticolonial legal traditions. Decoloniality seeks to overcome the center-periphery structure, a key aspect of the modernity/coloniality matrix, through the concept of pluriversality, meaning the legitimacy of multiple traditions and social orderings.

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