Summer Academy 2022
Since 2014, the Institute has organised an annual Max Planck Summer Academy for Legal History. After a corona-related two-year break, this July we were able to welcome 21 participants from 11 countries to discuss the topic of ‘Using History in Law’.
People all over the world have invoked the past or ‘tradition’ to legitimise or delegitimise norms. This year’s topic explored past legal orders by examining how actors used, valued or referred to history when dealing with the law. We discussed the use of history as a resource for the maintenance or reconstruction of the law, the law being understood as something not simply there but rather constructed by people and their practices in their local and concrete circumstances.
Many of the participants’ presentations provided specific case studies on this theme. One of the recurrent questions throughout the two weeks was ‘What is the law made up of and what do we exclude and include when thinking about law?’ This was raised not only in our World Café session, the discussion of the current German controversy about restituting properties to the Hohenzollern family, and a talk show, but also in the evening lecture by Fernanda Pirie.