Actors, Groups and Identities in Legal History

Max Planck Summer Academy for Legal History

June 29, 2023

The history of the law has been shaped by individual actors as well as groups of people, with their identities playing a crucial role in motivating their actions and omissions.

Presently, there is a renewed interest in biographical studies of "key actors" within legal history. Additionally, ‘legal history from below‘ emphasizes the significance of marginalized groups as powerful drivers of legal development.

Given these perspectives, it is essential for legal historians to ensure that their accounts integrate both individual and collective viewpoints, in order to provide a balanced interpretation of the past. Achieving this balance requires contextualizing and understanding the interests and behaviors of individuals and groups through the prism of identities.

Our 2023 Summer Academy delves deeper into these issues, featuring 17 international guests from institutions such as Harvard and New Delhi, who will present research projects related to this year's theme.

About the Summer Academy

Each year the Max Planck Summer Academy for Legal History aims to provide a carefully selected group of highly motivated early-stage research students, typically PhD candidates, with a comprehensive introduction to both traditional and contemporary approaches and methodologies in the field of legal history.

The Summer Academy is divided into three main parts. The first part focuses on acquainting the international group of PhD students with various sources, methodological approaches, theoretical models, and ongoing debates within legal history. These introductory courses are facilitated by both Institute members and external guest speakers.

In the second part, the participants have the opportunity to present their own research projects, specifically within the context of the year's designated special topic. This segment allows for a fruitful exchange of ideas and encourages collaborative discussions among the attendees.

The third and final part of the Academy provides all participants with the chance to further refine and enhance their individual research projects. This is made possible through access to the institute's extensive library resources and by engaging in insightful discussions with experts in different fields of legal history associated with the Institute.

More information

Go to Editor View