Using Normative Knowledge from the Past

Cross-cutting theme

Perhaps definitive of legal historians, if not all historians, is that they are interested in change over time. Changes in normative knowledge, the processes of selection and transformation, have long been observed. Implicated in these processes is one recurring aspect, significant (at least for legal historians with a taste for historiography) but yet to be articulated as a distinctive area of legal historical research: the ways in which past normative knowledge was perceived, constructed and used.

The crosscutting issue 'Using Normative Knowledge from the Past' investigates how understandings and uses of past normative knowledge, as well as other processes of change, functioned in the (re)production of law, norms and legal practice. It takes snapshots of certain historical regimes of normativity and focuses the lens on past normative knowledge as an important resource of those regimes’ formation. As such, it also asks what legal historical epistemology can be derived from the ways in which legal practitioners handled this resource and the resulting shifts in legal practice.

‘Using Normative Knowledge from the Past’ is addressed by a working group through joint readings on the production of normative knowledge and the preparation of working papers on the relationship between historical normative knowledge, practices of using the past, and the production of law.

This crosscutting issue shares perspectives with the Tradition Regime under the GloNo Project.

In addition, members of the working group are involved in the design of the Summer Academy 2022.

Teaser Image: "Spiral" by greenzowie

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