19 March 2010

CALL FOR PAPERS: Mapping Africa from the Ninth to the Nineteenth Century

I received the following notice today through H-Levant, 'a moderated e-mail list for those interested in the scholarly discussion of the modern history and culture of the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean.'

Mapping Africa from the Ninth to the Nineteenth Century: Construction, Transmission and Circulation of Cartographic Knowledge about Africa, Europe, and the Arab world (Paris – 2-3 December 2010)

Colonial mapping of Africa during 20th century has received much insightful attention but recent research invites us to overlook the western bias by considering knowledge construction in a global and interconnected perspective while re-inserting the chronology of the colonial moment in the longue durée. We will seek to develop a history of geographical and cartographic knowledge encompassing simultaneously European, Islamic and African productions and highlighting circulation of knowledge and practices between these different spaces. Rejecting the idea of westernization of the world undertaken through maps we wish to question knowledge and discourses about the representation of African spaces.

The adopted timeframe makes a voluntary break with the institutional and political eras in order to understand African cartography as a process which would neither be restricted to the ancient cartographic image of a virgin continent inhabited by lions, nor limited to the image of a vacuum that colonial cartography would eventually fill. Medieval Western scholars inherited the concept of Africa from ancient authorities who considered it as the third part of the oikoumenē, lying in dreamt and dreaded horizons. Thus, our familiar notion of the African continent proceeds from a progressive intellectual construction stemming from the Middle-Ages. However, this story shall not be reduced to a positivist construction where linear progress originating from medieval cartography would ineluctably lead to an assumingly more scientific representation of space. Although African cartography evolved through empirical discoveries as the Portuguese navigations or through epistemological breakthrough as the rediscovery of Ptolemy’s “Geography”, it was also burdened by centuries-old scholarly traditions which proved difficult to re-consider in the light of experience. At the end of the nineteenth century, growing imperial cartography emptied African territories, allowing the Europeans to divide the continent in the name of a globally homogeneous space. Indeed, we seek to reveal these different graphic representations of the African continent oscillating between discovery and oblivion and between revelation and myth.

Numerous authors, following the footsteps of J.B. Harley, analysed maps as instruments of power and stressed the symbolic dimension of mapping. Beyond this aspect, it seems epistemologically fundamental not to forget the material aspect of maps. We would like papers which will question mapping processes and which analyse techniques, knowledge and practices at the base of maps. One of the main aims of this conference will be to analyse in depth the construction and circulation of geographical knowledge between the different cultural areas. We invite paper submissions on transfers and circulation of cartographic practices and on the origin of geographical knowledge. We are interested in hearing from scholars who would study the heterogeneity of cartographic knowledge in maps originating from one or numerous cartographic traditions. We welcome papers, not only on the representation of the continent and transcontinental exchanges, but also on local or regional microhistory.

Abstracts of 300 words should be sent by 3 May 2010, in English or French, to Camille Lefebvre (CEMAf), Robin Seignobos (University of Paris I) and Vincent Hiribarren (University of Leeds), conference organizers to: cartographierlafrique@gmail.com

Cosponsored by the CEMAf (http://www.cemaf.cnrs.fr/), the National Library of France (BNF http://www.bnf.fr/), and the French committee of Cartography (http://www.lecfc.fr/).

18 March 2010


A symposium on ‘Mediterranean Legal Hybridity: Mixtures and Movements’ is being hosted by the Department of Civil Law of the Faculty of Law and the Mediterranean Institute, both of the University of Malta. It is organised in conjunction with Juris Diversitas.

The deadline for proposals is Monday, 29 March 2010.

Juris Diversitas aims to explore the boundaries (i) between legal and normative traditions and (ii) between comparative law and other disciplines. Our members will meet midday on Friday, 11 June 2010 for our Annual General Meeting. There will also be an informal roundtable discussion of research related to our themes and open to anyone attending the symposium.

The symposium will begin on the afternoon of Friday, 11 June 2010 with a plenary speech, but most papers will be presented on Saturday, 12 June 2010.

• Our primary theme is the investigation of legal and normative diversity across the Mediterranean.
• A secondary theme is the establishment of dialogue between comparative lawyers and other disciplines.

While our primary focus is on the region, we will consider any proposals on the mixtures and movements of state laws and other norms. Among others, anthropologists, geographers, historians, and sociologists are all encouraged to participate.

An excursion into Valletta or Mdina is also being planned for Sunday, 13 June 2010.

Those interested in making a presentation (twenty minutes long) should email Dr Seán Patrick Donlan (sean.donlan@ul.ie) by Monday, 29 March 2010 with a short (250 word) proposal.

Note that the conference fee is €100. Transportation and accommodation are not included. More details will follow shortly.

17 March 2010

Sweet on Constitutionalism, legal pluralism, and international regimes

I just noticed a post on the Legal Theory Blog announcing the availability of Alec Stone Sweet's 'Constitutionalism, legal pluralism, and international regimes' on the SSRN. The abstract for the article, to be published in (2009) 16 Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 621 reads:

The international legal order, although pluralist in structure, is in the process of being constitutionalized. This article supports this claim in several different ways. In the Part I, I argue that most accepted understandings of “constitution” would readily apply to at least some international regimes. In Part II, I discuss different notions of “constitutional pluralism,” and demonstrate that legal pluralism is not necessarily antithetical to constitutionalism. In fact, one finds a great deal of constitutional pluralism within national legal orders in Europe. Part III puts forward an argument that the European Court of Justice, the European Court of Human Rights, and the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization are constitutional jurisdictions. In the Conclusion, I respond what I take to be the most important objections to these claims.

‘Law ands’ in Turin

A Series of Conferences directed by Prof. Pier Giuseppe Monateri

A number of conference events in Italian language will take place in Turin during the months of March and April 2010, focused on the relations and connections between the legal language and the languages of arts such as cinema, music, literature, theatre. Each conference will feature two speakers, one legal academic and one with a different background.
All conferences will take place on Tuesdays at 18.00 hrs. The venue will be one of the main literary clubs in town, the Circolo dei Lettori (www.circololettori.it), very downtown at the Palazzo Graneri della Roccia, via Bogino no. 9.
The scheduled events will be as follows:

9 March, P.G Monateri and Carlo Galli:
Amleto, Eliot, la sovranità e la politica

23 March, Daniela Carpi and Lorenzo Fazio:
Golding, Parks, la civiltà e l'equità

30 March, Cristina Costantini e Simone Regazzoni:
Tolkien, Agamben e il paradigma della nuda vita

13 April, Chiara Battisti and Gianluca Arrighi:
Law & Order, Iconolgia della legge e del dis-ordine

27 April,Giorgio Resta e Enrico Polimanti :
Musica, Diritto e Potere

Upcoming: Cambridge Companion to EU Private Law

The emergence of EU Private Law as an independent legal discipline is one of the most significant developments in European legal scholarship in recent times. In this Companion, leading scholars provide a critical introduction to the subject's key areas, while offering original and thought-provoking comment on the field. In addition to several chapters on consumer law topics, the collection has individual chapters on commercial contracts, competition law, non-discrimination law, financial services and travel law. It also discusses the wider issues concerning EU Private Law, such as its historical evolution, the role of comparative law, language and terminology, as well as the implications of the Common Frame of Reference project. A useful 'scene-setting' introduction and further reading arranged thematically make this important publication the student's and scholar's first port of call when exploring the field.

For more information, see http://www.cambridge.org/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=9780521516174

CALL FOR PAPERS: AAA Panel on 'The State: Fixity and Circulation'

As a follow-up on an earlier post, there's a Call for Papers for a Panel on 'The State: Fixity and Circulation'. American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting to be held in wonderful New Orleans, Louisiana from 17-21 November 2010.

Note that the deadline is 21 March 2010.

The H-Net listing reads:

Please address any inquiries or send paper abstracts no longer than 250 words in length to Christine Folch (cfolch@gmail.com) and Jeremy Rayner (jcrayner@gmail.com) by March 21, 2010.

Statehood is almost synonymous with boundary-making, whether it’s the territorial borders of the nation-state, or the institutional boundaries that have made a “state”-“civil society” distinction part of our common sense. At the same time, these processes of boundary-making occur in the context of a capitalist modernity to which circulation has a particular centrality. This panel will bring together ethnographically- and historically-grounded papers that consider to what degree, and under what circumstances, states are constituted and represented as spatiotemporally-fixed, coherently-bounded entities with respect to the circulation of values, persons, and signifiers through space and over time. How has the making of modern nation-states and empires defined limits and shifted boundaries to incorporate or exclude practices, institutions, signifiers, groups of people, resources, and territories? How have particular instances of boundary-making (or unmaking) interpenetrated with collective projects located, wholly or partly, outside of state institutions? How might these interpenetrations, together with the historical contingency of state boundary-making, cause us to rethink analytical categories such as “the state” and “civil society”? The panel will address these questions by bringing together ethnographically and historically-grounded papers that examine particular instances in which the spatiotemporal fixity of the state is brought into question by processes of circulation.

16 March 2010


The World Society of Mixed Jurisdiction Jurists has issued a Call for Papers for its Third International Congress (20-23 June 2011, Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel)). The theme of the Congress is Methodology and Innovation in Mixed Legal Systems.

Mixed legal systems, both the classical ‘mixed jurisdictions’ combining common law and civilian law and more exotic hybrids, are increasingly important touchstones for comparative law. The Third Congress of the World Society of Mixed Jurisdiction Jurists focuses on legal methodology and innovation in mixed systems in the twenty‐first century: investigating past experiences, exploring present practices, and predicting future possibilities.

Proposals for papers on any of a number of topics are welcome. They may be submitted by jurists from any jurisdiction, and by members and non-members of the Society alike. Proposals should be submitted to the Secretary-General of the Society, Prof. Celia Fassberg (mscelia@mscc.huji.ac.il) by 1 May 2010. They should not exceed 500 words and should be accompanied by a curriculum vitae of one page only. The Planning Committee will make its selection by 1 August 2010. The time allocated for delivery of papers will be no longer than 20 minutes. Papers delivered at the conference will be considered for publication in the conference proceedings. The Society regrets that it cannot guarantee publication of all papers delivered and cannot cover travel expenses of participants in the congress.

15 March 2010

UPCOMING: Patrick Glenn's Legal traditions of the world (4th edition)

Patrick Glenn's Legal traditions of the world: sustainable diversity in law (Oxford University Press, 4th edition) is due to be released in May 2010.

This prize-winning work offers a major new means of conceptualizing law and legal relations across the world. National laws are placed in the broader context of major legal traditions, those of chthonic (or indigenous) law, talmudic law, civil law, islamic law, common law, hindu law and confucian law. Each tradition is examined in terms of its institutions and substantive law, its founding concepts and methods, its attitude towards the concept of change and its teaching on relations with other traditions and peoples. Legal traditions are explained in terms of multivalent and non-conflictual forms of logic and thought.

This book will be invaluable to law students and lawyers engaged in comparative or transnational work, historians, social scientists, and all those interested in the legal traditions that underpin the world's major societies. Features:
  • Winner of the Grand Prize of the International Academy of Comparative Law
  • Provides an overview of major legal institutions and principles in each tradition facilitating understanding of law in a broader context
  • Provides a comprehensive treatment of major legal traditions of the world and incorporates a superb level of scholarship and analysis
  • dopts a genuinely global perspective making it an invaluable resource for courses worldwide
  • Includes extensive references and web links at the end of each chapter, to aid and encourage further research
  • A seminal text from a leading teacher and researcher in the field of comparative law. Professor Glenn is a former Director of the Institute of Comparative Law, McGill University, a member of the International Academy of Comparative Law, and has been a Visiting Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford
  • Includes a thoroughly revised and restructured chapter on confucian legal traditions
  • Features interesting discussion of how legal traditions relate to parallel notions of collective memory, places of memory, and deep history
  • Considers developments in the legal systems of the European Union, in the context of each relevant legal tradition

NOTICE: New Perspectives on Legal Pluralism - Symposium on Comparative Early Modern Legal History

'New Perspectives on Legal Pluralism', a Symposium on Comparative Early Modern Legal History held under the auspices of the Center for Renaissance Studies will take place at the Newberry Library in Chicago on Friday, 23 April 2010. The symposium meets:

to discuss the comparative legal history of the Atlantic world in the period c1492 to 1815. Each year we offer a one-day conference that brings together law professors, historians, and social scientists to explore a particular topic in comparative legal history, broadly understood.

The site reads:

Colonialism enhanced legal pluralism. European, African, Asian, and American polities relied on layered and multi-centric systems of law, and their encounters generated new and often repeating patterns of jurisdictional politics. This widespread legal pluralism at times contributed to regional integration by making substantively different legal systems intelligible to travelers and merchants. It also posed challenges to imperial administration as subordinate authorities sought to establish, expand, or protect prerogatives to act independently of metropolitan sovereigns and courts. With recent scholarship establishing clearly the benefits of framing colonial law as jurisdictionally complex and unstable, opportunities are now in sight to push this perspective further in a number of directions.

One interesting set of problems involves questions about how conflicts over the prerogatives of delegated legal authorities to discipline and control subordinate or dependent populations related to the changing contours of imperial constitutions or ideologies of rule. Conference participants may explore the ways in which such figures as garrison commanders, plantation owners, ship captains, Company officials, missionaries, and others with some measure of legal authority positioned themselves in relation to both metropolitan and colonial law. Did they make innovative legal claims or exert influence on regional patterns? We invite investigations of the conditions under which such actors deferred to imperial authority, the sources they drew upon to defend their legal prerogatives, and the nature of their interactions with various courts. Other studies might consider the degree to which the politics of making and defending claims to semi-autonomous legal authority informed broader, even regional, political processes. As we bring such connections into sight, it may be possible to refine comparisons of the politics of legal pluralism in different parts of a colonial regime, or between the Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Indian Ocean worlds.

A related theme focuses on the legal strategies of subordinate groups. Taking into account a framework of legal pluralism, scholars can move beyond the study of “resistance” to ask questions about the legal participation of formally subordinate groups—even some that were seemingly powerless before the law. Forum shopping, petitions for mercy, violence against magistrates, new genres of legal writing, maneuvers to escape indebtedness—these and other strategies had immediate and sometimes far-reaching institutional effects. In addition to tracing such connections, we might probe the formative influences on legal strategies. How did knowledge about law circulate? To what extent did information or stories about of the effectiveness of particular legal strategies carry across social strata, imperial divides, and oceans? How did legal actors imagine and describe plural legal orders? With attention to these and other, related topics, the conference seeks to open the study of legal pluralism to new approaches and insights.

Additional information, incuding the schedule, is available here. Note that attendance is free, but advance registration is required.