s200_tyler-langeDear all,

we are very excited to announce this week’s guest speaker: prof. Tyler Lange, from the the University of California, Berkeley, will give three lectures on “Law and History” for he first time in the framework of the “Law and the Humanities” course.

You can read below a detailed description of the lectures and a lot of suggested readings. Many of them are available online, some others on the RomaTre e-learning platform. You can find further information and many links on the attached PDF file: list-of-readings-law-and-history

Nov. 8: The Uses of Medieval Legal History

This session will raise the question of why jurisprudence tends to disappear from the latter portion of intellectual histories of the early modern period. It will focus on the different aims and perspectives of history and jurisprudence. It will first discuss sites – and aims – of legal history in US academic life, a topic to be picked up on the following day. It will then reflect on the teleology implicit in the traditional philosophical destination of intellectual history courses and the alternate teleology implicit in much European legal history. It will finally explore the significance of the tension between different accounts of the European (and global) legal past, particularly with respect to the contested categories of religion, law, and modernity.

Required readings:

–Douglas Osler, “Fantasy Men,” Rechtsgeschichte 10 (2007)

–Sjoerd Griffioen, “Modernity and the Problem of Its Christian Past: The Geistesgeschichten of Blumenberg, Berger, and Gauchet,” History and Theory 55 (2016)

Optional readings:

–Glen Newey, “The Spirit of Charlemagne,” London Review of Books Blog, 5 Sept. 2016

–Helmut Coing, “English Equity and the Denunciatio Evangelica of the Canon Law,” Law Quarterly Review, 1955

Nov. 9: Religious and Scientific Truth in Legal History: Two American Historians

The second session takes up the issues raised in the previous session by discussing two very different American historians working with legal sources. Each historian operates on the basis of concepts of “revelation” and “original sin,” one more classically religious and one scientific. With respect to Richard Helmholz, the main issue will be to discuss why his latest book might be controversial in the US. His relation of legal doctrine especially to UK and to US legal practice raises the problematic possibility of the influence of “foreign laws” in common-law jurisdictions that undermines autochthonist legal histories – and may threaten some recently established rights. Dan Smail’s use of legal sources is different. Examining how litigants “consumed” justice, most recently with respect to notarial records of the seizure of assets forfeited by debtors, Smail offers us an unidealistic vision of the law grounded in inescapable human – and primate! – nature. Does anyone listen to historians of law? Is what legal historians write of any significance? How do the histories Helmholz and Smail choose to write reflect their professional locations? How do we evaluate them?

Required readings:

–R. H. Helmholz, Natural Law in Court: A History of Legal Theory in Practice, excerpt

–Daniel Lord Smail, “Psychotropy and the Patterns of Power in Human History,” (2012)

–idem, Legal Plunder (2015), excerpt

Optional readings:

–Charles Donahue, “Roman Canon Law in the Medieval English Church: Stubbs vs. Maitland Examined after 75 Years,” Michigan Law Review (1974)

–J. H. Baker, “The Origins of the ‘Doctrine’ of Consideration”

Nov. 10: Pax and pacta: Rights and Obligations from Canon Law to International Law

The final session will examine visions of global order over the long durée through a linguistic and conceptual investigation of individual freedom (both subjective contractual liberty and objective limitations on that) from Late Antiquity to the present that engages with the present-day vogue for human-rights histories. The aim is to connect with my recent research and that of other historians who have followed the concept of binding promises as it migrated from canon law to moral theology to the law of nations and beyond. If it’s clear that obligations have in some sense historically defined communities, the present significance of this is to be debated by jurists as by historians. For researchers, this may be an “einheitliches Forschungsgebiet,” but it may be one that does not lie entirely within one discipline.

Required readings:

–Peter Landau, “Pacta sun servanda. Zu den kanonistischen Grundlagen der Privatautonomie”

–Samuel Moyn, “The End of Human Rights in History,” Past & Present (2016) [or excerpt from idem, Christian Human Rights]

Optional readings:

–[Tyler Lange, Excommunication for Debt, excerpt]

–Wim Decock, “Jesuit Freedom of Contract,” TvR (2009)

–Annabel Brett, “Human Rights and the Thomist Tradition”

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