07 October 2013


What: 2014 ESCLH CONFERENCE: Traditions and changes
Where: University of Macerata
When: July 8-9, 2014
Deadline: January 1, 2014
Dear freinds of the ESCLH,
as some of you may already know, the 2014 ESCLH Conference will take place in Macerata, Italy, from the 8th to the 9th July 2014. This is for all of us a very special event and you are wormly invited to submit your papers. More information on this event (location, programme, hotels and registration) will follow.


The European Society of Comparative Legal History Conference in 2014 is organized by the Department of Law, University of Macerata

Call for papers
The European Society for Comparative Legal History (ESCLH) – founded in 2009 – continues to highlight and promote the comparison of legal ideas and legal institutions across different national juridical fields. Following the second ESCHL Conference held at Amsterdam VU University (2012) dedicated to "Definitions and Challenges", the third ESCHL Conference will take place on 8-9 July 2014 in Macerata (Italy) and will be hosted by the University of Macerata. Under the heading "Traditions and changes" the Conference will develop a theme which is integral part of the challenges of comparative legal history.

Members of legal history and comparative law networks share an important and paradigm-challenging reflection on the concept of legal tradition. This concern blends skills and disciplines, such as the legal, social and historical perspectives in an attempt to understand law and how it changes.

The conference would like to encourage scholars to use the comparative-historical approach for working on the complex concepts of ‘tradition’ and ‘change’, both separately and in correlation. This aim raises several questions. What do we think is tradition? How is it made up, how is it ‘built’ or ‘invented’? How does it relate to concepts like recollections, historical store-room, juridical experience, legal culture, legal system? What does a tradition help, why and how is it used to promote or, on the contrary, to reject changes and transformations? Is tradition a synonym of ‘past’ and is change a synonym of ‘future’? Or instead does a dialectic prevail which can, at times, unite or separate tradition and change?
What role do jurists and doctrine carry on in this field?

Reference to traditions and changes helps us better use comparative legal history, opening up not just what happened, but why it did. In doing so we must reflect not only on categories as such but also on how they are used. We know that power and every legally relevant public or private institution has the tendency to legitimise itself making recourse to values such as tradition or rationalisation (understood also as an incentive to change). Two recent examples will suffice: the growing use of polyvalent categories like that of "western legal tradition" (both in the singular and the plural) or that, more recent, of "common constitutional traditions".

The Conference welcomes proposals on any area of comparative legal history which relate to the theme of "Traditions and changes".

The starting keynote address will be delivered by Michael Stolleis, Professor emeritus of public law and history of modern law at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, former Director of the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History. The final keynote address will be given by Lauren Benton, Professor of History, Silver Professor, Affiliate Professor of Law, Dean, Graduate School of Arts & Science, New York University.

Factual information:
- Those interested in presenting a paper at the ESCLH Conference 2014 in Macerata are requested to submit the title of their paper, a short abstract (approximately 250 words) and a short CV before January 1st 2014 to the organizing committee c/o Dr. Antonella Bettoni, University of Macerata (

- The presentations of each paper will not exceed 20 minutes and should be in English.

- It is also possible to present a complete proposal for one or more panels (4 papers for every panel) with a topic within the field of comparative legal history.

- At the end of January 2014 it will be announced which papers are accepted. The abstracts of these papers will shortly thereafter be made available on the Conference-page website. For further information see:  


ESCLH Conference Secretariat
c/o Department of Law
University of Macerata
Piaggia dell'Università, 2
62100 Macerata (Italy)
tel: + 39 0733 2584336
fax: + 39 0733 2582566

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