Max Planck Summer Academy for Legal History 2016

An entry by our guest blogger, Peter Candy.

This year’s summer academy at the Max-Planck-Institut für europäische Rechtsgeschichte in Frankfurt was held on the special theme of ‘multinormativity’. The central idea underpinning this concept is that legal historians should be sensitive to other normative orders besides that of the state when investigating the operation of past legal systems. Multinormativity forms part of the wider methodological framework of ‘global legal history’, which advocates an appreciation of ‘legal spaces’, the different ways of resolving conflict, and processes of ‘translation’ between legal cultures.
The academy was attended by students of a range of disciplines with representatives from Asia, the Americas, and Europe. The teaching consisted of lectures from leading legal historians: among them, Thomas Duve (University of Frankfurt and MPI Director), Wim Decock (KU Leuven), and Michael Stolleis (University of Frankfurt and former MPI Director). Talks on European Union law were also given by two former Jurisconsults of the European Parliament: Gregorio Garzón Clariana and Christian Pennera. Between lectures the students of the academy were invited to present the progress of their own research, with time left each afternoon to access the institute’s library.
Aside from teaching the institute organised excursions, such as a tour of the Campus Westend (now the site of Goethe-Universität). The Campus, which avoided destruction during WWII, was formerly the headquarters of IG Farben – once the fourth largest company in the world and long-time sponsor of the Nazi Party. After the war the buildings were used as a military and administrative base by General Eisenhower and the American armed forces. Students were free to travel at the weekend: Mainz provided a main attraction, including visits to St. Martinus-Dom, the Gutenberg Museum, and the Museum of Ancient Seafaring. In Frankfurt itself there were opportunities to visit the house of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, as well as the castle at Höchst and the many museums in the city.
Special thanks are to be extended to Dr. Stefanie Rüther and Nicole Pasakarnis for their organisation of the academy, as well as to the Max Planck Institute for its generosity in funding. Students contemplating applications in the future should be encouraged by the opportunity to learn at the leading research institute dedicated to European – and indeed global – legal history.