Law & Humanities Blog: Kate Hamburger Center for Advanced Study “Law as Culture: Fellowship: Call For Applications

OVERVIEW: Subsequent to developing the “Law
as Culture” paradigm in the first funding phase (2010-2016), the Center
will now direct its attention to the interaction between law and other cultural
spheres in the second funding phase (2016-2022). During the stated research
period, the Center is dedicated to examining the relationship between Law and
Community. Within this research area, the diversity of cultures of family law
and societal forms globally will be examined. Research projects shall also be
oriented towards one of the Center’s three traversal dimensions, namely
“Cultures of Differentiation and Comparing Legal Cultures,”
“Human Rights and Autonomy,” or “The Binding Force and the
Emotive Foundations of the Law.”

The tensions described and analyzed as
contradictions of normative orders in theories of legal pluralism can only be
understood with view to the social communities hiding behind these with their
respective religious, indigenous, local, and regional claims. In this context,
the question of how these social communities are held together requires closer
examination, as does their relationship to secondary, superordinate, and
subordinate legal ties. Concretely speaking, ideas of superior or even
universalist legal communities, such as the European Legal Community or a Human
Rights Community, should be explored while bearing in mind the normative and
emotionally affective boundaries of community building.

Shaped by social proximity and emotional
entanglement, the family continues to be regarded as a central place where
societal values are reproduced, goods are distributed, and mutual
responsibility is assumed. The longstanding principle of family solidarity is
reflected in numerous legal orders. At the same time, however, family law also
mirrors changing family forms and family ideals. A wide-ranging transformation
of society and its normative foundations manifests in the pluralization of
family forms. It is precisely on the basis of that which constitutes the
normative character of the family that constructions of “us” and
“them” become clear. In cases involving foreign elements, for
example, the law of the “other” is applied using private
international family law; exceptions based on public policy nevertheless call
for a “we.”

In addition to the comparison of family law
cultures, the research area Law and Community seeks the comparison of (legal)
cultures at the level of other forms of community and their connection to
applicable law: Which social norm systems form traditional local neighborhoods,
modern clan structures, or “post-traditional communities” in
contemporary subcultures, and what is their relationship to state law? How are
these particular claims to universal validity conveyed? To what extent is valid
law accepted by them or pragmatically integrated, and do they attempt to
enforce the ideas of norms beyond their own group boundaries?

APPLICATION PROCEDURE: The Kate Hamburger Center
for Advanced Study “Law as Culture” offers a creative research
atmosphere for various disciplines in the cultural and legal sciences.
Academics of excellent standing are invited to apply by July 15, 2019.
Applications should include a résumé, project description (5-10 pages), and
selected publications, as well as list the applicant’s availability during the
research period. They should be submitted preferably by email (

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