logo

XXVth Annual Forum of Young Legal Historians

The conference continues the long-standing tradition of the Association of Young Legal Historians of providing a general meeting spot for young scholars working on the history of law. It seeks to transcend communal boundaries to further research and to stimulate the exchange of ideas. Ever since her foundation twenty-five years ago the Association has been able to attract a loyal and returning group of young scholars from many countries across Europe and the wider world. In 2019, it is our honour to welcome you to Brussels.

Identity, Citizenship and Legal History (Brussels, 5 – 8 June 2019)

Our next gathering aims to investigate the closely intertwined concepts of identity and citizenship through legal history. Since the nineteenth century, identity and citizenship are predominantly linked to the modern nation-state, a model which is nowadays increasingly challenged on the internal as well as the external level. Internally, many states are seen to be struggling with federalism, separatist movements, legacies of colonialism and right-wing politics. Externally, today’s governments are confronted with issues, such as climate change, demographic shifts, migration streams and a global and interdependent economic system, that require international cooperation or even supranational institutions. Throughout history, the concepts of citizenship and identity aren’t always defined in the same way. There is, therefore, enough reason to expect that we can learn from history. Such an endeavour necessitates a multidisciplinary approach since legal constructions can be fully appreciated only when combined with insights from the related fields of history, philosophy, political science and sociology.

Image source: Castel De Saint-Pierre Charles, Projet de traité pour rendre la paix perpétuelle entre les souverains chrétiens, 1717, Utrecht, A. Schouten Utrecht, I, see: https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k6435949w

Main organizers

  • Wouter De Rycke (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, CORE)
  • Marco in ’t Veld (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, CORE)
  • Maxime Jottrand (Université Libre de Bruxelles, CHDAJ)
  • Romain Landmeters (Université Saint-Louis Bruxelles, CHRiDI)
  • Stephanie Plasschaert (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, CORE)

Organising Committee

  • Paul De Hert (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Universiteit van Tilburg)
  • Dirk Heirbaut (Universiteit Gent)
  • Wouter Druwé (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)
  • Nathalie Tousignant (Université Saint-Louis - Bruxelles)
  • Jérôme de Brouwer (Université Libre de Bruxelles)

Scientific Committee

  • Dave De ruysscher (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Tilburg Universiteit)
  • Frederik Dhondt (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Universiteit Antwerpen)
  • Georges Martyn (Universiteit Gent)
  • Barbara Truffin (Université Libre de Bruxelles)
  • Eric Bousmar (Université Saint-Louis - Bruxelles)

Hosting universities and research groups

VUB

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) originated from the French speaking Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), that was founded in 1834 by a Brussels’ lawyer with Flemish roots, Pierre-Théodore Verhaegen. It was his intention to create a university independent of church and state at which academic freedom would roam. Although ULB would already teach in Dutch at the law faculty as early as 1935, it wouldn’t be until 1963 before practically all the faculties would teach in Dutch.  

VUB is the only Flemish university that has the principles of ‘Free Inquiry’ written into its articles of association. These principles are based on the writings of French mathematician and natural philosopher Henri Poincaré (1854-1912): ‘Thinking must never submit itself’. Today, it is still our basic philosophy.

CORE Research Group

The research group CORE (COntextual REsearch in law) groups together several disciplines of legal studies (legal history, legal theory, comparative law, sociology of law, jurisprudence, philosophy of law) within the Department of Interdisciplinary Legal Studies (DILS) of the Faculty of Law and Criminology of VUB.

The research group hosts courses and research about the mentioned subjects. Its research agenda is directed towards the exploration of the notion of law, of legal terminology, concepts and ideas, from different and combined intra-disciplinary angles (historical, comparative, theoretical, …).

 

ULB

The history of the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) is closely linked with that of Belgium itself. When the nine provinces that broke away from the Kingdom of the Netherlands formed the Belgian State in 1830, there were three state universities in the country: Ghent, Liege and Leuven. Even though Brussels had been promoted to the rank of capital, it still had no university.

For this reason, in 1831 a group of leading Brussels figures in the fields of the arts, science and education set themselves the objective of creating a university for the city. They had the choice between a state university and, failing that, a private institution, since the Belgian Constitution, the most liberal in Europe, allowed for its possibility.

Finding the financial burden of the three existing universities too onerous, the Belgian government showed little enthusiasm for yet another state university. However, when in 1834 the episcopate decided to found the Catholic University at Mechelen, things began to happen very quickly. The liberal professions and Freemasons, who were promoting the Brussels university project, stepped up their efforts, with the result that the Université libre de Belgique, as it was originally known, inaugurated its first academic year on 20 November 1834.

From 1842 it was to be called the Université libre de Bruxelles, but although the geographical term may have changed, the adjective "libre" remained. This was a key point.

ULB has remained free ever since, demonstrating its spirit of independence each time democracy and basic rights have been threatened. It shut its doors to avoid collaborating with the Nazi occupier in 1941. It has remained true to the principle it was founded on in the 19th century, Freedom of Inquiry, which postulates the rejection of dogma and of authority. These philosophical principles were strengthened by statute reform in 1970, thanks to a particularly democratic form of governance based on the participation of members of all university groups (students, assistants, professors and other employees) in the Board of Directors. This body consists of a diversity and plurality of representatives from the university community and society at large and constitutes the organisational power of the institution and sets its policies.

CHDAJ

Le Centre d’histoire du droit et d’anthropologie juridique est l’un des centres de recherche de la Faculté de droit et de criminologie de l’Université libre de Bruxelles.

Ses membres déploient leurs activités autour de deux pôles : l’histoire du droit et de la justice et l’anthropologie juridique. Ils privilégient, à travers ces deux domaines, une étude du droit et de la justice mobilisant des méthodes de recherche empiriques et une approche interdisciplinaire.

 

Université Saint-Louis - Bruxelles

The Université Saint-Louis - Bruxelles, began life in 1858 as a Philosophy Department in the Institut Saint-Louis. This department was set up to offer courses that prepared prospective law students for the ‘candidature’ exam, a pre-requisite for law degrees at the time, and which were then based on the study of philosophy and literature.

In 1929 Saint-Louis was reclassified as a university-level institution to enable it to award degrees in philosophy and literature.  In 1948, the Philosophy Department became an ‘Association without lucrative purpose’ (asbl), adopting the title ‘Faculté universitaire Saint-Louis’.

The 1960s saw a phase of accelerating change. The still new Faculty of Saint-Louis became independent of the Institut; there were new buildings, more personnel and more students. The crowning success of the decade came when the "Faculté" became the "Facultés universitaires" and a new institution composed of three Faculties and a School of Philosophy & Religion came into being. The university has today become a recognised centre of excellence in the field of human sciences.

CRHIDI

Le CRHiDI devient "Centre de recherches en histoire du droit, des institutions et de la société".

Il s'agit d'’adapter notre dénomination à la réalité du centre (et non de ré-orienter ses travaux), afin de

mieux rendre compte des actuels travaux scientifiques, thèses, publications et projets de recherche nourris en son sein.

Le Centre de recherches en histoire du droit, des institutions et de la société (CRHiDI), fondé à l'Université Saint-Louis - Bruxelles (anciennement Facultés universitaires Saint-Louis) en novembre 1992, rassemble les enseignants et chercheurs des Facultés de droit et de philosophie, lettres et sciences humaines dont les activités d'enseignement et de recherche concernent le droit, les institutions et la société, de l'antiquité à nos jours. Ses travaux s'organisent en trois axes thématiques de recherche et portent sur les mondes méditerranéen, européen et africain.

Le CRHiDI est membre du Réseau Interdisciplinarité et Société (RIS) de l'Université Saint-Louis - Bruxelles. Le CRHiDI a récemment rejoint l'Institut de Recherches Interdisciplinaires sur Bruxelles (IRIB) de Saint-Louis dont les travaux s'intègrent au sein du Brussels Studies Institute (BSI), structure commune aux universités bruxelloises (ULB, VUB, Saint-Louis).

 

http://www.vub.ac.be/en/we-are-vub#rich-history

http://www.vub.ac.be/CORE/about/

http://www.ulb.ac.be/ulb/presentation/histuk.html

https://chdaj.ulb.ac.be/

http://www.usaintlouis.be/sl/915.html

https://www.crhidi.be/

 

Hosting institution and co-organizer: Scientific Comittee of Legal History of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Sciences and the Arts.

This conference received the generous support of the Committee for Legal History of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts and of the Young Academy.

The Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium is an autonomous scientific-cultural society that promotes scholarship, science and the arts and contributes to their appeal. As an Academy, it is unique in that, apart from the sciences and the humanities, it also embraces the arts and the engineering sciences. As a result of this interdisciplinary approach, the KVAB is well-positioned to promote the great value of science and the arts. 
With the exception of the medical sciences, all scholarly and scientific fields are represented: the exact, technical, natural, social and applied sciences, the humanities and the arts.

Identity, Citizenship and Legal History (Brussels, 5 – 8 June 2019)

Historically, the concept of citizenship encompassed three distinct, yet interconnected dimensions. The first and foremost dimension was of a legal nature: citizenship was a legal status which allowed one to act freely in accordance with the law and, when necessary, to claim its protection. In its second dimension citizenship presupposed one’s active participation in society’s political institutions. And last, though certainly not least, citizenship was closely linked to membership of a specific community that provided a distinct source of identity. All three dimensions were closely related to each other. This can perhaps be most aptly exemplified in the ancient boast of ‘Civis romanus sum!’, which encapsulated simultaneously a plea for legal rights, a republican sense of duty, and a distinctly Roman feeling of the imperial pride. Since the nineteenth century, these dimensions have been linked predominantly to the modern nation-state, a model which is nowadays increasingly challenged on the internal as well as the external level. Internally, many states are seen to be struggling with federalism, separatist movements, legacies of colonialism and right-wing identity politics. Externally, today’s governments are confronted with issues, such as climate change, demographic shifts, migration streams and a global and interdependent economic system, that require international cooperation or even supranational institutions.

The XXVth Annual Forum of the Young Legal Historians aims to shed light on these questions by looking at the legal history of the closely intertwined concepts of citizenship and legal history. Throughout history, citizenship and identity has been defined in different ways and at different levels. For instance, in antiquity the often smallish Greek poleis could hardly be compared to the expansive Roman Empire. Medieval life in Europe consisted of a feudal patchwork of kingdoms, principalities and free city-states, yet all were considered part of Christendom. Identity could also be determined by social class (e.g. aristocratic families) or by profession (e.g. the guilds). The nineteenth century saw the rise of nationalism and revolution, whilst at the same time European powers expanded their colonial empires. Despite these evolutions, it cannot be denied that there is also much continuity to be found. Although diversity and globalisation have reached an unprecedented scale and form today, these phenomena

are not entirely new. Each era has had its international relations, its trades, wars, economic discrepancies, migrants and refugees.

There is, in short, enough reason to expect that we can learn from history. Such an endeavour necessitates a multidisciplinary approach since legal constructions can be fully appreciated only when combined with insights from the related fields of history, philosophy, political science and sociology. Therefore, the organizers welcome both traditional approaches in legal history and methodologically innovative research.

If you would like to present a paper during the conference, please send an application including an abstract of not more than 250 words and your CV to aylh2019@gmail.com before 15 February 2019. It is also possible to apply for a full panel. In that case, your proposal should also include, in addition to individual paper proposals, an abstract introducing the theme of the panel. Presentations have to be in English and should not exceed 20 minutes each. The conference fee will be € 100,- and does not include accommodation. Further information about the upcoming forum will be added soon on this website.

We look forward to welcoming you to Brussels.

Wouter De Rycke (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, CORE)

Marco in ’t Veld (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, CORE)

Maxime Jottrand (Université libre de Bruxelles, CHDAJ)

Romain Landmeters (Université Saint-Louis Bruxelles, CRHiDI)

Stephanie Plasschaert (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, CORE)

This conference received the generous support of the Committee for Legal History of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts and of the Young Academy.

To be announced.

T.b.a.