Fellowship at the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study “Law as Culture”


The Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study “Law as Cultureinvites academics of excellent standing to apply for a fellowship or junior fellowship for a maximum of 12 months (for the research period from April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2022) on the subject:

Law and Community

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 wideranging 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?

The Käte 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 (kaesling@uni-bonn.de) or, alternatively, by mail:

Directorate of the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study “Law as Culture”
c/o Dr. Katharina Kaesling
Research Coordinator
Konrad-Zuse-Platz 1-3
53227 Bonn

Further information can be found here.