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Lauren A. Benton, Monika Dommann, ...: »A Just Outcome is Possible.«
»A Just Outcome is Possible.«
(p. 15 – 30)

Law as a zone of contact and conflict

Lauren A. Benton, Monika Dommann, Kijan Malte Espahangizi

»A Just Outcome is Possible.«
An Interview about Legal Pluralism, Jurisdictional Conflicts and Imperial Law in Historical Perspective

PDF, 16 pages

Lauren A. Benton is one of the most innovative contemporary researchers working in the field of legal history. Since July 2015, she is professor of history and law and the dean of the College of Arts and Science at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Previously, she held a position at NYU in the department of history. She has drawn the material for her studies, to large extent, from the Early Modern, Atlantic world: mainly from the writings of colonial legal scholars, in particular their studies of the legal status of the open sea, the slave trade, and the mountains of paper produced during the colonial period documenting the paradoxical situation of subaltern governors. Consequently, her understanding of law as a zone of contact and conflict is enlightening for those undertaking a post-colonial analysis of the globalized world. We met with Lauren Benton for an extensive interview on occasion of the public talk she held in December 2014 at the Center »History of Knowledge« (ETH & University of Zurich).

Interviewers: Monika Dommann, Kijan Espahangizi

Lauren A. Benton is one of the most innovative contemporary researchers working in the field of legal history. Since July 2015, she is professor of history and law and the dean of the College of Arts and Science at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Previously, she held a position at NYU in the department of history. She has drawn the material for her studies, to large extent, from the Early Modern, Atlantic world: mainly from the writings of colonial legal scholars, in particular their studies of the legal status of the open sea, the slave trade, and the mountains of paper produced during the colonial period documenting the paradoxical situation of subaltern governors. Consequently, her understanding of law as a zone of contact and conflict is enlightening for those undertaking a post-colonial analysis of the globalized world. We met with Lauren Benton for an extensive interview on occasion of a public talk she held in December 2014 at the Center »History of Knowledge« (ETH and University of Zurich).

Dommann: Can you tell us a few things about your intellectual biography? What did you study? And what led you to your current interests?

Benton: That’s a long story because it involves a radical shift in what I was doing at first. I did my PhD in anthropology and history but worked mostly with sociologists on the study of migration. I wrote my dissertation on the informal sector, in particular on people working off the books in Spain, and this was post Franco Spain in the 1980’s, so it was not a terribly historical project although there was some history in it, of course. It was a good project to do, I enjoyed it, and I got interested in law while I was doing it because one of the things I found was that people who work in the underground economy were using a lot of the regulatory frameworks of the formal economy, and so I began to get interested in legal pluralism through that route.

But when I finished the dissertation and then the book, I realized that my heart was with history and that the big questions I wanted to consider were historical questions. So the reason why it was such a radical shift was that this in fact required leaving a very good university post, a faculty position at MIT. At that...

  • colonialism
  • Roman Law
  • sovereignty
  • conflict
  • History
  • legal practice
  • conversation
  • Empire
  • justice
  • justice

My language
English

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English

Monika Dommann

Monika Dommann

is a Professor in the Department of History at  the University of Zurich, Switzerland. Previously she has taught at the University of Basel and has held research positions at the Internationales Kolleg für Kulturtechnikforschung und Medienphilosophthe (IKKM) in Weimar, the German Historical Institute (GHI) in Washington, D.C., the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, the McGill University in Montreal and the Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften (IFK) in Vienna. Her main areas of research include the relations between the old and the new world, the history of material cultures, the history of intellectual properties, the history of logistics, the history of the market and its margins, the history of images and sound as well as methodology and theory of history.

Other texts by Monika Dommann for DIAPHANES
Kijan Malte Espahangizi

Kijan Malte Espahangizi

is a historian of knowledge and managing director of the Competence Center »History of Knowledge« (ETH & University of Zurich). He studied history and physics in Cologne and Sevilla. 2006–2010 he was junior researcher at the Chair for Science Studies at the ETH Zurich. 2010 he completed his PhD with the thesis Science in Glass. A Historical Ecology of Modern Laboratory Research. He is managing editor of the yearbook Nach Feierabend. Zürcher Jahrbuch für Wissensgeschichte. His research interests are History and Theory of Knowledge, History of Science and Technology, Material Cultures, Historical Epistemology, Ecology & Anthropology, Memory Cultures, postcolonial Global History, History of Migration.

Other texts by Kijan Malte Espahangizi for DIAPHANES
Monika Dommann (ed.), Kijan Malte Espahangizi (ed.), ...: Nach Feierabend 2015

Obwohl Recht auf Wissen zurückgreift und neues Wissen produziert, ist der epistemische Status von Gesetzen, Gerichtsentscheidungen, Rechtsansprüchen und Gerechtigkeitsvorstellungen in der wissensgeschichtlichen Forschung bislang wenig beleuchtet worden. Diese Ausgabe untersucht den breiten Fundus von Wissen, der bei der Formulierung von Rechts- und Gerechtigkeitsansprüchen ebenso ins Spiel kommt wie bei Praxen des Anklagens, Ermittelns oder Urteilens. Auf welche Weise und in welcher Form finden dabei Wissensbestände aus anderen Disziplinen, Gesellschaftssphären und kulturellen Bereichen Eingang in die Rechtspraxis? Wie wirkt das Recht auf die Fabrikation von Wissen ein? Und welche Rolle spielen Kriterien und Praktiken der Rechtfertigung, der Zeugenschaft und der Macht?

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