Call for Papers at East Central Europe Conference, Romania

Deadline: 30 August 2013
Open to: researchers and experts worldwide on the four topics to be discussed at the conference – legal unification; family law; property; and political and cultural regionalism
Venue: Cluj-Napoca, Romania from 28-30 November 2013


The Centre for the History and Culture of East Central Europe at the University of Leipzig and the University of Siegen have launched a Call for Papers for the conference “Phantom borders and legal regionalism. The legal culture in post-imperial and post-national contexts in East Central Europe 1919 – 1945 – 1989”, that will take place in Cluj-Napoca, Romania in November 2013.

Legal history in and about East Central and Southeast Europe is probably the field of historiography that is most intensely dominated by the paradigm of the transfer of norms and institutions. However, traditional legal history generally does not analyze how these transfers occurred, which actors expedited them in particular phases and what their motives for doing so were, how the legal institutes were adapted and institutionalized, and finally, which impact this had on the political process and legal reality.

The conference will discuss law, legal culture, institutions and institutional change as dynamic processes and social practices of specific actors. Legal culture is thus not understood as a homogenous phenomenon over space and time, but rather as a changeable phenomenon that can be made accessible to research in the field of tension between politics, the legislature, jurisprudence and jurisdiction, as well as between the professions involved in legal affairs. Given the chequered political and territorial history of East Central and Southeast Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries, it can be assumed that there are more or less effective differences in the legal culture and that these differences can be territorialized.


Speakers’ travel and accommodation costs will be covered.


Papers are invited from researchers and experts worldwide on the defined topics below. Working with four topic areas, the conference will address legal cultural phantom borders and their reinforcement by specific elite actors and as an expression of social practices:

  1. Legal unification: transfer and transplants; new codifications; socialist law; Europeanization: During the interwar period, legal literature examined three ways of establishing legal unification within a state: a) a legislative “zero hour” via the rewriting of all basic legal codes and statute books; b) a complete and immediate extension of a body of laws to the new provinces; and c) the fundamental extension of a body of laws to the new provinces accompanied by a temporary and material retention of some regulations from the new provinces.
  2. Family law: marriages and divorces, inheritance, guardianship: The laws on marriage, divorce, inheritance and guardianship belong to the areas of the legal system that most directly link the normative and institutional side of the state system with the everyday reality of the population.
  3. Property: notions, institutions and professions: Property, as well as the institutions and professions that deal with it, belong to the legal-cultural phenomena that have a very high potential to create phantom borders and to establish regional associative relationships. This panel will provide a forum for papers that analyse macro processes such as land reforms, collectivisation and de-collectivisation / reprivatisation on the three above-mentioned property levels and present regional and identity discourses and practices.
  4. Political and cultural regionalism: The reconfiguration of nation states following the First World War led to regionalist movements in many East Central and Southeast European societies. This panel will discuss regionalist parties, publications, movements and practices. The construction of regional identities in the field of tension between the national and imperial or European centres is of particular interest.


The conference welcomes proposals for a paper in the form of a short statement (1 – 2 pages), including a brief academic CV. Please send your proposal by 30 August 2013 to muellerd@uni-leipzig.deand The conference will be held in English.

For further inquiries, contact the Centre for the History and Culture of East Central Europe at the University of Leipzig at or the University of Siegen at

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