Focusing on the concept of “public uses of the past”, this presentation raises some theoretical and methodological questions regarding the potential dialogues between legal history, the history of historiography, and intellectual history. It then provides an empirical analysis of five law conferences that took place in Brazil between 1900 and 1943. Each one of them coincided with larger public commemorations, counted on the collaboration of foreign colleagues, and received strong institutional support, especially from the Institute of Brazilian Lawyers, which had been established in 1843 under Imperial protection and had to reinvent itself in the wake of the proclamation of the Republic in 1889. The contrasting readings of historical experience advanced during each one of those events reveal the close connection between the writing of history and contentious issues of a certain place and time. This lecture aims to contribute both to the understanding of lawyers’ role as historiographers and to expanding historiographical inquiry beyond the disciplinary bounds of academic history.
Bild: "Centenário da Independência do Brasil [Iconográfico]: exposição", Quelle: Brazilian National Library, http://acervo.bndigital.bn.br/sophia/index.html