Research Fields

Several research projects are grouped together in the research fields based on period-related or subject-specific criteria. The emphasis here is placed on inner disciplinary logic and integration into the relevant specialist discourse. Apart from the research projects developed in the project laboratory, all projects conducted at the Institute are part of at least one and sometimes intentionally several research fields.

Legal history cannot be restricted to a history of legislation and adjudication, of people and institutions. It must also include the methods, conventions and practices that influence, if not guide, the process of determining the law. These doctrines, conventions and practices are increasingly important to understanding the diverse processes of exchange and translation between various epistemic communities in the past and present. [more]
Research into the history of private law has a long tradition in Frankfurt. For Helmut Coing, our Founding Director, it was the key task of the Institute, for he considered this area of legal history to be ultimately the ‘direct foundation of the contemporary system of private law’. Thus the Institute’s first flagship publication, an extensive handbook, was entirely devoted to the sources and literature of the modern history of private law (Handbuch der Quellen und Literatur der neueren europäischen Privatrechtsgeschichte). Even then the 19th century in particular was presented not only as an era of unification, systematisation and ‘scientification’ of the law, but also as a period in which a new plurality of legal phenomena emerged. [more]
This Special Research Field includes issues and questions concerning the history of criminal law and approaches to the historical research of criminality. The development of penal law and the attendant juristic discourse is a central topic, and it is explored from the perspectives of conflict management, multinormativity, the representation of crime and justice in popular media and the delineation of expert knowledge in criminology and criminalistics. [more]
This special research field is focused on the phenomenon of law as a key element and driving force behind cultural development. By concentrating our efforts on the civilisations of the first millennium, we address a multiplicity of ideals and realities here that were created not least with the aid of law. [more]
Every academic discipline profits from reflection on its own doings. This entails keeping up with the development of the academic system and, in the case of jurisprudence, of the legal system of which it is a part. Jurists must reflect on the history of their discipline and on the history of their research objects to build on existing analytical traditions, to identify and, if necessary, to overcome path dependencies. [more]
One of the defining elements in the self-image of Western legal culture is the particular ordering process that took place between secular rule and religion from the High Middle Ages to the Confessional Age. In their mutual antagonism and struggle for supremacy, they were inseparable and interdependent. [more]
EU law, which is to say the law of the European Union, is very much a contemporary phenomenon. As such, it is subject to scrutiny by EU lawyers, political scientists, sociologists and others. Yet, more than 60 years after the Treaty of Paris, EU law has accrued a substantial history that has so far escaped the attention of legal historians. [more]
Ibero-American and European legal history have been closely linked since the beginning of the European expansion. While this – to some extent – lead to catastrophic consequences for the native inhabitants of the so-called New World, encountering previously alien cultures and religions also presented jurists from Europe with new challenges. [more]
The formation of the modern western concepts of law, politics, religion and morality proceeds as part of a long and complex on-going process of adoption, criticism and further development of traditions from antiquity and the Middle Ages. The scholasticism of the 16th and 17th centuries plays an important role here. [more]
As the British Empire expanded, English law was being introduced in very different parts of the world. Rules, principles and institutions from England were brought into force in regions and societies as diverse as Australia, Ghana, India, Jamaica and Singapore. In this Special Research Field, we enquire how this process unfolded in various places. [more]
Regulatory regimes are arrangements of steering and control mechanisms that profoundly influence the operation of a particular social sector. The constitutive elements of regulatory regimes extend beyond material rules of behaviour to include the procedures by which they are created and their validity is preserved; institutions that establish, promulgate and implement norms; as well as core principles and narratives of justification. [more]
An important part of the Institute’s research activities since its foundation has been to elaborate on and make available sources and support materials that are essential to basic research on legal history. [more]
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