Masterclass 2024

Colonial Legacies in Public Law: histories, theories, pitfalls and potentials
Professor Philipp Dann


The upcoming Masterclass with Professor Philipp Dann will take place on 17-20 June 2024 at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg, Germany.

The legacies of empire and colonialism are becoming visible everywhere these days. They shape various debates in public law but also indicate a new phase of globalization. The Masterclass will study these legacies and discuss their various dimensions and implications in comparative constitutional, public international and European Union law. The Class will draw on history and political theory, especially post-/decolonial theories to contextualize public law. It will use examples (such as the concept of development and democracy) to understand how empire and colonialism have shaped constitutional, international and European Union law and their scholarly reflection over time. But it will also turn to the future and ask participants to explore the potentials (and pitfalls) for re-imagining public law and its scholarship in the 21st century through the colonial lens. The Class is an invitation to rethink public law and the role of legal scholarship in a truly global way mindful of the broader legacies of modernity and colonialism.

Session 1: Comparative Constitutional Law, the Southern Turn and Reflexive Globalization – argument and framing

Session 2: International law and the concept of development

Session 3: European Public Law and the legacies of Empires

Session 4: Constitutional thought in reflexive globalization: examples of temporality and democracy

Philipp Dann is Professor at Humboldt University Berlin, where he holds the Chair in Public and Comparative Law. His research focuses on the role of law in the encounter and entanglement between South and North – in international, comparative and European law, in legal theory and legal history. He has published three monographs, ten edited volumes and is the editor-in-chief of the quarterly journal “World Comparative Law”. He is a co-founder of the ‘Law and Development Research Network’, a co-chair of the ICON chapter Germany and a principal investigator at research clusters ‘Contestations of the Liberal Script’ and ‘Varieties of Constitutionalism’. He has advised governments and other parties on constitutional matters and questions of law and development.

All interested persons are welcome to submit a completed online application (CV, letter of motivation) by 17 April 2024.

There is the possibility for participants to present their related research projects to Professor Dann and the other participants during the Masterclass. Please add an abstract of max. 500 words in case you are interested in this opportunity.

A limited number of applicants from outside Europe can be granted travel stipends based on regional and social considerations. Please explain your request in a separate letter.

Back to overview Online application