611.12 Readings: Comparative Law Methodology
In 1985, Günter Frankenberg called comparative law the “Cinderella of the legal sciences.” At the time, comparative law was marginalized as a discipline, and thoroughly undertheorized. Since then, both have changed: comparative law has received more attention, and there has been a healthy, if at times disorganized, debate on questions of method and theory.
The hope of the seminar is to provide an introduction into this methodological debate. Instead of treating method as a matter dealt with at the beginning of a comparative law study and then forgotten, we will make grappling with concepts like functionalism, transplants, and legal paradigms our main occupation. We will do so through a combination of seminal texts, overview articles, and brief examples of certain positions. After the seminar, students should have a clearer understanding not just of existing methods but also of their advantages and disadvantages; they should also feel better equipped to engage in methodologically sophisticated comparison themselves.
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