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Theory Talks

Contact: Silvia Steininger, Tom Sparks


Theory Talks provides a forum for research fellows and visiting scholars of the Max Planck Institute to discuss questions relating to legal, political and moral theory.  The seminars normally take place once a month, and will include a short introductory talk (15-30 minutes) followed by a general discussion.  Each seminar will focus on a new publication, a classic text, a current development, or a work in progress by a fellow or visitor.  All are welcome to participate in the discussions.

For previous sessions, please check the archive.


Fellows or visitors wishing to present a piece of work or to suggest a theme for a future edition of Theory Talks are warmly invited to contact .


16 August 2018 - 15.30-17.00

Raphael Schäfer

The Past as Tragedy, the Present as Farce? International Law's Historiographical Turn and the Reading of History


  • Andreas Thier, ' Time, Law, and Legal History - Some Observations and Considerations'. 25 Rechtsgeschichte - Legal History (2017) 20
  • Tilmann Altwicker/Oliver Diggelmann, 'How is Progress Constructed in International Legal Scholarship?', 25 European Journal of International Law (2014) 427
  • Thomas Kleinlein, 'International Legal Thought. Creation of a Tradition and the Potential of Disciplinary Self-Reflection', 16 The Global Community Yearbook of International Law and Jurisprudence 2016 (2017)

Room 014



20 September 2018 - 15.30-17.00

Silvia Steininger

Marxist Approaches to International Law