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The WHY Seminar II – Questioning Mainstream Legal Assumptions


Prof. Hans MICKLITZ and Prof. Miguel POIARES MADURO

Monday, 15.00-17.00, Sala Triaria

Administrative Assistant: Rosanna Lewis

January – March 2012

6 credits


Seminar description

Due to the positive reactions we will continue the why seminar in a slightly revised form. The purpose will be the same, but we will present a mixture out of new topics and old ones. What will mostly change is the format.

The purpose: Legal research and legal writing is often based on ideological or methodological preconceptions which determine our understanding and our approach to law. These preconceptions are shaped by mainstream legal thinking. Implicitly we start from the premise that we do know what is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’ and why is that so. The purpose of the seminar is to disclose our preconceptions and the values by which we are guided. We do not necessarily want to show that what is often assumed to be good is actually bad. What we want is to force ourselves to articulate the true reasons for our underlying assumptions and test their limits. This will be done in contrasting the different perspectives on what is good and bad and why. Even in the instances where this seminar may confirm our original assumptions, hopefully we would be able to make use of them in a much more informed and powerful way.

The format: As before, we intend to involve speakers from inside the EUI and from outside to get a lively debate. However, we will put more emphasis on getting researchers being prepared to present a topic which is linked to their PhD.

Students will be required to read the materials in advance and be prepared to intervene actively in the seminar. Passive or unprepared participants are not welcomed. Each researcher should write a paper with a maximum of 5.000 words on how the different topics discussed at the seminar contribute to a new understanding of their PhD research. This paper should address all the topics covered by the seminar and should be prepared as the seminar develops.


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