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Professor Vicente to chair panel at ‘Comparative Legal History’ conference

Professor Lécia Vicente

Professor Lécia Vicente

LSU Law Professor Lécia Vicente will chair a panel titled Comparative Law Studies in Context: The Challenges and Opportunities of Translation, at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Comparative Law. This year, the title of the conference is “Comparative Legal History” and it will be held via Zoom on Oct. 15-16.

The conference calls for a systemic dialogue between comparative law experts and historians about the methods and goals of comparative legal history. The first step for such a conversation is translation, given that legal scholars and historians operate within different conceptual frameworks, methodologies, and linguistic rules. However, the differences do not surmount the similar challenges that both legal scholars and historians face while pursuing their endeavors. There are several circumstances when they all have to translate. If the legal scholar uses the comparative method, they will have to translate even if the language in which the law is written is intelligible. The translation is inevitable if the legal scholar approaches law from a social sciences perspective and seeks knowledge beyond understanding its effects. The legal scholar can only comprehend the law beyond its effects if they know the history of those laws and learn the options that were available to legislatures at a particular time. Likewise, historians translate before interpreting. Their translation efforts derive from their linguistic analysis engagement as they search for an understanding of legal concepts in a foreign context.

The panel, titled Comparative Law Studies in Context: The Challenges and Opportunities of Translation, addresses the circumstances mentioned above that compel legal scholars and historians to translate. The papers explore the many ways in which these researchers translate. The authors derive broader impacts, one of which being the creation of methodological tools that firmly lie on interpretation and translation of foreign concepts as a precondition of a fruitful dialogue between two different disciplines.

The complete program of the 2020 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Comparative Law can be found here.