The project started from a colloquium held at Helsinki University in September 2019 (link). An international group of scholars from diverse disciplines — legal history, comparative law, civil procedure, legal theory, history of the book — convened to discuss a pressing question:
“Is the information-age changing the traditional ways of thinking about the legal past?”
While the spontaneous answer is “yes”, some reflection is needed to figure out an explanation. There may be a historical explanation. Seen in its long term evolution, it seems that legal scholarship recurrently changed its focus. Nineteenth-century jurists focused on texts and legislation; the twentieth-century then turned that legacy upside down with a concern for judges, judging, and thus with language, which has been animating large sectors of legal-historical research.
Hence, the time is ripe to think about the place of legal history in the 21st century: are legal historians silently shifting their focus to information? This is the leading question that this project will attempt to answer.
Writing legal history in the information age
Helsinki, 16 September 2019