Conference "Criminal Law and Emotions in European Legal Cultures: From the 16th Century to the Present"

Criminal Law and Emotions in European Legal Cultures | Poster

21 - 22 May 2015, Max Planck Institute for Human Development

Organisers: Laura Kounine (MPIB) and Gian Marco Vidor (MPIB)

Legal institutions and jurists have often perceived themselves and promoted an image of their role and activity as essentially "rational". Yet, emotions have always been integral to the law, particularly in the case of criminal law. Emotions were and are taken explicitly or implicitly into consideration in legal debates, in law-making, in the codified norms and in their application, especially in relation to paramount categories such as free will, individual responsibility and culpability. Moreover, emotions are integral to the dynamics of the courtroom: in judging who is guilty, and who is not.

This two-day conference seeks to historicize the relationship between law and emotions, focusing on the period from the sixteenth century to the present. It aims to ask how legal definitions, categorizations and judgments were influenced by, and themselves influenced, moral and social codes; religious and ideological norms; scientific and medical expertise; and perceptions of the body, gender, age, social status. By examining the period between the sixteenth century and the present day, this conference also seeks to challenge and problematize the demarcation between the early modern and the modern period, looking at patterns and continuities, as well as points of fissure and change, in the relationship between law and


Please sign up for the conference until 14 May 2015 to

Karola Rockmann: rockmann [at] mpib-berlin [dot] mpg [dot] de

The conference will be held in English.