2016 German Law in Context Program
Understanding Europe’s Refugee Crisis

The German Law Journal is a proud sponsor of the annual German Law in Context (GLiC) Program at Washington & Lee University.

The program advances the claim that law, especially when studied from a comparative perspective, must be situated in its context and understood as the expression of historical, political, social, cultural and economic “traces,” which inform the positive norms that are lawyers’ typical preoccupation.  This is a commitment to the practice of thick and critical comparison.

Each year students and faculty from the University’s Law School and German/Russian Department pursue this method with alegal or social phenomenon of contemporary resonance through a series of lectures, discussions, and film screenings from legal experts—but also historians, political scientists, economists, and cultural studies experts.  Recent programs have considered:

·      Privacy and Power:  A Transatlantic Dialogue in the Shadow of the NSA-Affair (2014)

·      Defending Democracy:  German Law and the Struggle Against Extremism (2013)

·      Parliament’s Army:  Lessons from Germany on Law and War (2012)

·      (DIS)Integration:  The Image of the Immigrant in German Law and Culture (2011)

The 2016 GLiC Program “Home and Away:  Understanding Europe’s Refugee Crisis” takes-up Europe’s pressing migrant crisis, which stirs daily and often heart-wrenching deadlines.  At the heart of the crisis are humanitarian concerns, including a painful awareness of the many lives lost—again in staggering numbers last week—along the migrant routes northward and westward away from war, failed states, broken economies, and lost hope.  But there are political casualties, too.  The European Union, as the U.K.’s “Brexit” referendum showed, may be the most prominent.  But populist, anti-immigrant movements will influence elections all across the West.

The GLiC’s semester-long interdisciplinary examination will have three highlights.

The first is this the keynote address (October 7 at 15.00 EST) from Oxford University political philosopher David Miller, who will speak on “The European Migration Crisis:  Ethical and Political Issues.”  Miller has been described as “one of the best political theorists in the world” and for years his work has focused on citizenship, nationality, statehood and immigration.  He makes a profound and provocative argument about states, communities and borders in his well-reviewed new book Strangers in Our Midst (Harvard Press 2016).  This is David Miller’s moment.  The keynote lecture will broadcast live online and will be available online as a recording after the event.

The second is a two-day symposium, hosted by Washington & Lee University’s Institute for Honor.

The third is a webinar planned for November 28 (12.00 EST) on “The Constitutional Dimensions of the Refugee Crisis.”  The program will feature the contributors to the German LawJournal’s November issue of the same title.  Information about joining the webinar will follow.

Of course, this is not the German Law Journal’s first treatment of the legal issues touching on migration and asylum.