Freedom and power of European constitutional scholarship

 Third IMAGINE Workshop 21-25 June 2021 (ZOOM)

Constitutional law scholarship has always been close to public power. Constitutional lawyers have contributed to the legitimacy of the State, supported its transformations and influenced or served those in power through their arguments and positions about constitutional law. EU constitutional scholarship is not an exception. The Third IMAGINE workshop will analyse the role of ideas and of those who produce them in the creation of the European constitutional imaginary. It will also look into the various dimensions of power within the field.

The event will take place on 21-25 June (Monday-Friday), every day at 17:00 – 19:30.

Register via this link. You will receive the Zoom link when you have registered. It is possible to register to the panels on specific days.

Click here to see the detailed program.


Monday, 21 June: Theoretical reflections on the place of constitutional scholarship in European law

This panel will take up more theoretical questions concerning the role of academic scholarship for constitutional law – in Europe, but also more generally. Has the role of constitutional scholars changed since the times of Hans Kelsen, who wanted to purify legal science from politics in order to emancipate it from various pressures scholars felt? Is EU constitutional scholarship ever capable of such emancipation? Or, is the role of the scholar an active one, or even activist, with a mission to defend the fundamental values of the law they are expounding?

Tuesday, 22 June: Hegemony and emancipation in and through EU constitutional scholarship

Constitutional scholarship can be seen as an instrument of power – but also emancipation, allowing those who contribute to it to imagine other visons of the legal and political order. This panel will seek perspectives that reflect on such (potentially) emancipatory nature of EU constitutional scholarship, but also its limitations, given by the geographical or other location of the author.

Wednesday, 23 June: Influence and Power

Influence is a form of power, but the relationship between the two is circular: some scholars (and ideas) seem to have influence (only) because they occupy positions of power – institutional, but also social. However, scholarship becomes influential also through the power of ideas expressed through it. How does this process works and how shall we actually measure the influence of particular scholars and schools of thought?

Thursday, 24 June: 'From the Hills of Fiesole'

In his book Brokering Europe (CUP 2015) Antoine Vauchez wrote that the “reinvention [of European law] that we can conveniently place under the banner the ‘constitutionalization of Europe’ flourished most particularly in the hills of Fiesole between Badia Fiesolana and the Villa Schifanoia, the home of the law department of the European University Institute (EUI) since its creation in 1976’. We will ask one of the key protagonists of this process and probably the longest-serving member of the EUI academic staff, Bruno de Witte, to comment on this.

Friday, 25 June: Scholarship and the Court

Scholars are usually preoccupied with the question of whether their scholarship matters for legal practice, particularly courts. In this paper we however ask an opposite question: what is the value of judges’ academic contributions, and how do their contributions add to the authority of their  institution, especially when it is the Court itself they are writing about? In other words, how we lawyers (both academics and those outside the Court), should take the “Court written by itself” in our internal discourse of law?


The speakers and discussants include: Karen Alter (Northwestern University), Loïc Azoulai (Science Po Paris), Armin von Bogdandy (Max Planck Heidelberg), Hugo Canihac (University Saint-Louis), Daniela Caruso (Boston University), Monica Claes (Maastricht University), Michelle Everson (Birkbeck, University of London), Lech Garlicki (University of Warsaw, formerly the Constitutional Court of Poland and the European Court of Human Rights), Gertrude Lübbe-Wolff (University of Bielefeld, formerly the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany), Mikael Rask Madsen (iCourts), Joana Mendes (University of Luxembourg), Fernanda Nicola (American University), Allan Rosas (University of Turku, formerly the EU Court of Justice), Jo Shaw (University of Edinburgh), Alexander Somek (University of Vienna), Urška Šadl (EUI), Renáta Uitz (CEU), Antoine Vauchez (Université Paris 1 - Sorbonne), Joseph Weiler (NYU), Bruno de Witte (Maastricht/EUI), Michael Wilkinson (LSE) and others.

Registration: CLICK HERE