Between 1880 and 1930, the humanities underwent a period of fundamental change as a result of social modernization and technical-industrial acceleration. Particularly subsequent to 1918, in Germany this upending process was shaped by what has been termed the crisis of historicism. Whereas the historical paradigm of scholarship may have facilitated and simultaneously enhanced the earlier process of national unification, after the collapse of the monarchy a wave of widespread antihistorical polemics washed across the academic landscape. As a consequence, German legal scholarship faced the challenge of adopting a new orientation. The younger scholars in particular found themselves in opposition to an established and all-dominant generation of the “classical” scholars. Similarly to participants in other reform projects of the early twentieth century, they emphatically considered themselves “young”. The work examines the ways they perceived the contours of the field’s transformation, the terms with which they described the task and promise of their scholarship, and the tendencies which took hold at the time. Alongside an evaluation of the academic discussion of the time, as embodied in specific essays and monographs, the study draws upon correspondence and numerous unpublished papers found in the written estates of relevant figures. In doing so, it seeks to identify the various impulses behind this renewal, to trace the most important themes associated with the era, and to evaluate the process of legal historiography‘s modernization.
Die junge Rechtsgeschichte. Kategorienwandel in der rechtshistorischen Germanistik der Zwischenkriegszeit, Tübingen : Mohr Siebeck, 2018 (= Beiträge zur Rechtsgeschichte des 20. Jahrhunderts; 99)