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Faculty of Law Lehrstuhl Fiocchi

Juristische Zeitgeschichte / Contemporary History of Law



Spring Semester, Wednesday 12.15-13.45 (from 21.02.2018 to 30.05.2018)

No lesson due to the Easter holiday: 4 April 2018

Guest lecture

Wednesday, 14 March, 12.15-13.45

Prof. Arnulf Becker Lorca

"A special relationship that never was: international law in the long conflict between the United States and Mexico"

Language of the course




Office hours for students

Every Tuesday from 16.00 to 18.00 (room RAI-H-097)

Students who cannot come during office hours can write an email for an alternative appointment.

Previous knowledge expected from students

Basic knowledge on legal history (level of BLaw UZH).

Content of the course

2018 is the anniversary year of the end of the First World War (1914-1918) and of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly (December 10, 1948): the special focus of this semester’s course will be on the analysis of the creation of the modern idea of peace and the universal implication for the construction of a peaceful world society in a legal historical perspective.

The course particularly draws attention towards the time from the 16th to the 20th century, scrutinizing the general theories of the modern state and the creation of the international law system. The complex and contradictory relations between violence and law, war and law, race and law, the economy and law and finally the (in)equality of men under the law will be addressed. The course will outline the legal consequences of these aforementioned entanglements, interactions and collisions and will subsequently analyse how these consequences relate to the nature and construction of the social order from a historical perspective.

Reading of primary sources combined together with a critical reconstruction of law and examining the works of jurists in their historical context will form part of the course.

Aim of the course and learning outcomes

After the successful completion of this course students are able to understand the social and cultural mechanisms of law in their historical contexts; to comprehend and critically explicate the ways in which law structures state systems and operates within international systems and therefore; to understand, discuss and explain how some concepts become «legal», and to analyse their fundamental influence on the social order from a historical perspective.


Sources and related materials will be distributed during the lessons and uploaded together with the slides. Please find slides and related material on OLAT

  • Marcel Senn / Lukas Gschwend, Rechtsgeschichte II – Juristische Zeitgeschichte Zürich/Basel/Genf, 3. Auflage 2010, limited to: Introduction/Einführung and Kapitel I (p. 1-48); Kapitel III (p. 73-112); Kapitel  IV (p. 113-148); Kapitel VI (p. 187-227).