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Book launch "Comparative Methods in Law, Humanities and Social Sciences"

When: Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Where: Online

In 2017 the editors of this volume initiated a series of lectures at Queen Mary University of London on the methodological challenges of comparative disciplines, under the auspices and with the financial support of the Centre for Law and Society in a Global Context and the Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences at this university.

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The starting point was some specific challenges faced in comparative legal scholarship: What does ‘comparing’ in comparative law mean? Which methods could or should we use? As there are many comparative disciplines in the humanities and the social sciences, we hoped to find answers, or at least useful suggestions, from those disciplines. Hence, we wanted to confront comparative law with a number of other comparative disciplines, and their methodological problems and choices.

Between 8 March 2017 and 22 November 2018, 13 lectures by scholars with experience of doing comparative research took place at the School of Law of Queen Mary University of London at its Mile End campus.

Some of the lecturers and participants in our series had the opportunity to write a chapter for this volume. Some other scholars joined us later. The perspective of the comparative lawyer was clearly present in our lecture series and still is in this volume, as a number of the authors (also) have a legal background. Nevertheless, the focus is also on methodological issues of comparative disciplines generally. The volume includes contributions on (comparative) history, anthropology, law, sociology, philosophy, political science, and religious studies.

It appeared that those comparative disciplines share similar issues related to research design, choice of methods, the role of a ‘tertium comparationis’, etcetera. Hence, we hope that this volume may be inspiring for scholars of any of the comparative disciplines in the humanities and social sciences dealt with, and beyond.

Panel members

Maurice Adams is Professor of General Jurisprudence at Tilburg Law School (the Netherlands). In his research he has a particular interest in the relation between constitutional law and politics, and in comparative legal research methodology. In the latter domain he has published Practice and Theory in Comparative Law (Cambridge University Press 2012, edited with J. Bomhoff), Method and Culture in Comparative Law (Hart 2014, edited with D. Heirbaut) and Research Collection on Method and Methodology in Comparative Law (Edward Elgar Publishing 2017, with J. Husa and M. Oderkerk). He is an elected member of the Académie Internationale de droit comparé.

Mark Van Hoecke is Professor of Comparative Law at Queen Mary University of London. He has held professorial positions at the universities of Antwerp, Ghent (where he still keeps a part-time position), Leuven, Tilburg and Brussels (Katholieke Universiteit Brussel, of which he was the rector from 2002 to 2007). In 2001–02 he was a visiting professor at the European University Institute (Florence, Italy). From 1989 he was the founding co-director, with François Ost, and now President of the European Academy of Legal Theory. His current research focuses on the theory and methodology of comparative law and legal research. See, for example, ‘Legal Cultures, Legal Paradigms and Legal Doctrine: Towards a New Model for Comparative Law’ (47 The International and Comparative Law Quarterly 1998, with M. Warrington); The Harmonisation of Private Law in Europe (Hart 2000, edited with F. Ost); Epistemology and Methodology of Comparative Law (Hart 2004); and Methodology of Legal Research: Which Kind of Method(s) for What Kind of Discipline(s)? (Hart 2011).

Angus Nicholls is Professor of Comparative Literature and German at Queen Mary University of London. His books include Goethe’s Concept of the Daemonic (Camden House 2006), Thinking the Unconscious: Nineteenth-Century German Thought, co-edited with Martin Liebscher (Cambridge University Press 2010) and Myth and the Human Sciences (Routledge, 2015). He was formerly co-editor of two journals: History of the Human Sciences (Sage) and Publications of the English Goethe Society (Routledge).

Ralph Weber is Associate Professor of European Global Studies at the Institute for European Global Studies at the University of Basel. His research focuses on comparative and Chinese political philosophy, modern Confucianism, Chinese politics and methodological and conceptual aspects of translinguistic and transcultural research and global knowledge production. He is president of the European Association for Chinese Philosophy and book review editor (Europe) for Philosophy East and West. With Arindam Chakrabarti, he edited Comparative Philosophy without Borders (Bloomsbury Academic 2015).

Greta Olson is Professor of American and English Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Giessen (Germany). For more information please visit

Paula Giliker is Professor of Comparative Law at the University of Bristol, having previously worked at the Universities of Oxford and Queen Mary, University of London.  She is a former Chair of the British Association of Comparative Law and the current Honorary Secretary of the Society of Legal Scholars of the UK and Ireland.  She has published extensively on comparative contract and tort law, tort law, contract law and European private law. Her recent publications include: 'Analysing institutional liability for child sexual abuse in England and Wales and Australia: Vicarious liability, non-delegable duties and statutory intervention'  (2019) 77 CLJ 506, ‘The Consumer Rights Act 2015: A bastion of European consumer rights?’ (2017) 37 Legal Studies 78–102, ‘The influence of EU and European human rights law on English private law’ (2015) 64 ICLQ 237-265 and 'Codification, Consolidation, Restatement? How best to systemise the modern law of tort' (2021) ICLQ (forthcoming) and monographs: The Europeanisation of English Tort Law (Hart, 2014) and Vicarious liability in tort: A Comparative Perspective (CUP, 2010).  

The Chair

Prof. Simon Reid-Henry is an author, academic and policy analyst specialising in international and political affairs. His current work examines the fault lines of democracy at home and abroad and the political dynamics of international public finance. Simon is Director of the Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences at Queen Mary, Programme Director at Counterpoint, and Research Professor at PRIO in Oslo leading an international team examining the politics of duties in modern political society. He is the author of Fidel and Che: The Revolutionary Friendship Between Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, Empire of Democracy: The Remaking of the West since the Cold War, 1971-2017, The Political Origins of Inequality: Why a More Equal World Is Better for Us All and The Cuban Cure: Reason and Resistance in Global Science.

To get 35% off the book "Comparative Methods in Law, Humanities and Social Sciences" when you order on apply discount code ADAM35. For more information please click on this link to download the flyer Comparative Methods in Law, Humanities and Social Sciences Book Discount flyer [PDF 1,725KB] 

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