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Workshop: Cultural Expertise in Ancient and Modern History

July 3, 2018 - July 5, 2018

This workshop takes place within the project Cultural Expertise in Europe: What is it useful for? (EURO-EXPERT) funded by the European Research Council and directed by Livia Holden. This workshop explores cultural expertise in the ancient and modern history of expert witnessing. The stress of this workshop will be on development and change of culture-related expert witnessing, culture-related adjudication and resolution of dispute, criminal litigation and other kinds of court and out of court proceedings that make reference to notions of culture with or without the appointment of experts. Two sets of topics will be discussed: the reflection on the definition of cultural expertise and its ancient and modern historical background. This workshop aims on the one hand to understand if cultural expertise has been relevant in court and out of court for the resolution of conflicts in the history of law, and on the other hand to trace the historical developments of most recent trends of cultural expertise. How does ancient and modern history report the judicial practices involving the specialists of local laws and customs? What have been the most frequent fields of expert witnessing that are related with culture? Who were the experts? What were their links with local communities and also with the courts and the state power? How cultural expert witnessing was received by judges and other members of the legal profession?