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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Prof Dr Philipp Dann

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Faculty of Law | Prof Dr Philipp Dann | Research | 'Transformative Constitutionalism and the Varieties of Constitutionalism'

'Transformative Constitutionalism and the Varieties of Constitutionalism' - Indo-European Workshop Series

Finanziert vom IEARN

In recent years, the concept of Transformative Constitutionalism has become familiar to constitutional scholars in many jurisdictions. It is one of the rare academic concepts to have travelled beyond academic publications to find place in judicial discourse (with the South African Constitutional Court and the Indian Supreme Court having invoked it substantively) as well as constitutional scholarship.  

In a series of three workshops, taking place from 2019 to 2021, we will probe how the concept of ‘Transformative Constitutionalism’ can be understood as a broader project beyond those that have so far been identified with it, in particular to interrogate conceptions of constitutionalism in India and the EU. We believe that when viewed comparatively, the concept will be better examined and understood, and may well help facilitate a broader understanding of concepts of constitutionalism more broadly.  

The workshops continue an earlier series of meetings between Indian and European scholars on law, politics and constitutionalism, which interrogated the concepts of democracy in India and the EU against the background of the societal diversity of these polities. We believe that this project on Transformative Constitutionalism will help us advance that larger project by focusing on contemporary issues that pose fundamental challenges to the concept of constitutionalism in our times. Part of the project’s goal will be to identify further areas where the concept of Transformative Constitutionalism can be fruitfully employed and to explore the feasibility of doing so in individual European nations and/or the EU as a whole. Beyond this comparative exercise, our goal will also be to fundamentally probe the concept and raise questions about its viability and tenability.

The workshops do not so much aim for formal comparison but of “comparing notes”. We do not aim for “country reports” but want to structure our discussions more around issues. Listening in to (or sometimes irritating) the conversations of others can be not just fascinating but immensely enriching. Engaging scholars into explorative discussions and thereby providing insights into the state of art of their respective debates seems more important to us than producing concrete but perhaps rather brittle results. 

The workshop series brings together mainly constitutional scholars from both continents and is organized in cooperation with Prof. Arun Thiruvengadam (Azim premji University / Bangalore) and Prof. Jürgen Bast (Giessen University).