Olivier Jouanjan: Constitutional Legal Doctrine in France and Germany Around 1900: A Complex Relationship


The transition from the 19th to the 20th century is a magical moment in the history of the German-French scientific relationships. While Claude Digeon notes a type of “German crisis” regarding French thinking  («La crise allemande de la pensée française») stating the dangerous dominance of German thought after France lost the war in 1870/71 there have been nevertheless receptions from the German side.

What was the state of constitutional law and the relationship between both “constitutional cultures” - a central issue of the larger project “Comparing Constitutional Cultures” at our center?

Constitutional law discourses in Germany first emerged in the 19th Century. They aimed to establish a science of constitutional law strictly distinct from political constitutional discourse. The so-called “Gerber-Laband School” brought this “real scientific treatment of the law” through the development of a positivistic "juristic method” to life.  However, the role that this new German constitutional legal doctrine played around 1900 during the founding of a rivaling French constitutional legal thought is less known (Adhémar Esmein, Léon Duguit, Maurice Hauriou, Raymond Carré de Malberg).

In his lecture, Prof. Dr. Olivier Jouanjan will demonstrate in what way the German constitutional legal doctrine influenced the European and especially the French constitutional law. In particular he will adress the complicated and in part very one-sided relationship between German and French constitutional scholars, which nevertheless proved constructive for the development of French constitutional law.

Curriculum Vitae

Prof. Dr. Olivier Jouanjan is a studied scholar in law and the humanities. In 1990, he received his doctoral degree with a thesis on the subject of “Le principe d’égalité devant la loi et le contrôle juridictionnel des actes du législateur et de l’administration en droit allemand”.  Prior to assuming the role as Chair of Public Law at the Université Panthéon-Assas (Paris 2) in 2014, Prof. Jouanjan worked at the Universities of Burgund, Dijon, and Strasbourg. Since 2004 he has been Honorary Professor at the University of Freiburg. Furthermore, Prof. Jouanjan was Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study Berlin (Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin) from 2011 until 2012. Prof. Dr. Olivier Jouanjan has received numerous prizes for his research. His dissertation was honored, among others, with the Henri Gazin Prize. He has also received the Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation as well as the Bartholdi Award.

Since May 2017 Prof. Dr. Olivier Jouanjan is Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities “Law as Culture”.