Olivier Jouanjan (Paris/Bonn) in cooperation with the Institut français: "The History of Constitutional Fundamental Concepts in Germany and France: Foundations of Two Cultures of Public Law”


Prof. Olivier Jouanjan will examine three lines of thought in his lecture: Using a methodical-theoretical approach, he will first make clear that “the law” does not exist in and of itself. Only the discourse on “the law” and its subdivisions (public law, private law, international law, etc.) has made it an academic matter. “The” law is not predetermined, but rather requires a discursive construction. The second part of his lecture attends to a historical-comparative level. Despite Europeanization and internationalization, each “law” in modern times asserts itself as national law. However, a discussion on what “law” is has always been lead internationally and throughout Europe. Thus, German-French exchange around 1900 was of great importance for both legal cultures – especially for public law. In the third part of his lecture, Prof. Jouanjan will outline that the construction of modern German administrative law, as per Otto Mayer, cannot be understood as a mere reception of French administrative law. Instead, he will argue that it represents an expression of interaction between the German postulates of legal studies and the factualities of French administrative law at that time.

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. His research interests include public law in general, German public law, legal theory, and legal methodology. In addition, he is interested in the history of legal thinking. Due to his expertise in German legal theory, he is regarded as an important mediator between German and French legal studies. In 2010, he was admitted to the Association of German Lawyers (Vereinigung der deutschen Staatsrechtslehrer).

Prof. Dr. Olivier Jouanjan was Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities “Law as Culture” from May to September 2017. Since February 2018 he is again Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Center.