Dr. Valérie Hayaert

Institut des Hautes Études sur la Justice (Paris)

Dr. Valérie Hayaert studied Modern Literature at the École Normale Supérieure (Fontenay-aux-Roses/Lyon) as well as at the Universities of Paris (Sorbonne-nouvelle (Paris III) and Denis Diderot (Paris VII)) from 1996 to 2000. She also studied Art History at the École du Louvre. In 2005, she earned her Ph.D. in History and Civilization at the European University Institute Florence with a dissertation on “Mens emblematica’ et humanisme juridique: le cas du ‘Pegma cum narrationibus philosophicis’ de Pierre Coustau, Lyon, 1555”. Valérie Hayaert received the European University Institute Prize for the best interdisciplinary thesis in 2006.

Subsequently, Valérie Hayaert taught in France, Tunisia, United Kingdom and Cyprus. Following her teaching activities, she worked as a research associate at the Erasmus House (Brussels) and the Fondation Bodmer in Cologny (Geneva). Since 2014 Valérie Hayaert has been working at the Institut des Hautes Études sur la Justice, Paris. Additionally, she was Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Paris in 2017. She also became a member of the editorial board for the journal Emblematica. An interdisciplinary Journal for Emblem Studies.

Dr. Valérie Hayaert was Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities “Law as Culture”, Bonn from April 2018 to March 2019.

Research project II

Lady Justice and her avatars: an archetype of honest weighing

The focus of my research intends to offer new modes of defining visual allegory, through the paradigm of the bodies of Lady Justice. Far from seeing the allegory as a sole vehicle for abstract and transcendent meaning, underpinning its stable convention designed to articulate fully formed ideas, this research aspires to an interdisciplinary and comparative analysis of the uses and functions of an incarnate form within the legal sphere. My interest in the allegories of Justice (from Antiquity until the late nineteenth century in Europe mainly) is triggered by several trends of cultural and visual studies, whereby aesthetic expression is approached through cognition, performance and an awareness of Lady Justice as a sensual and spiritual body. In methodological terms, allegory is susceptible to an analysis that balances a semiotic trend, based on iconology, concentrating on meaningful topoï or signs, to a more phenomenological depiction, focusing on effects of presence. The proposed project aims at revealing the essential dynamic function of a civic allegory: its composition or invention, driven from iconological treatises, its role into the dissemination of meaning and the ways in which it was perceived by different audiences, in order to question to which extent this device fulfilled didactic, persuasive, mnemonic, evidential, or deontological functions. As a body in movement, Lady Justice is the vehicle of a gestural ethics that needs to be reconstructed.

Research project I

The Roots of Economic Ethics in the Early Modern Period:  Gift-exchange practices, shared judicial values and symbolic inventions

As it is well known, the category of oikonomia is an important conceptual model for the early modern period, and its various lexical applications have served as a platform for further investigation within the entire framework of economic thought. ‘Oikonomia’ suggested a mindset, a forma menti, which, through careful measurements and rigorous comparative judgements, came to acquire habits not only apt for the management of the household, but also for affairs of much wider concerns. ‘Oikonomia’ was a way to ensure satisfactory management through guidance, consensus and measure. While the earlier concept of oikonomia was formerly a complex binding network that allowed many applications, it has now been drastically restricted to the modern conception of ‘parsimony’. The interaction between oikos (household) and polis (community, polity) appears to be dismembered. Modern economy has become the science of acquiring wealth and keeping it.

The proposed study suggests that, as regards the early modern period, symbolic thought born from humanist philology has made a constant and strenuous effort to interpret economic exchanges in their widest possible contexts. Hidden relationships between law and economy may be unpacked through a close analysis of the early modern roots of oikonomia. The notion of oeconomia,in its early modern sense, was a multifaceted concept which simultaneously designated different parallel realities (household, family, polity, civic community). It is thus pertinent to address the question of analogy and its epistemological status in legal reasoning. Economic exchanges in ancient gift-giving economies were challenged by a set of ethical presumptions and shared values. How did these values deal with the rules of the mercantile world?
Early modern symbolic practices offer another fertile ground for studying the interaction between law and economy. This field is strongly oriented towards one of the Center’s cross-cutting issues, namely “The Binding Force and the Emotive Foundations of the Law”. Legal humanists carried out sophisticated inquiries about ancient symbols.
The wider context of this project is devoted to the use of an increasingly sophisticated philological method by early modern jurists. As this new method developed an awareness of historical change about ancient economical systems, it also led to a reappraisal of ethics. What is most interesting to us is returning to the versatility of the roots of oikonomia in order to understand how Renaissance jurisprudence became an engine of copia. The concept could be understood as a visual partitio, a rhetorical dispositio, or as the more concrete management of the household. The method was then able to investigate how to adduce probabilia; it could also lead to bold but active analogies. The examples suggested here invite multiple kinds of inquiries. With the digitization of massive amounts of printed legal texts, it may also be useful to understand the earlier epistemological categories presented by a comprehensive archeological definition of oikonomia.

Publications (selected)

  • “Emblems of Justice” in the 3rd volume of A Cultural History of Law in the Early Modern Age, ed. Peter Goodrich, an encyclopedia in six volumes, A Cultural History of Law, Bloomsbury, London, March 2018.
  • “In the Orbit of Lady Justice”, essay for the catalog in Dutch and English on the occasion of an exhibition (Call for Justice. Recht en Onrecht in de Kunst vit de Nederlanden 1450-1650. Art and Law in the Burgundian Low Countries – Museum Court Busleyden Mechelen March 23-June 24, 2018), edited by Samuel Mareel, Hannibal, February 2018, p. 23-42.
  • “The Paradoxes of Lady Justice’s Blindfold”, chapter 12 of The Art of Law, proceedings of the Bruges Conference The Art of Law (January 2017, Groeningen Museum), eds. Eric Bousmar, Stefan Huygebaert, Vanessa Paumen, Xavier Rousseaux and Georges Martyn, Springer, Ius Gentium : Comparative Perspectives on Law and Justice, 2018, p.146-159.
  • “The Legal Significance and Humanist Ethos of Printers’ Insignia”, in Anja Wolkenhauer and Bernhard F. Scholz, eds., Typographorum Emblemata-The Printer’s Mark in the Context of Early Modern Culture, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin & Boston, January 2018, p. 297-314.
  • “De quel droit change-t-on de nom? Marcantonio Maioragio (1514-1555) et le De mutatio nominis(Milan, 1541)”, in Les recueils de Plaidoyez à la Renaissance, éds. Géraldine Cazals and Stéphan Geonget, Droz (THR), Geneva, 2018, p. 83-112.
  • “Le baiser de Justice et de Paix: du psaume à l’allégorie (Psaume 85-11/12)”, in Le Droit en représentation, eds. Nathalie Goedert and Ninon Maillard, Paris, Mare & Martin, February 2017, p. 146-159.
  • “The Gordian knot of emblemata: From the Labyrinthus absconditus to the affirmation of the prisca jurisprudential”, in Genealogies of Legal Vision, eds. Peter Goodrich and Valérie Hayaert, Routledge, 2015, p. 17-52.
  • “Du manuscrit juridique à l’édition ornée d’emblèmes et de ‘hiéroglyphes’: le cas de l’Archion Avenionense (ca 1475) et de la Sennetoniana (Lyon, 1548-1550)”, in Les détours de l’illustration, ed. Olivier Leplatre, Collection Cahiers du Gadges, Difusion, Droz, Geneva, 2014.
  • “De l’art de la jurisprudence à celui de l’emblème chez André Alciat et Pierre Coustau: æquiparatio, acumen et satire” in L’Intime du droit à la Renaissance, actes du cinquantenaire de la FISIER, eds. Alexandre Vanautgaerden and Max Engammare, Droz (Cahiers d’Humanisme et Renaissance, vol. 117), 2014, p. 19-41.
  • Allégories de Justice: le décor de la Grand’Chambre du Parlement de Flandre, avec Antoine Garapon, Paillart, Douai, 2014.
  •  “‘Calumnia, De famosis libellis’ et ripostes aux attaques injurieuses: la verve satirique de l’emblème”, dans Textimage, n° 4, Summer 2010.
  • ‘Mens emblematica’ et humanisme juridique. Le cas du “Pegma cum narrationibus Philosophicis” de Pierre Coustau (1555), Geneva, Droz, 2008.