"Coming home: the post-war return of refugee scholarship" conference

University of Helsinki, April 10th – 12th 2019

Centre of Excellence in Law, Identity, and the European Narratives of the Academy of Finland



Wednesday 10.4.2019
Porthania, lecture hall PI

14:15-15:15 Keynote: Michael Hoeflich (University of Kansas): The sorrows of the legal émigré: with apologies to Goethe
Chair: Kaius Tuori

15:15-15:45 Coffee break

15:45-16:45 Session 1
Chair: Kaius Tuori
Monica García-Salmones (University of Helsinki): Hans Kelsen, international criminal law and paradoxes of forced émigré scholarship
Jacob Giltaij (University of Helsinki): Personal and academic considerations surrounding Lauterpachtʼs concept of human rights

Thursday 11.4.2019
Porthania, lecture hall Suomen Laki

09:30-10:30 Keynote: Dana Schmalz (University of Bremen): Judgment and authority: Hannah Arendt´s influence on contemporary refugee scholarship
Chair: Pamela Slotte

10.30-11:00 Coffee break

11:00-12:00 Session 2
Chair: Pamela Slotte
Jussi Backman (University of Helsinki / University of Jyväskylä): Retrieving the American Revolutionary treasure: Hannah Arendt’s political homecoming
Emilia Palonen (University of Helsinki): The Budapest School philosopher Agnes Heller: out of Europe and back again

13:00-14:00 Keynote: Richard Ned Lebow (King’s College London): German Jews and American Realism
Chair: Reetta Toivanen

14:00-15:30 Returning home? Contemporary Scholarship at Risk roundtable
Prosper Maguchu (Free University Amsterdam), Magdalena Kmak (University of Helsinki / Åbo Akademi), Mehrnoosh Farzamfar (University of Helsinki), Elisa Pascucci (University of Helsinki), Richard Ned Lebow (King’s College London), Ali Ali (University of Helsinki)

15:30-16:00 Coffee break

16:00-17:00 Keynote: Christina Eckes (University of Amsterdam): The Kelsenian foundations of EU law
Chair: Jacob Giltaij

17:00-18:00 Session 3
Chair: Jacob Giltaij
Adolfo Giuliani (University of Helsinki): Wiener realism and its transformations: Vienna, America and post-War Europe
Pedro Magalhães (University of Helsinki): An American scholar returns to Germany: Eric Voegelin in Munich (1958-1969)

Friday 12.4.2019
Porthania, lecture hall Suomen Laki

10:15-11:15 Keynote: Alfons Söllner (University of Chemnitz): Ernst Fraenkel: remigration and the Westernization of political culture in Germany
Chair: Magdalena Kmak

11:15-11:45 Coffee break

11:45-12:45 Session 4
Chair: Magdalena Kmak
Carol Bohmer (King’s College London): Refugee scholarship: then and now
Elena Cirkovic (University of Helsinki): The vanished returnee and the reimagining of post-war space: the changing scholarship on the constitutionalism and architecture of Bosnia and Herzegovina



Michael Hoeflich (University of Kansas): The sorrows of the legal émigré: with apologies to Goethe
In the best of conditions, emigration to a new country is fraught with anxiety and difficulty for the emigre. When the emigre is a professional, the experience may be worsened or improved by a number of factors including the nature of the emigre's expertise, the emigre's age, the emigre's economic and social status in the home country, the existence of personal and professional networks in the new country, the emigre's personal flexibility and willingness to adapt and, in some cases, retrain in order to qualify as a professional in the new country, and, finally, the existence or absence of bias against the emigre's ethnic and religious origins in the new country, among others. In this lecture, I reflect upon the experience of selected emigre lawyers to the United States and Great Britain during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and explore how these various factors played out in the life experiences of a these representative emigres.

Monica García-Salmones (University of Helsinki): Hans Kelsen, international criminal law and paradoxes of forced émigré scholarship
Hans Kelsen’s interventions in the process evolving into the Nuremberg Trials have remained unexplored with the exception of notes in passim or very brief studies that one can count on the fingers of one hand. International Criminal Law (ICL), is true, was not Kelsen’s main object of study. However, the events culminating in Nuremberg, both that the Nazi shocked the world with their criminal policies and that Kelsen was an émigré in the United States were instrumental to precipitate his close engagement with ICL during the dawn years of the discipline between 1942 and 1945. The content of what he contributed, creating and writing on international criminal law during these years emerges from a number of facts and principles related to Kelsen’s own biography and his legal theory. In a nutshell, they combine his nationality, the fact that he was an Austrian belonging to the losing side of the First World War, his skills as legal advisor and legal drafter and his expertise in state, international law and military law, the latter acquired mainly during First World War. All of this interacted with the background of his theoretical standpoint, the pure theory. That he was a legal theorist with a project for a cautious neoliberal and individualist international world order in which the principle of adjudication was central also influenced fundamentally his thinking on international criminal law. Also played a role in this issue his important working principle of a single concept of law, what is sometimes referred to as monism. Drawing on hitherto unknown archival materials this paper introduces these biographical aspects and ideas and narrates Kelsen’s activities as legal advisor of the US Department of War and the US War Crimes Commission. Kelsen never returned home and in his last port, the US, he encountered a combination of tremendous respect for his legal advice, misunderstanding of his legal theory, a leading position among other émigrés, but also resistance to accept him in the new environment from certain academic élites. The paper traces elements of the pure theory that relate to the principle of individual criminal responsibility and describes Kelsen’s personal participation in the preparations of Nuremberg and the history behind his absence from the International Military Tribunal which embodies Kelsen’s paradox. Kelsen would have not been in such a key position to influence the new groundbreaking law, had he not been a forced émigré. However, due to his status as a refugee, including some of his continental ideas of the Austrian School of law perceived as foreign, complex personal and social relationships of power and knowledge triggered the glossing over of his contribution to ICL. His new home acquired the knowledge and conveyed it to the world and Kelsen’s former social context, Austria, received without much awareness the fruits of one of his most select émigrés.

Dana Schmalz (University of Bremen): Judgment and authority: Hannah Arendt´s influence on contemporary refugee scholarship
Hannah Arendt’s relevance to refugee scholarship needs no elaboration. In particular her expression of the “right to have rights” constitutes a key reference point in the field, referred to not only in numerous academic articles, 1 but also in court opinions.  The paper explores why the expression of the “right to have rights” has become so central in refugee law scholarship and what caused its prominence particularly in the last two decades. It thereby views the “right to have rights” at the intersection of two oppositions that mark refugee law scholarship: between a conception along obligations as opposed to one along rights; and between a focus on individuals as opposed to one on groups. The “right to have rights” seems at first sight to align with an individualist, rights-based conception, as it was also the choice of the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention (GRC). Yet the “right to have rights” retains a link to the opposing aspects and therefore became increasingly helpful as a corrective lens, when the limits and problems of the GRC regime increased. Arendt’s expression - and her thinking more broadly - emphasize that rights without corresponding political existence are precarious and easily turn into a masquerade of rightlessness. This emphasis on political existence points, firstly, to the fact that in practice it is often groups rather than single individuals who have to flee and who seek asylum. I will discuss this aspect with view to the term “masses”, which also figures as a legal term, and the question how a regime of individual rights can prevent that larger group movements appear as catastrophic.  Arendt’s emphasis on politics points, secondly, to the role of state obligations as counterpart of rights. In that vein, I link the discussions about a “right to have rights” with the growing focus on responsibility-sharing in refugee protection.

Jussi Backman (University of Helsinki / University of Jyväskylä): Retrieving the American Revolutionary treasure: Hannah Arendt’s political homecoming
The paper studies Hannah Arendt’s attempt, in On Revolution (1963) and related writings, to retrieve the “lost treasure” of the American Revolution as an outstanding act of postwar intellectual “homecoming” in political theory. In stark contrast to most European theorists, Arendt, herself a refugee from the Third Reich, thought that Europe had a vital political lesson to learn from its American offspring—not from its contemporary mass culture, consumerism, and social inequality deplored by other émigré intellectuals such as Theodor Adorno and Herbert Marcuse, but from the original political ideas of its founders. Arendt argues that the French Revolution of 1789 was turned by the Jacobins into a program of social transformation aimed at the eradication of misery and moral vice and that this social orientation subsequently became the standard model for the European revolutions of the nineteenth century, particularly with the introduction of the Marxist notion of class struggle as the motor of history. The American Revolution, by contrast, largely thanks to the absence of social misery of citizens on the European scale (an absence largely due to the alternative misery of slavery), had focused on founding a lasting polity in the form of a constitution and had thus, with relative albeit incomplete success, alone implemented the great positive political possibility of modern revolutions: the establishment of a new public realm of civic freedom. After the totalitarian disasters had revealed the dangers inherent in a focus on ideological social mobilization, it is to the American Founding Fathers that Arendt directs us for a modern example of classical antiquity’s ideal of political founding and free participation.

Emilia Palonen (University of Helsinki): The Budapest School philosopher Agnes Heller: out of Europe and back again
My paper introduces the case of Ágnes Heller, the 90-year-old Hungarian philosopher, who left Hungary in 1977 for Australia, as she could no longer work as a philosopher. She loosely took part in 1956, where her professor Georg Lukács was the cultural minister of Imre Nagy’s short-lived government and the next generation from her in the Budapest School were active. She had a refugee status, but as a discourse theorist who has read the (auto)biographical work of Heller, I will discuss how “coming home” is an important feature in her transnational life. In some ways, “coming home” could take place in 1977. Home could be understood in several ways here: in her work Heller discusses homely places and connection to space in several ways. In 1977 home for her was Europe, which was reachable in different ways from Australia than from state socialist Hungary: Vienna was hours away again. After the initial shock, she got to see Melbourne and La Trobe as her home. Her next home she wrote a whole book on: New York Nosztalgia came out after she had returned home to Budapest, when after the “revolution of 1989” it was possible again. When she made Budapest her home, and Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz had a landslide victory in 2010, she also came under attack by the pro-Fidesz press Hungarian. She became even more vocally than before a critic of the Orbán regime. Coming home started to have a different meaning, as the government close down the Lukács archive. Local authorities even removed the statue of Lukács from the park next to Heller’s Budapest flat in an area where the Jewish heritage in Budapest is strong. Reading Heller’s account of her own life, this paper contests the stereotype of rootless cosmopolitan, particularly Jewish intellectuals. It also proposes a more contingent and multi-layered understanding of home to the singularity of homecoming or the dominance of single-sited home as an ideal.

Ned Lebow (King’s College London): German Jews and American Realism
Realism in international relations is a combined American and European project. Almost all its foundational works were written by European émigré scholars to the US. Their writings reflect European perspectives but to varying degrees also reflect their American experiences. I situate my analysis in a broader one of the émigré scholars, identifying four generic patterns of adaptation to a new and different intellectual environment. I offer short case studies of Hans Morgenthau, John Herz and discuss a number of other IR scholars as well as political theorists.

Christina Eckes (University of Amsterdam): The Kelsenian foundations of EU law
The very nature of the European Union (EU)’s legal order is essentially contested. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and national constitutional courts take opposed conceptual starting points and come to very different conclusions about the origin of EU law, the test for its validity, and the autonomy of the EU legal order. Focusing on the standpoint of EU law, this paper reveals traces of Kelsenian theory in EU law. In particular the Court’s central role, its mandate, general principles of EU law, as well as the CJEU’s understanding that the EU legal order is autonomous and that its law enjoys primacy can be linked to elements of Kelsen’s work. The paper defends the conclusion that both primary EU law and foundational doctrines of the CJEU show stronger influence of Kelsenian theory than any type of public international law. It does so in dialogue with the literature that argues the opposite.

Adolfo Giuliani (University of Helsinki): Wiener realism and its transformations: Vienna, America and post-War Europe
How does the refugee experience transform scholarship? The proposed paper approaches this broad question looking at Hans Kelsen's Pure Theory of Law (PTL). This doctrine, undoubtedly one of the major achievements in 20th-century legal thinking, was the life-long creation that Kelsen modified, reshaped and updated throughout his whole creative career, from its first appearance in 1911 Hautprobleme der Staatsrechtslehre to 1979, the year his last work, the General Theory of Norms, posthumously appeared. Between those two dates, Europe experienced two world wars, the diaspora of a generation of Jewish scholars to UK and US, and the reconstruction of post-War Europe.
This paper will take into account two themes. The first is the PTL itself, and it highlights the three stages of its evolution: the formative stage in early-20th century Vienna, its new life beyond the Atlantic which saw Kelsen and other emigrés working in American Law Schools, and the reception of this doctrine in post-War Europe. In that intellectual atmosphere, shattered and in search of a new social order, that Wiener realism offered an important point of reference.
The second theme is its intellectual foundation, namely, the neo-Kantian-based epistemic concern with language, which Kelsen (as well as Kantorowicz and others) integrated in their project. That linguistic philosophy, and the personal stories of those philosophers — Wittgenstein, Carnap, Cassirer and others — followed a parallel trajectory. They left Vienna and central Europe, and their exile to UK and US determined a rift between two souls of Western thought, Analytical and Continental philosophy. As with the PTL, those doctrines went back to post-War continental Europe and reconciled those two streams of thought.
The paper argues that Kelsen and Wittgenstein cannot be separated. They produced a constellation of ideas — ‘Wiener realism’ — which in Anglophone countries produced new ways of thinking about their respective disciplines. Those ideas were received in post-War Continental Europe (with particular reference to Italian scholarship: Norberto Bobbio, Renato Treves, Uberto Scarpelli) and offered the arguments to look at judicial reasoning with fresh eyes, and upon that vantage point rethink the structure of post-War state constitutions.

Pedro Magalhães (University of Helsinki): An American scholar returns to Germany: Eric Voegelin in Munich (1958-1969)
This paper focuses on Eric Voegelin’s return to the Old Continent, twenty years after his forced migration to the United States, following Austria’s Anschluss. In 1958, Voegelin moves from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to the Ludwig-Maximilian University, in Munich, where he becomes the first Ordinarius in Political Science, charged with the task of directing a newly founded Institute.
The paper seeks to explore the peculiarities of this return by comparing it with the aspirations, goals and achievements of other scholars coming back from American exile to Germany after 1945, in particular Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, who had returned earlier to the Federal Republic to reestablish the Frankfurt Institute of Social Research. The differences between the trajectories of Voegelin and the Frankfurt School scholars are notable. Besides the obvious ideological divergence, Voegelin returned to Germany as an American citizen, without any intention of giving up on such a status, whilst Horkheimer and Adorno came back as Germans with a strong personal and political commitment to pick up where they had left in the Weimar Republic. Whereas Voegelin had no political connections in Germany, and the reasons for his return were, to a significant extent, those of any other scholar in search of a more suitable environment to pursue his intellectual projects, Adorno and (especially) Horkheimer had access to key political decision makers at various levels and were consciously involved in setting up new intellectual foundations for the Federal Republic.
Despite these differences, however, there are also striking similarities. Even if Voegelin did not intend to become a public intellectual in Germany, he had some scores of his own to settle. His 1964 series of lectures on “Hitler and the Germans” attracted significant public attention because of its virulent criticism of whole sectors of German society – from the churches to the academia –, which he viewed as accomplices of the Nazi atrocities. On the other hand, Voegelin and the Frankfurt School also had a common enemy: positivist social science. Thus, both the Frankfurt and the Munich Institutes resumed in Germany an intellectual struggle against mainstream, quantitative social science that had begun earlier in America. Voegelin may have thought that it was a “good thing” to bring “the spirit of American democracy” to Germany (Autobiographical Reflections, p. 116), but he surely did not want to bring the predominant (lack of) spirit in American political science with him as well. Both Voegelin and the Frankfurt School scholars had been rather marginal, though at times quite vocal, voices in the American social scientific scene. Deep down inside, most mainstream colleagues would not have considered them ‘scientists’ at all. Looking in retrospect at the legacy they left in Germany, one can hardly say that either of them succeed, in the long run, in reshaping social science in a non-positivist direction.

Alfons Söllner (University of Chemnitz): Ernst Fraenkel: remigration and the Westernization of political culture in Germany
After his remigration from USA Ernst Fraenkel became one of the founding fathers of Political Science in West-Germany. My paper will have three sections: 1. Fraenkel’s place within the group of the returned political scientists, his influence on the formation of political science in West-Berlin; 2. neo-pluralist democracy not so much as a political concept but as hermeneutic reconstruction of a comparative history of ideas; 3. "normative Westernization" as a strategy for both: political thinking and political education towards a democratic culture.
Elena Cirkovic (University of Helsinki): The vanished returnee and the reimagining of post-war space: the changing scholarship on the constitutionalism and architecture of Bosnia and Herzegovina
This paper addresses the processes by which the international community intervened and participated in the defining of Bosnian identity and the corresponding constitutional framework, as well as the continuous paradoxical tension between the ethnic local and claims to universalism of supranational legal norms. In particular, the 1995 Constitution and the architecture of its sovereignty have been contested through provisions of the European Convention of Human Rights. These processes, in combination with highly controversial and contradictory scholarship on the history and politics of the Balkans, have erased some identities and created new ones, hence complicating the process and/or concept of a “return home”.
The analysis is further supported by the discussion of the architectonic structure of the Town Hall/National Library in Sarajevo that has had an important constitutional role since the collapse of the Ottoman period. The paper thus focuses on two sites for construction/deconstruction of Bosnian sovereignty and identity: the constitutional framework and the more concretely visible architectural symbol of the Town Hall/National Library. This importance of a visual and spatial approach to Bosnian realities is carried further by the 1993 ‘Eulogy’ that Jean-Luc Nancy wrote for Sarajevo, as a site of the Mêlée.


Call for papers

The process of “refugee scholarship”, whereby scholars finding themselves in a conflict situation forcing them to flee their pre-existing academic context and thus having to adapt their scholarship to suit the new environment has been widely researched in the context of post-war scholarship and exile studies. Questions remain however relating both to the scientific change in the result of exile and studying the contemporary refugee scholarship. What happens when the conflict is over, and refugee scholarship “comes home”? And what are the new ways and methods of studying such scholarship in the context of the contemporary refugee and migration crisis?

The main instance of refugee scholarship coming home relatively successfully is the reinstatement after the Second World War of the work of those from the humanities and social sciences that had escaped the atrocities of the Nazi regime in Europe between 1933 and 1945. Post-War Europe saw a search for a new legal-political system: in this context, some refugee scholars had retained their authority among their peers despite being ousted, and some obtained a new-found audience for the works they had composed before and during the War. In their new academic environment, not all refugee scholars were successful in the process of adaptation: yet, those that were had been elementary in the foundation of novel fields of legal and political science particularly in the Anglo-American academic world. Arguably, these fields such as international relations could be classified as hybrids, containing scientific elements from both the continental European and Anglo-American academic traditions. To approach the return of refugee scholarship as a concept, the conference strives to link exile studies with contemporary refugee and migration studies in order to explore new methods of studying migration and its links with knowledge production. As such, it explores the possibility of historical parallels with the experiences of scholars as well as other asylum seekers on route or in Europe currently.

The conference revolves around the following set of questions in particular:

* In what measure does the status as (erstwhile) refugee scholars determine the scope of their influence?

* How does the refugee experience transform scholarship? Is it even possible to generalize here, or should this purely be determined on a case-by-case basis?

* What happens when a hybrid form of scholarship comes to be reinstated in its “old” academic and institutional context? Do both elements survive or is the hybrid stripped of its new context, retaining what was familiar for those that had stayed behind?

* What are the institutional, political, and societal consequences of a return of refugee scholarship to its former context?

* Is there a historically valid parallel present between historical and current instances of refugee crises?

* What is the contribution of mobility to knowledge in general, and scientific knowledge in particular?

The conference aims at a cross- and multidisciplinary perspective on the issues of refugee scholarship coming home and a new wave of scholars and intellectuals displaced by ongoing conflicts. Speakers and panelists are explicitly invited to engage with scientific disciplines other than their own, as well as taking into account both pre-Second World War and post-1945 historical continuities and discontinuities as well as contemporary discussions.

Confirmed keynote speakers include:

Michael Hoeflich, professor of law at the University of Kansas

Christina Eckes, professor of European law at the University of Amsterdam

Richard Ned Lebow, professor of international political theory at Kingʼs College London

Dana Schmalz, visiting professor at the University of Bremen

Alfons Söllner, professor emeritus at Technische Universität Chemnitz

The conference will be held on the 10th, 11th and 12th of April 2019. The deadline for abstracts (max. 500 words) is February 15th, 2019. The abstracts and further queries may be sent to Jacob Giltaij (jacob.giltaij@helsinki.fi), university researcher at the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence for Law, Identity and the European Narratives (EUROSTORIE, eurostorie.org) of the University of Helsinki. The organizers will unfortunately be unable to assist with travel arrangements or costs.