Trials in Europe-CFP for Panel at CES Conference

Senem Kaptan's picture
Call for Papers
April 14, 2016 to April 16, 2016
Pennsylvania, United States
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, European History / Studies, Law and Legal History, Nationalism History / Studies, Human Rights

23rd International Conference of Europeanists

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

April 14-16, 2016

Call for Panelists

Despite having lost their public significance in the contemporary moment, trials have played a vital role in the (re)construction of European nation-states and national identity at various historical turning points. One may suspect, however, that trials are no longer an important part of European identity making in the current moment, especially with the institutionalization of legal matters through the mediation of the European Union (EU). The official cadres of the EU, while holding the rule of law as one of the primary tenets of the Union, seem to almost take for granted the existence of the rule of law in EU-member states. One can argue that such legal processes (and work on the rule of law) have perhaps been assigned to nations that are not quite yet fully “European,” supported by special EU funds for judicial reforms and regulations developed for candidate nations to “catch up with” member states. Yet, there is something amiss in this assumption in that it presumes that law ceases to require attention once an institutional threshold has been reached. This panel argues otherwise, and aims to open to discussion trials in Europe, focusing on both historical and contemporary legal cases. The panel is open to analyzing a variety of trials, which could range from trials of extraordinary nature like war crimes, human rights violations, or terrorism charges (recently sparked by ISIS members returning to their home countries in Europe) to the more “ordinary” prosecutions like corruption, murder, or domestic violence cases. Ultimately, we aim to open to discussion such notions as political trials, show trials, and the various understandings of the notion of the rule of law. 

We currently have a paper on the show trials of communist dissidents in the Spanish Civil War and a paper on the treason trials of military officers in contemporary Turkey. We are seeking to expand the breadth of the presentations with work from a variety of time periods and places, helping us to achieve the comparative focus we are seeking for this panel. We are open to papers that employ a broad range of methods (archival, ethnographic etc.) while we also espouse a broad understanding of the boundaries of Europe.

More information about the conference is available at this link:

If you are interested in presenting on this panel, please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words to by September 28, 2015.


Contact Info: 
Ms. Senem Kaptan
Ph.D. Candidate
Department of Anthropology
Rutgers University
131 George St, Floor 3
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Contact Email: