Why Hermann Kantorowicz Changed His Mind on America and Its Law, 1927-1934

Katharina Isabel Schmidt, History

Wed, 04/03/2019 - 12:00pm
LAPA Conference Room, 348 Wallace Hall
Event Category: 
Graduate Students

RSVP requested - click here

LEGS, or "Law-Engaged Graduate Students," meets during the academic year to discuss a work in progress by one of our Graduate Associates. Academic papers, dissertation proposals, and dissertation chapters have been presented at these meetings, to an audience of fellow graduate students.

Abstract:  "My paper follows German-Jewish jurist Hermann Kantorowicz (1877-1940), who spent time in America on two separate occasions: as a visiting scholar in 1927 and as an intellectual exile from 1933 to 1934. Between his first and second stay, Kantorowicz fundamentally changed his mind about America and its law. While he found the country intellectually invigorating in 1927, his reaction to it in 1934 was all but visceral. Behind this change of mind were the increasing similarities Kantorowicz perceived between law in Nazi Germany and law in New Deal America: Both Legal Realists and Nazi jurists were thus moving away from law as “science” and towards law as 'life.'" 

Katharina Isabel Schmidt

Katharina Isabel Schmidt is a third year doctoral candidate in the Department of History. Her dissertation, tentatively titled “German Jurists and the Search for ‘Life’ in Modern Legal Science, 1900-1937” examines the unlikely origins of National Socialist “life”- jurisprudence. As part of her research, Schmidt explores both limits and opportunities of legal liberalism, the normative powers of the factual and the relationship between science and value. Schmidt’s other interests include German legal science in colonial Africa and the South Pacific as well as transatlantic intellectual history with a particular focus on German-Jewish émigré scholars. Before coming to Princeton, Schmidt obtained law degrees from University College London (LL.B), the University of Cologne (Baccalaureus Legum), the University of Oxford (BCL) and Yale Law School (LL.M). She is concurrently pursuing a JSD at the Yale Law School. She has published articles and reviews in journals on both sides of the Atlantic, including the American Journal of Comparative Law, the Law & History Review, and the German Studies Review.