9th International Osnabrück Summer Institute on the Cultural Study of the Law | Osnabrück, July 6-14, 2024

Extended Deadline: April 15, 2024


The 9th International Osnabrück Summer Institute on the Cultural Study of the Law (OSI) will be held from July 6 to 14, 2024 at Osnabrück University, Germany. It aims to encourage and further promote the interdisciplinary study and research of the interrelations between law and culture, based on the idea that the extended cultural study of the law will foster productive scholarly exchange and dialogue between legal studies and the humanities.

The 2024 OSI will concentrate on key issues and debates within contemporary cultural legal studies, exploring questions related to, for instance, rights in general, legal personhood and citizenship, human rights, and the rights of migrants. We are interested specifically in the following:

  • The historical evolution of predominant (legal) concepts of rights, human rights, and legal personhood, regarding current debates on culture as an abiding discourse that enables legal subjectivity and rights claims, as much as it offers a resource for legal critique.
  • The cultural presence and portrayal of the law and the influence of culture in depicting and disseminating concepts of rights, human rights, ownership, appropriation, dispossession, etc. (e.g., in fields such as law and literature, critical humanities, life writing and human rights, philosophy of human rights, migration and rights).
  • How the (cultural and historical) semantics of rights, human rights, and legal personhood manifest in critical theory and discourse, exploring the application of rights theory in the humanities and critical cultural studies.
  • How a precarious legal status or a flexible approach to legal personhood, both historically and in current debates, facilitates critical discussion on (human) rights and our understanding of their nature and scope (how or whether they might be claimed by people on the move, enslaved people, indigenous peoples, stateless people, women, LGBTQ+ individuals etc.).

The OSI brings together leading scholars in the field of cultural legal studies with international graduate students from the humanities, legal studies, the social and political sciences, art, and history to create a rare opportunity for the comparative study of law and culture and their complex interrelation. The Institute will offer a combination of thematic workshop sessions, small group seminars and a concluding conference which will focus on key issues and debates in current cultural legal studies. lt will offer placements for up to 20 international participants (doctoral, post-doctoral and advanced M.A.).

Confirmed faculty for the 2024 OSI include:

  • Jeannine DeLombard (English and History / UC Santa Barbara)
  • Leila Neti (English and Postcolonial Literature / Occidental College, LA)
  • Leti Volpp (Law / UC Berkeley)
  • Bryan Wagner (English / UC Berkeley)
  • Marco Wan (Law / U of Hongkong)


The Summer Institute invites doctoral and postdoctoral students from various academic fields whose research interests and projects are situated at the interface between law and the humanities and who are concerned with a better understanding of the interdependence of law and culture.

Doctoral candidates in literature, the law, the arts, the humanities, and the related social sciences are encouraged to apply, as are advanced students pursuing a J.D. or its equivalent (such as the L.L.B). Young scholars or junior faculty members who have received a Ph.D. or corresponding degree in the last five years are also eligible. While applications by doctoral/post-doctoral students are prioritized, the Summer Institute will also consider strong applications from advanced Master students about to conclude their studies and with a strong interest in interdisciplinary research.

Application Process

Students interested in taking part in the Summer Institute should submit their applications no later than April 1st, 2024. Detailed and updated information about the Institute, the sessions, international faculty, admission and fees can be found at:



Please direct all inquiries and questions to the OSI coordinator at lawandculture@uos.de