Europe’s Darker Legacies? Notes on ‘Mirror Reflections’, the ‘Constitution as Fetish’ and Other Such Linkages between the Past and the Future
By Peer Zumbansen
Darker Legacies of Law in Europe. The Shadow of National Socialism and Fascism over Europe and its Legal Traditions (Christian Joerges & Navraj Singh Ghaleigh eds.) (Oxford and Portland/OR: Hart Publishing, 2003). XVI, 416 pp., ISBN: 1-84113-310-8; BP 55,--
European Constitutionalism Beyond the State (JHH Weiler & Marlene Wind eds.) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003). VIII, 244 pp., ISBN: 0 521 79671 7 (Pb.); 0521 79225 8 (Hb.); $23,--/$65,--
Darker Legacies and European Consitutionalism will doubtless remain timely reading for quite a while to come, despite the fact that they were published in 2003—a date that has only relative valude in the fastmoving world of academic publications. The contributions to Darker Legacies engage in an sensitive inquiry into the structural, semantical, conscious, political and – helas! – legal heritage in European member states and unfold a highly complex history and historiography of Europe’s past. The nineteen contributions to the volume, framed by a prologue by German Legal Historian and Director of the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History in Frankfurt, Michael Stolleis, and an epilogue by European and International Law Scholar and Director of the Jean Monnet Program at New York University Law School, Joseph Weiler, impressively succeed in making a range of voices heard in a European discussion that has taken on – for some time now – an ever-more multifaceted and complex direction. With the EU long arrived on the daily news and minds, on all levels of policy making and in curricular programs from High School to University, a book that calls attention to the troubled histories of member states, their façon de vivre avec ses histoires sombres, their capacity to identify, remember and grapple with their history, can be expected to make some noise. The editors themselves point to the skeptical reactions that the volume’s research project received in its course. And still: noisy it was. A follow-up project swiftly followed suit, bringing together...