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Ralf Michaels (MPI Director) and Lena Salaymeh (British Academy Global Professor, University of Oxford) have established a long-term collaborative research project on decolonial comparative law. Decolonial comparative law both identifies how the matrix of modernity/coloniality structures prevalent understandings of law and offers decolonial alternatives. (Coloniality means not merely colonialism, but rather a totalizing and universalizing mode of thought that underlies modernity.)
Event details of Decolonial comparative law
27 March 2023
15:30 -17:00


This talk introduces the intellectual motivations behind the establishment of the Decolonial Comparative Law research project. Beginning with an overview of the discipline of comparative law, Professors Salaymeh and Michaels identify several methodological impasses that have not been resolved by previous critical approaches. They then introduce decolonial theory, generally, and decolonial legal studies, specifically, and argue for a decolonial approach to comparative law. They explain that decoloniality‚Äôs emphasis on delinking from coloniality and on recognizing pluriversality can improve on some problematic and embedded assumptions in mainstream comparative law. Professors Michaels and Salaymeh also provide an outline of a conceptual beginning for decolonial approaches to comparative law.

Decolonial Comparative Law: A Conceptual Beginning


Ralf Michaels has been a Director at the Max Planck Institute since 2019. He is additionally Global Law Professor at the Queen Mary University of London and Professor of Law at the University of Hamburg.

Lena Salaymeh is a British Academy Global Professor at the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies, University of Oxford. She also co-directs, at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and Private International Law (Hamburg), a research project on decolonial comparative law, which merges her background in comparative law and decolonial theory.

Roeterseilandcampus - building A

Room A3.01
Nieuwe Achtergracht 166
1018 WV Amsterdam