Next week, on October 5, 2011, the Law Library will host Professor Joseph Raz for an afternoon of great legal scholarship. Professor Raz – internationally recognized as an expert in the field of jurisprudence – will deliver a lecture titled “Sovereignty & Legitimacy: On the Changing Face of Law-Questions and Speculations” as the second Frederic R. and Molly S. Kellogg Biennial Lecture in Jurisprudence.
Professor Raz, along with his teacher, the renowned H.L.A. Hart, are considered among the most influential 20th century legal philosophers on the theory of legal positivism, which proposes that “the existence and content of law depends on social facts and not on its merits.” Interestingly, the inaugural Kellogg lecture in 2009 featured Ronald Dworkin, who has extensively analyzed and critiqued the version of legal positivism expounded by Hart and Raz.
Professor Raz has indicated that he plans to clarify the notions of legitimate authority and of a sovereign state. Professor Raz also intends to point to the way developing trends in the international scene lead to changing relations between legitimacy and sovereignty, raising questions about the advantages and the difficulties of the growing legalization of international relations. We understand that Professor Raz wishes to stimulate reflection on these issues through his lecture.
As a foreign law specialist covering legal aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the sometimes competing aspirations of different ethnic groups in that region, I intend to listen carefully to his views on issues of sovereignty, legitimacy, and the legalization of international relations. Considering the ongoing developments in the Middle East, with which I am most familiar, and their legal implications relating to the right to self-determination, statehood, and the international criminalization of various acts, I am looking forward to Professor Raz’s talk.
Professor Raz was born in Mandate Palestine (British Palestine) before the establishment of the State of Israel. He graduated summa cum laude from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem with a Magister Juris (Master of Jurisprudence) and earned a doctorate from Oxford University.
Professor Raz currently teaches at Columbia University Law School and his career includes many distinguished appointments and prestigious honors and awards. He has held tenured academic appointments at the Hebrew University, at Balliol College, Oxford, as well as at Columbia University. He is also a Fellow of the British Academy. Professor Raz has had visiting academic appointments at universities and consultative commitments at journals of philosophy and law in many countries.
The Library of Congress catalog shows that we hold a number of titles by Professor Raz, including The Authority of Law: Essays on Law and Morality and Between Authority and Interpretation: on the Theory of Law and Practical Reason.
The event will be held in the Coolidge Auditorium, located in the Thomas Jefferson Building at 10 First Street S.E., Washington D.C at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, October 5. The lecture will be followed by a reception in room LJ 119 of the same building.
Both the lecture and reception are free and open to the public. So please join us if you can!
Update: This was originally published as a guest post by Ruth Levush. The author information has been updated to reflect that Ruth is now an In Custodia Legis blogger. The event video was also added below.