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Lecture on Extremism Kicks Off 2013 German Law in Context Seminar at W&L

On Sept. 5, a lecture by one of the world’s leading theorists of political extremism will launch the 2013 edition of Washington and University’s annual German Law in Context Seminar. Prof. Cas Mudde from the University of Georgia’s Department of International Affairs will speak on “A Theory of Extremism” at 5:00 pm in Classroom E, Sydney Lewis Hall.

Prof. Mudde is author and editor of a number of prize-winning books on the subject of political extremism, including SAGE Publishing’s four-volume Political Extremism and the book Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe (Cambridge Press). He is the founder of the ECPR Standing Group on Extremism & Democracy and the Routledge Studies in Extremism & Democracy book series.

The German Law in Context Seminar, now in its fifth year, is an annual research seminar led by W&L Law Professor Russell Miller and Prof. Paul Youngman of W&L’s German and Russian Department. The seminar involves W&L law and undergraduate students in an interdisciplinary examination of German legal issues by exploring how history, politics, social institutions, the economy, and culture help illuminate and explain German law and legal doctrine. Many of the law students participating in the Seminar are associated with the work of the German Law Journal, which is based at W&L.

As Mudde’s lecture suggests, this year’s seminar focuses on Germany’s struggle against extremism. “Germany has had a unique experience with extremism and it has equally distinctive processes for combating and responding to extremism,” said Prof. Miller. For example, Germany is considering a ban on the far-rightwing National Democratic Party of Germany, and the surviving member of the murderous National Socialist Underground is currently on trial.

“Most communities have found it necessary to combat extremism, not only by advancing the normative order but also by limiting and impeding those who would destroy it,” explained Prof. Youngman. “Germany serves as a valuable case-study in part because its methods and institutions will seem both familiar and vividly different when compared with American responses to extremism, including the United States’ rapacious surveillance programs, which have created a furor overseas.”

The Seminar is a collaboration between the German Law Journal, the W&L Law School, the W&L German and Russian Department, and the UVA Center for German Studies. Alongside regular seminar discussions of the relevant legal framework, a series of interdisciplinary events is planned, including guest lectures from historians, political scientists, and experts in German cultural studies. The program also includes a film series. Visit http://law.wlu.edu/germanlawseminar for a seminar schedule.

Past German Law in Context programs include: “Parliament’s Army: Lessons from Germany on Law and War,” “The Immigrant in German Law and Culture,” “The German Social State,” and “Germany’s 1968 and the Law.”

For more information, contact Prof. Russell Miller (millerra@wlu.edu).