Prof. Tamanaha Delivers Prestigious Kobe Memorial Lecture in Japan

Brian Z. Tamanaha, the William Gardiner Hammond Professor of Law, delivered the 11th Kobe Memorial Lecture and a series of seminars in five Japanese cities—Tokyo, Sendai, Nagoya, Kyoto, and Osaka. Tamanaha’s topic for the Kobe Memorial Lecture was “Insights about the Nature of Law from History.”

His lecture drew from his background in jurisprudence, history, anthropology, and sociology. The topic is rooted in his belief that law is a social construction that changes its form and function as society becomes more complex. His analysis elucidates critical issues about the nature of law and the diversity of law in different societies.

Previous invitees who have delivered the Kobe Memorial Lecture include Ronald Dworkin, Joseph Raz, and Cass Sunstein. The lecture and seminars are sponsored by the Japan branch of the International Association of Legal Philosophy, and by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

Tamanaha is the author of seven books, including his groundbreaking Beyond the Formalist–Realist Divide: The Role of Politics in Judging (2010) and A General Jurisprudence of Law and Society (2001). He has also published numerous articles on jurisprudence, legal realism, and the rule of law, among other topics.

Earlier in the year, Tamanaha delivered the 2014 George Wythe Lecture at the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William & Mary. The lecture was titled “The Third Pillar of Jurisprudence: Social Legal Theory.”

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Following his scholarly presentations in Japan, he will deliver a series of lectures at universities in Beijing and Shanghai.

Spring 2014