Mark S. Weiner

Archive for the ‘Europe’ Category

Preservation Waltz

In Aesthetics, narrative, form, Architecture, Austria, Books and libraries, Constitutional law, Cross-cultural encounters & comparisons, Environment, Europe, Law and film, Law and music, Video on July 19, 2016 at 12:42 pm

The latest video in my series about Austrian concepts of law and the Austrian experience of landscape is called “Preservation Waltz.” Rare books, forests, and domestic architecture. Sustainability is the key principle:

Small Blank Space

I discuss the video in this guest post on Environment, Law and History.

Water, Water, Everywhere, and Every Drop to Drink

In Aesthetics, Aesthetics, narrative, form, Austria, Books and libraries, Constitutional law, Economic regulation, Environment, Europe, Law and film, Law and music, Legal Philosophy, Video on February 27, 2016 at 11:41 am

I’m pleased to share the latest video from my developing film about law and landscape in Austria. This segment is called “Florian & Friends Talk about Purity”:

Small Blank Space

The video is about water, water law, Austrian identity, legal philosophy, concepts of the state, ideas of the public, approaches to time and tradition, metaphor, and some great old books. Plus, there’s a cameo appearance by a sweet Alpine cow.

Environment, Law, and History

In Aesthetics, narrative, form, Europe, Video on January 9, 2016 at 8:17 pm

I have a guest post today on Environment, Law, and History about my latest video project, describing its origin and conceptual structure. Thanks to David Schorr of the Buchmann Faculty of Law at Tel Aviv University for inviting me to contribute to his excellent blog!

IMG_1311 2

 

Austrian Law, Set in Stone

In Aesthetics, narrative, form, Books and libraries, Constitutional law, Cross-cultural encounters & comparisons, Europe, Video on January 5, 2016 at 9:18 am

Why is a basic doctrine of Austrian constitutional law named after one of the central features of the Austrian landscape? A conversation with two far-flung Austrian legal scholars:

Small Blank Space

This video will be incorporated into my film “Wood, Water, Stone, Sky, Milk,” which grew out of the semester I spent in Salzburg as a Fulbright scholar.

Music and Mountain Rescue

In Aesthetics, Aesthetics, narrative, form, Cross-cultural encounters & comparisons, Environment, Europe, Law and film, Video on December 15, 2015 at 3:32 pm

When my wife and I were living in Salzburg last semester, I had the chance to talk with a local archivist with a surprising combination of skills. We had a wide-ranging conversation about music, mountains, law, and what it means to be Austrian. Our discussion will be part of my video-in-progress—”Wood, Water, Stone, Sky, Milk”—but for now I’ve created a preview. You can watch it below, or if the video doesn’t appear automatically in your browser or email, just click here.

 

Anna in the Mine

In Environment, Europe, Law and film, Video on December 10, 2015 at 10:26 am

Lately I’ve been working on a full-length film about the relation between law and landscape in Austria. The film is called “Stone, Water and Wood”—or, when I’m feeling especially ambitious, “Wood, Water, Stone, Sky, Milk.” It’s based on my time as a Fulbright scholar in Salzburg in 2015.

Here’s a teaser, most of it filmed deep under ground:

 

And here’s another excerpt, about the history of Austria forest law:

 

Heads-up about the second video: some peacocks chime in at the end. And heads-up about both videos: sound and color correction will come once I assemble the full project.

Any thoughts or comments greatly appreciated! Danke vielmals!

Improbable Things in Foreign Languages

In Europe, Law and film, Rule of the Clan, Sweden on August 12, 2015 at 6:35 am

Here are three improbable things collected into one audio file: me talking 1) on Austrian radio, 2) in German, and 3) about my latest video project (“Wood, Water, Stone, Sky, Milk”). The program was broadcast recently on “Salzburg Aktuell” on radio ORF.

Small Blank SpaceSmall Blank Space

And while I’m on foreign languages, three nice discussions of The Rule of the Clan appeared recently in Sweden, in Dagens Nyheter, here, and in Svenska Dagbladet: a full review here and a mention here. I’ve been extraordinarily pleased with the attention given to the book there.

Finally, my friend Ulrich Haltern and I recently published an article in the EUtopia Magazine about liberal identity in Europe after the terror attacks in Paris and Copenhagen. We wrote most of the piece back in mid-January, so we’re glad to finally see it available. It was originally written in German, and it reads better in that language, but an English translation is also available.

From Salzburg to Louisville and Back Again

In Constitutional law, Corporations, Europe, Rule of the Clan on May 9, 2015 at 11:08 am

Greetings from Austria, where I’m spending the semester as a Fulbright scholar at the law school of the University of Salzburg. My wife and I have had a grand time getting to know this beautiful city and the mountains and valleys of the nearby Salzkammergut. If you’d like to find us, we’re living in a little baroque garret right about here:

IMG_0721

Just behind that blue dot, up a sheer cliff, is the house where the author Stefan Zweig used to live, so we’ve been thinking a lot about The World Before Yesterday—and, in an American spirit, about the director Wes Anderson, too. Across the river is the Salzburg old town, with its winding cobblestone streets, and our favorite bakery, and our favorite butcher, with its staff who wave to us warmly on the street when they see us walk by. Read the rest of this entry »

Love’s Empire

In Europe, Law and film, Law and literature, Rule of law, State development on March 19, 2014 at 9:02 am

Screen shot 2014-03-19 at 1.21.15 PMIn the latest issue of Telos, I review two books by Paul Kahn of Yale Law School, Political Theology: Four New Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty and Finding Ourselves at the Movies: Philosophy for a New Generation. In both books, Kahn reads contemporary American law and politics through a framework influenced by the writings of Carl Schmitt. The theme of the issue is “After Faith” (for readers not based in a university, I’m afraid the issue is behind a pay wall).

In the review, I write that Kahn’s books “crisply document and provide a provocative theoretical account of an important feature of America’s distinctiveness: its social imaginary of ‘the political,’ particularly the conceptual, cultural, and affective place the social imaginary affords to law. In Kahn’s view, law in America is different. Most notably, law is imaginatively inextricable from the willingness of American citizens to engage in sacrificial acts of political violence. The reason for this potent union, he explains, is theological. The American nation-state—born of revolution and deriving its legitimacy from a trans-generational popular sovereign (‘we, the people’)—provides a source of ultimate meaning for its citizens analogous to religious belief. In Kahn’s analysis, that is, both the American experience of judicial review and the nation’s openness to the use of existential violence stem from a common source: the fact that ‘our political practices remain embedded in forms of belief and practice that touch upon the sacred.'”

Written last October, my review, titled “Love’s Empire,” begins with a reference to Vladimir Putin’s critique of the notion of American exceptionalism in his New York Times editorial of September 11, 2013. It concludes this way:

“Kahn’s compelling description of the American social imaginary thus would seem to raise more insistently Schmitt’s question about the capacity of societies governed by liberal normativity to survive. This question seems especially significant in the context of contemporary pessimism about trans-Atlanticism. For the past seventy years, the security of those European nations that most embody the de-politicized bourgeois liberalism that Schmitt deplored was underwritten, ironically, by a nation that Kahn convincingly describes as living entirely within the exception. Whether an increasingly centralized European Union or some future system of international law can provide similar security and stability while preserving essential domains of human freedom—including by resisting elite managerialism at home and the blandishments of authoritarians from abroad—remains an open question.”

The Only Post about Medieval Law that Ends with a Video from Beck

In Aesthetics, narrative, form, Books and libraries, Europe, Spain, Uncategorized on August 23, 2013 at 7:17 pm

From the Vidal MayorOne of the most powerful aspects of the Vidal Mayor—the subject of my previous three posts—is how it portrays people engaged in everyday legal activities and disputes. The illuminated manuscript shows the law in action, and it depicts law as a human creation.

In this respect, the images in the Getty’s manuscript remind me a bit of the judicial bobbleheads I discussed in my first video.

But there’s something even deeper going on, because the figures are also meant to embody principles of jurisprudence. They are meant both to represent and to set in motion a way of thinking about law.

In a fine academic article about the subject, one scholar describes the significance of the images this way:

The functioning of [their] representative mode can be grasped when perceived in the context of the larger meaning attributed to the category of the imago in the Middle Ages: not only as a symbolic material product—miniatures or metaphors—but equally as a mental image, an imaginary mental operation, in this case the juridical enunciation of a case. Through this structure, the Vidal Mayor’s images adopt the formula of juridical casuistry. Not only do they reproduce the casuistic methodology by giving yet another juridical example for each fuero, but also the image itself reproduces the casuistic procedure undertaken by the judge as he is shown stating a particular case in his court. Through reproducing the methods of jurisprudence, the images of this manuscript on customary law, make up, in this manner, the core of juridical complexities. Their visual movement originates in the court, moves through the particular case stated, and then takes us back to the court where the fuero is being applied—thus to the text.

Like this scholar, I’m struck most powerfully by how the images of the Vidal Mayor depict legal ideas through human gestures—especially hands.

And so, without saying more, I’ll include some of those hands here—and let the images do the talking … partly because the hands are so evocative of legal and social relationships, but also just because they’re beautiful. For medieval atmosphere, I recommend playing this soundtrack in the background (it’s from roughly the same time and place).

Small Blank Space
From the Vidal Mayor

Read the rest of this entry »