Medium’s motto is “words matter.” For the ASCL, that’s true; but it is also complicated.

ASCLConnect
Dec 6, 2018 · 3 min read

The American Society of Comparative Law has a strong web presence (www.ascl.org) and an active social media profile (@ASCLConnect). But we’re always looking to expand our reach and network, which is why we are delighted to try this publishing platform.

We are excited to try Medium for four main reasons. First, this platform gives excellent visibility in search engines. Second, ASCL content will be available to broader audiences globally through key-wording, which allows us to connect ASCL members with broader global conversation currents. Third, global access is possible without login credentials (though you must sign in to post responses). Lastly, we are especially drawn to Medium’s assurance that content will remain ad-free, in perpetuity.

Medium’s motto is simple and powerful: “Words matter.” Comparative lawyers know this to be true. But for us, words are not a simple matter. Whenever translation is involved, there is a great opportunity for mischief.

The ASCL’s institutional home base is the United States. But as comparative law scholars, we necessarily travel and work in different legal traditions. Very few of us are “armchair” comparativists; the overwhelming majority of us are engaged in ongoing mindshares and conversations with colleagues all over the world.

Often, these conversations take place in strange langues, including different legalese dialects of different foreign languages and professional jargons.

If you think German is difficult, try speaking a Swiss German corporate law dialect, with a crypto-Stiftung accent. If you think Japanese is hard, try reading Japanese legal jargon in the securities law context.

Over the past few centuries, comparative law traditions and methodologies have become more complex. In the past century, the comparative law discipline has seen the emergence of a rich pluralism of methodological, historical, linguistic, and other approaches to our shared pursuit of comparative legal knowledge.

Surveying the past, and scanning the long expanse of the 21st century, it seems that the ongoing process of globalization and legal harmonization will continue to track and dissect a contemporaneous process of fragmentation.

In select fields, the process of fragmentation has become a distinct process of fractionalization, producing what increasingly looks like a fractal legal landscape. This is evident in fields as diverse as civil rights, administrative law, contract, and antitrust law — to name a few.

Comparative law offers many tools for understanding these processes. In the coming months and years, we will be growing the @ASCLConnect presence in effort to connect our work with the trailblazing work of colleagues all over the world. Our methods are imperfect, but our aim is clear: we are doing this in effort to better understand the world.

These efforts on Medium are not official positions of the ASCL, or of any member institution. These are merely attempts to explore a new medium for broadening our comparative law network.


Please drop us a line below to tell us what you see as a need area for comparative law research and networking today. Thank you, and welcome to @ASCLConnect!

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