Reliance and denial in legal histories - PULP FICTIONS No.4
Edited by Karin van Marle
ISSN: 1992-5174
Pages: 27
Print version: Available
Electronic version: Free PDF available

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About the publication

[F]or if legal history is written and taught merely to add further justification for currently accepted notions it becomes a mundane, sterile activity; but if it is used to reveal the alternative structures and ideas that are possible it can assist in breaking down the restrictive, artificial barriers which every legal system tends to develop.’ (D Visser ‘The legal historian as subversive’ in D Visser (ed) Essays on the history of law (1989) 19

We cannot and need not abolish or reinvent legal history, but we can and have to reinvent our legal tradition as a way of observing and describing the law and the history of law. (AJ Van der Walt ‘Legal history, legal culture and transformation in a constitutional
democracy’ 2006 Fundamina 46)

The University of Pretoria celebrated its 100th birthday during 2008. The year was marked by several celebratory events, amongst others the creation of a centenary rose, an attempt to have a centenary flame burning at the main entrance of the university and a centenary ball in the sports arena.

Closer to the ideal and functions of the university there were also a prestige lecture series and a book fair displaying the latest theory, art and even children’s books to members of the university and the public. For legal scholars history at all levels — a history of ideas, social and political history, and also the history of law — lies at the heart of our teaching and research. We were lucky enough to catch A1 rated academic and holder of the South African Research Chair in Property at the University of Stellenbosch, André van der Walt, during a visit to the faculty for the annual property law conference to present some of his reflections on history and particularly legal history. Lize Kriel from the University of Pretoria’s Department of Historical and Heritage Studies acted as respondent.

Van der Walt’s paper and Kriel’s response have been taken up in this edition of Pulp fictions. As always we hope that the thoughts expressed here will inspire and open more space and time for further reflection.

About the Editor:

Karin van Marle is a Professor at the Department of Legal History, Comparitive Law and Jurisprudence, at the Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria

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