Vita

since 2020
University of Vienna
Post-Doc Researcher, Department of Legal and Constitutional History
2019 – 2020
Oberlandesgericht Wien (Higher Regional Court, Vienna)
Trainee lawyer
2019
Max Planck Institute for European Legal History
Visiting Post-Doc
2018 – 2019
University of Michigan
LL.M. Studies (Grotius Fellowship & Fulbright Scholarship)
2014 – 2018
University of Vienna
Doctoral studies in Law

Research Project

Negotiating Pluralism Transnationally: The Concept of Exception in the Justification of Private International Law

This project is a comparative legal study of pluralism in the field of private international law in the 18th and 19th century. It is located at the intersection of different research discourses in the history of ideas, legal history, and the history of international law. There is probably no other field of law in which the contestation of dogmatic foundations and the reorientation of theoretical perspectives are so closely linked to political changes and interests as in private international law. The change on a transnational legal level emanated from multiple domestic legal changes and discourses that can be observed comparatively in different territories and countries during. For analysing these shifts, the project argues that the exception as a rhetorical and legal figure became an important precondition for standardization and for enabling pluralism in private international law within three different contexts. The figure of exception was used to theoretically establish a unified European legal area, which was constructed as the default for the transnational order of private international law. Moreover, new legal doctrines were sometimes introduced as exceptions to older rules in order to reposition and legitimize them. Eventually, the general rule according to which state laws cannot extend their sphere beyond their own territory was contrasted with the exception to this rule, which eventually functioned as the law-founding figure of private international law. 

Selected Publications

Spitra, Sebastian, Die Verwaltung von Kultur im Völkerrecht. Eine postkoloniale Geschichte, Baden-Baden 2021 (im Erscheinen).

Spitra, Sebastian, The Conflict of Laws, in: Miloš Vec und Paulina Starski (Hg.), The Cambridge History of International Law, Bd. 7: Western International Law 1776–c.1870 (in Vorbereitung).

Spitra, Sebastian, Civilisation, Protection, Restitution. A Critical History of International Cultural Heritage Law in the 19th and 20th Century, in: Journal of the History of International Law 22 (2020), 329–354.

Spitra, Sebastian, After the Great War. International Law in Austria’s First Republic, 1918–mid 1920s, in: Clio@Themis 18 (2020), 1–22.

Spitra, Sebastian, Georg Grünstäudl, Paul Hahnenkamp, Johannes Kalwoda, Ines Schwaighofer-Glück (Hg.), QUESA: Quellensammlung Verfassungsgeschichte, Wien 2016.