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Judicial courts arbitrate disputes in contexts of cultural diversity and legal pluralism, which brings on demands for interdisciplinary dialogue among legal scholars/practitioners and anthropologists on the meaning of culture and tradition, and on the content of specific cultures/traditions.
Cultural diversity and legal pluralism are facts of life in today's interconnected societies. An issue of particular salience has been the role played by judicial courts as places of encounter and tension among different cultural universes and legal traditions, often studied in academia under the headings of 'multicultural jurisprudence' and/or 'cultural defense'. The field is rich in opportunities for interdisciplinary dialogue among anthropologists and legal scholars/practitioners, as well as for fruitful cooperation between academia and the judiciary, as attested by an already considerable acquis of joint publications and by collaborations of anthropologists as expert witnesses in 'cultural defense' cases across Europe.
This panel aims to contribute to the ongoing academic debates about the interplay between law and culture in judicial practice, by inviting paper proposals on one of three key strands: 1) review of the methodological challenges of a genuine interdisciplinary dialogue between legal practitioners and anthropologists, both in academic and in judicial settings; 2) review of practical experiences by anthropologists as expert witnesses and of collaborations between anthropology labs and judicial courts in general; 3) state of the art of the discussions on multicultural jurisprudence and/or cultural defense, from a legal, an anthropological or an interdisciplinary perspective.