Launching the Website of ‘The Global City: Challenges, Trust and the Role of Law’ Project

Published 1 March 2018

The Asser Institute is launching the website for its research project on ‘The Global City: Challenges, Trust and the Role of Law’. The project brings together four PhD researchers, who examine how important past and present legal developments took place in the context of global cities.

The project brings together four PhD researchers: Yehonatan Elazar-DeMota, Julia van der Krieke, Miha Marcenko and Lisa Roodenburg. It is divided into two components; one focusing on historical legal research and the other on present legal developments. Julia and Yehonatan are exploring the role of the Sephardic Jewish community in seventeenth-century Amsterdam on the development of the legal debates on citizenship and slavery. Lisa and Miha are exploring the connection of the modern global city to the global norms, such as international human rights.

Ets Haim and Identity within the Context of the Early Modern Amsterdam Debate on Citizenship

Julia van der Krieke is focusing on the evolution of the concept of citizenship arising out of the negotiations for legal recognition and rights of the Sephardic Community in seventeenth-century Amsterdam and other Dutch cities. Looking at sources from the municipal archives and the Ets Haim library, Julia is especially interested in the sometimes conflicting official legal demands and prescriptions placed on the Sephardim on one hand and the daily reality in the city, on the other hand.

Ets Haim and the Early Modern Amsterdam Debate on Trade and War with the non-European World

Yehonatan Elazar-DeMota is interested in revealing the contribution of the Sephardic Jewish Community in the Dutch Republic on the debate on slavery and the Atlantic Slave Trade. Their material contributions were invaluable to the slave-trading activities of the West Indies Company. Most important, they made a mark on the pan-European seventeenth-century Slave Trade Debate through their intellectual, legal and religious conceptions, which influenced the thinking of international legal discussions of the time.

Diversity and Migration in Global Cities: Human Rights as a Source of Trust and/or Control

Lisa Roodenburg is exploring the human rights discourses in the context of different forms of migration. International human rights law is used and reconstructed in different ways by municipal governments, NGOs and migrant groups when they engage with questions on how to address the phenomenon of urban migration. Lisa’s research has a strong empirical component, as her research builds on fieldwork in three cities: Amsterdam, Buenos Aires and Hong Kong.

The Role of Urban Actors in the Transnational Processes of Assembling the Right to Housing

Miha Marcenko is looking at the contemporary activities of the actors from within cities within the global normative discourses, such as international human rights law. Through the international discussions on urban housing issues, Miha is analysing the change in the multilevel-global-governance mechanisms where municipal governments and urban civil society movements have an ever-increasing role. He is also focusing on how the connection between the international and urban actors influences the functioning of international law.

The Global City: The Role of Law. Then and Now

The website contains information on the individual research projects, and will regularly publish news items and blog posts in the various fields of expertise coming together in the overall project. For instance, the website will feature comments on observed developments in the field (for example on housing issues and slavery), highlight discussions during relevant conferences, and offer photo blogs that show for example Amsterdam’s Portuguese Jewish heritage or visualise how cities are and were shaped by legal developments.

The project started in September 2016. Project leader is Prof. Dr. Janne Nijman who received a grant from the Gieskes-Strijbis Fonds for this research project. You can also follow our work and experiences in the field on our Twitter and Instagram accounts.