• 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.

    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.