Skip to main content

"Translating Law and Anthropology," Frontiers in the Anthropology of Law, Yale Law School

  • Location: New Haven CT
  • Research area: Legal profession

Nov 2008,

The legal academy is currently in the midst of a period of renewed interest in empirical research on law.  Yet despite growing interdisciplinary fervor, we have yet to develop a considered theory or practice of translation between disciplines.  In this presentation, I use the example of anthropology to suggest why such a combined theory and practice might be important.  At the same time, I draw on the methods of anthropological linguistics to highlight some of the limits of translation across disciplinary boundaries.  I conclude by suggesting that humility about the possibilities of translation is a necessary part of any truly "scientific" approach to interdisciplinary work in law.

Site design by Webitects

© 2022 American Bar Foundation (
750 North Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611-4403
(312) 988-6500
Contact Us
Contact the Fellows
Media Contacts
Privacy policy
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in ABF publications are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Bar Foundation or the American Bar Association. The AMERICAN BAR FOUNDATION, ABF and related seal trademarks as used by the American Bar Foundation are owned by the American Bar Association and used under license.