C.V. | Publications | Project

Research Interests
Legal anthropology, legal pluralism, legal theory, statehood, governance, constitutionalism, judicial designs, mobility of legal concepts, citizenship, autochthony, cultural translation, rule of law, mediation.

Research Area(s)
Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly Horn of Africa (esp. Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, Somaliland).


Katrin Seidel studied law as well as African and Asian studies at Humboldt University of Berlin. Situated at the intersection of legal pluralism and heterogeneous statehood, her studies are concerned with the interdependent relationships between plural normative and judicial orders at different levels of regulations.

Current research is focused on South Sudan’s constitutional genesis in the context of plural legal realities. How does the emerging state deal with the existing plural normative realities? How are local law and its authorities integrated into the constitution making process and hence into an overarching judicial framework?

The post-doctoral project builds on her PhD on Ethiopian’s state-recognized legal plural arrangement, in particular on the interdependent relationship between Islamic law and state law. The study attempted to better understand, in practice and theory, how these normative and judicial orders function in relation to each other, and to identify possibilities of normative conflicts and of dealing with those.

Since her original academic background is based on the continental European legal tradition centering on ‘law’ as codified state law, her research aims to contribute to the inter-disciplinary dialogue by furthering translations of lawyers’ insights into the anthropologists’ world and vice versa in order to enrich and open up the concepts of ‘law’ and ‘state’.

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