August 30, 2023 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Dr. Kimberly Baltzer-Jaray, Instructor in Philosophy and Social Justice & Peace Studies (Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies) travelled to Frankfurt, Germany, to present on Adolf Reinach, a German phenomenologist (a person who studies phenomena or things that exist and how we experience them) whom she has studied for over 20 years.

Dr. Baltzer-Jaray was one of fifteen scholars who presented at the Reinach and the Foundations of Private Law conference, held on August 21-22, 2023, and co-hosted by the Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory, University of Notre Dame Law School, and Harvard Law School. Dr. Baltzer-Jaray’s paper was titled “Adolf Reinach, Negation and Law.”

Because Dr. Baltzer-Jaray had the most senior expertise in Reinach’s work, “this was one of these rare moments where I got to feel like being an expert. These scholars embraced that and they asked questions, and listened to stories I told about his biography and the various things I have done to celebrate his life (such as hosting a centenary of his death during World War I with In the Flanders Fields Museum in Langemarck German Military Cemetery, Belgium),” she says.

Dr. Baltzer-Jaray explains the conference was much like a workshop. The papers were submitted in early August, giving attendees a chance to read them in advance of the conference. In each session, the presenter gave a summary of their work and the rest of the session was Q&A. “I liked this format. It was more productive and a lot of fun. I enjoyed my session, I got some great feedback and it was intense with questions, really good questions. Honestly, the 50 minutes of Q&A went by fast and then during the 10-minute break I was answering questions that didn’t get a chance to be asked.” says Dr. Baltzer-Jaray.

“I fell in love with [Reinach] in my undergraduate degree in the late ’90s and I haven’t stopped working on him,” she says. Having written several publications, including articles and translations, on Reinach, Dr. Baltzer-Jaray is considered an expert, “and I wear that badge proudly.”

Dr. Baltzer-Jaray became acquainted with “Reinach the phenomenologist” through her education in philosophy but her passion for Social Justice and Peace Studies (SJPS) helped her understand “Reinach the law scholar” and his ideas of justice more clearly. “I always like using my philosophy research to help folks see that SJPS does serious work with theory and is interdisciplinary with philosophy and other fields, and I also want folks in our community to see contract instructors do research too,” she says.

Dr. Baltzer-Jaray said she left the conference feeling “beyond grateful” for the invitation. She is also filled with inspiration and connected with colleagues with whom she is already making plans to work on future projects with.