Fabian Lemmes: Special Laws Against Terrorism? The Case of the Anti-Anarchist Legislation in the Late 19th Century

On The June 2, 2020

Contact collegium@universite-lyon.fr for link to connection
Viceo-conference seminar

How to react to terrorist attacks? The question is not only important in today’s political debates about how to ‘fight’, and how not to fight, terrorism, but has been so since terrorism emerged as a peculiar form of political violence in the 19th century.

The enactment of special, exceptional, or emergency laws has belonged to the standard repertoire of state responses. Why is this the case, how are these measures justified, and what are their consequences?

This seminar will explore the case of the anarchist attacks of the late 19th century when terrorism became a relevant political issue all over Europe and beyond. As a result, many states, in particular France and Italy, passed special laws that increased executive power, criminalised certain political opinions (anarchist in particular), limited political and personal freedoms, or introduced special jurisdiction. Yet they also gave rise to controversial debates.

Illustration : Le Petit Journal, Supplément illustré, 2 juillet 1894

Fabian Lemmes is Junior Professor of European History at Ruhr University Bochum (Germany) and a 2019-2020 fellow of the Collegium de Lyon.