Karin van Leeuwen (C.W.)


Karin van Leeuwen (1981) is assistant professor in European political history at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASoS), where she also co-initiated and co-leads the Law & History research network.

Karin holds a PhD from the Radboud University Nijmegen (2013), and MA degrees from the University of Groningen (History) and the Georg August Universität Göttingen/Uniwersytet Jagielloński Kraków (Euroculture). She previously worked in various teaching and research positions at the University of Amsterdam, at the University of Copenhagen and at the Huygens Institute of Netherlands History.

As a researcher, Karin is mostly interested in how modern European politics is shaped by law and legal practices – an interest that resulted in publications on for example international law in and around the League of Nations (A political and legal history of the Advisory Committee of Jurists, with Morten Rasmussen, 2021); constitutionalization and 'legal revolution' in EU law (Paving the road to legal revolution, ELJ 2018); and Dutch constitutional reform (Uit het spoor van Thorbecke, Boom Amsterdam 2013).

Currently, her research agenda consists of:

  • historicizing the judicialization of politics in Europe: During the 20th century, the development of parliamentary democracies has been paralleled by the expansion of the rule of law through the introduction of constitutional or international legal safeguards. This gave way to a judicialization of politics: a shift of power away from legislatures and towards courts and judicial bodies. Now that the present-day consequences of this profound shift are ever more visible, the history of this shift, and of the underlying emergence of legal expertise, practices and expectations, needs further consideration.
  • the history of international law in the interwar period, especially from the perspective of the Netherlands and/or international legal networks such as the Institut de Droit International and the Hague Academy of International Law. This research is embedded in a project on the history of the League of Nations and international law (1919-1945), based at the University of Copenhagen, and pursued in close collaboration with Morten Rasmussen and Haakon Ikonomou.

Apart from these main interests, ongoing projects also include publications on the history of socialism in the Netherlands (with Naomi Woltring), as well as on the (legal) history of European integration.