New acquisition: field notes and other archival material of Franz von Benda-Beckmann

Press cuttings from 1968 about the banning of the miniskirt in Malawi, a proposal for the Republican Constitution of Malawi dated 1965, field notes of conversations with local court chairmen: the Library of the African Studies Centre Leiden is thrilled to have acquired the archives of scholar Franz von Benda-Beckmann, who collected a lot of material about legal pluralism in Malawi in the 1960s. His wife, Keebet von Benda-Beckmann, kindly donated 3 small boxes containing interesting material on Nyasaland and Malawi, including old Constitutions, law books, reports from local courts, penal codes and folders.

Franz von Benda-Beckmann was an ethnologist with a special interest in law. Von Benda-Beckmann was born in 1941 in Greifswald, Germany, and died in Amsterdam in 2013. He was one of the best known and most influential scholars in legal ethnology, teaching at Zürich University, Wageningen University (1981-2000), Halle (Max Planck Institute), Leipzig and Leiden.

Take a look at the extensive archival inventory. Special attention must be given to Von Benda-Beckmann’s book Legal pluralism in Malawi. His family kindly agreed to making this book full text online available.

Jos Damen, ASCL Library