Humboldt Fellow Christa Rautenbach in conversation

December 02, 2019

Christa Rautenbach is a Full Professor at the North-West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa. She has more than 30 years of experience as a lawyer and was a prosecutor at the South African Department of Justice before becoming an academic scholar. She specialises in subjects dealing with legal pluralism, customary law, mixed jurisdictions, cultural diversity, judicial comparativism and the law of succession.

She is an alumna and Ambassador Scientist of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and serves on the advisory board of the African-German Network of Excellence in Science (AGNES). She also won a Humboldt Alumni Award in 2019 for innovative networking initiatives, which she received from German Chancellor Angela Merkel. In 2020 she will spend six months as a Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities "Law as Culture".

From July to December 2019, Christa Rautenbach is conducting research as a visiting scholar at the Institute.

What is your research focus during your time at the Institute?
The focus of my research while I am here is to look at approaches to single marriage codes, comparatively. The aim is to explore alternatives which can be introduced into the South African legal order if they can be used to solve South Africa’s diverse family law issues.

Why did you choose the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law for your research?
The Institute specialises in comparative private law and has a well-stocked library, excellent facilities and knowledgeable scholars who can assist me in obtaining all relevant information in one place. The Institute also has a good reputation and is well known for the quality of its scholarly output.

Is there a spot at the Institute that you are particularly fond of?
Doing research is a lonely business. Therefore, regular visits to the Café Max are a must. Not only does it provide a welcome cup of coffee, it also provides a space where one can converse and exchange ideas with other like-minded scholars. Thus, if I have to choose a favourite spot, it has to be Café Max.

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