The Revolution of Law

Join Columbia’s Center for Contemporary Critical Thought and Legal History Workshop for a discussion of Evgeny Pashukanis and the development of Soviet legal thought during the 1920s and 1930s. Drawing on both Russian and US archives, Rafael Khachaturian and Igor Shoikhedbrod have unearthed a wealth of new material for their forthcoming volume of translations, The Revolution of Law (Brill). This material covers debates concerning the relationship between legal form and economic organization, the place of individual rights in a putatively non-capitalist society, and the meaning of illegality in a time of revolutionary transition. Discussants Katharina Pistor, Yana Skorobogatov, and Bernard Harcourt will respond to this pathbreaking work, and Jeremy Kessler will moderate the conversation.

Each session will draw on a selection of Khachaturian and Shoikhedbrod’s new translations. The starred (*) selections in the below schedule are those that the translators consider foundational to the conversation. Translations will be circulated a week before the event.

April 5, 2024
9 AM – 3 PM
Jerome Greene Annex

Please RSVP here.



8:30 AM – Coffee and Pastries Available

9:00 AM – Introduction and Opening Remarks

    Jeremy Kessler (Columbia, Law) & Bill Butler (Penn State, Law)

9:15 AM – Session I: The Revolution of Law & the Development of Soviet Legal Thought

    Discussant: Yana Skorobogatov (Columbia, History)

    Readings: *Peteris Stučka, Three Stages of Soviet Law (1927)
    A.K. Stalgevich, Paths of Development in Soviet Legal Thought (1928)

10:45 AM – Coffee Break

11:00 AM – Session II: Pashukanis and Legal Theory

    Discussant: Katharina Pistor (Columbia, Law)

    Readings: *Evgeny Pashukanis, The Situation on the Legal Theory Front (1930)
    L. Reztsov, Legal-Relation and Legal-Norm (E. Pashukanis’s Theory as Relapse into Bourgeois-Legal Individualism) (1930)
    Ilya Slavin, Is Criminal Untrustworthiness Punishable?: Towards a Theory of the Dangerous Condition (1922)

12:30 PM – Lunch

1:30 PM – Session III: Law, Ideology, and Dictatorship

    Discussant: Bernard Harcourt (Columbia, Law & Political Science)

    Readings: *Yakov Staroselsky, Rousseau and the Jacobin Dictatorship (1928)
    E.B. Pashukanis, Foreword, to Yakov Staroselsky, The Problem of the Jacobin Dictatorship (1930)

3:00 PM – Closing Remarks


Rafael Khachaturian (Co-Translator and Co-Editor) is a Lecturer in the University of Pennsylvania's Critical Writing Program. 

Igor Shoikhedbrod (Co-Translator and Co-Editor) is Assistant Professor of Political Theory in the Department of Political Science at St. Francis Xavier University.

Katharina Pistor (Discussant) is the Edwin B. Parker Professor of Comparative Law at Columbia Law School.

Yana Skorobogatov (Discussant) is the Harriman Assistant Professor of Russian and Soviet History at Columbia University.

Bernard E. Harcourt (Discussant) is the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science at Columbia University.

Jeremy Kessler (Organizer and Chair) is the Stanley H. Fuld Professor of Law at Columbia Law School.