Feb 21 2022

IZO Fellowship

IZO Fellow Prof. Stefan Gruber

During his tenure as IZO fellow, Professor Gruber works within the framework of IZO’s research initiative on “Canonization and Innovation in East Asia”. His contribution to the research initiative explores the usage of canonization to delineate and dominate discourse and narratives and establish authority in favour of governments and other ruling groups in cultural heritage protection law, policy, and initiatives in East Asia. As cultural heritage is in many cases a highly contested and political concept, the ability to create canon is a very powerful tool. This applies particularly in culturally and politically diverse countries and regions, as it allows the dominant class to exclude the voices from other communities by defining what constitutes cultural heritage, establishing a dominant narrative, and hence influencing how the cultural and political landscape will be shaped in the future based on a selective perspective of the past. Such canon can then be moulded into law and policy to ensure its prevalence. Examples of such phenomena are drawn from several East Asian jurisdictions.


Dr Stefan Gruber is a law professor and is affiliated as a researcher with the Hakubi Center for Advanced Research at Kyoto University and the Institute for Advanced Social Sciences of Waseda University in Tokyo. Previously, he was a member of the Faculty of Law of the University of Sydney and continues to teach and research at universities in China and across the Asia-Pacific. He is further active as a legal practitioner and consultant to governmental, non-governmental, and international organisations, and is a member of the World Commission on Environmental Law. He was educated at the Universities of Sydney, Frankfurt, Mainz, and at Harvard Law School, and holds degrees in law, philosophy, and political science. His current research concentrates on cultural heritage protection, sustainable development and environmental law, public international law and politics, the illicit trafficking of cultural property and other forms of art crime, Asian law and society, and human rights. Prior to his current fellowship, Professor Gruber was the Goethe Law Visiting Professor in 2019 and a fellow at IZO as part of the “Protecting the Weak” project in 2016.