Ceremony BAA Dissertation Award 2023 ©Amerikahaus München

Dissertation Award 2023

We congratulate Dr. Annabelle Meier on receiving the Dissertation Award 2023 of the Bavarian America Academy (BAA). 

The award ceremony took place during the international BAA annual conference with the theme Environmental Citizenship: Politics, Practices, Representations at the Amerikahaus Munich. BAA board member Prof. Dr. Kerstin Schmidt (LMU Munich) gave the laudatory speech for the award winner.

We wish Dr. Annabelle Meier much success for her further academic career!

Photo: from left.: Prof. Dr. Heike Paul, Dr. Annabelle Meier, Prof. Dr. Kerstin Schmidt ©Bayerische Amerika-Akademie

Dr. Annabelle Meier ©privat

Dr. Annabelle Meier studied law and history at Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg. In 2015, she passed the first state law examination and received a Bachelor of Arts. She worked as a research assistant at the Chair of Philosophy of Law, Constitutional and Administrative Law with Prof. Dr. Horst Dreier at the University of Würzburg until 2020. In 2018, she was awarded the BAA's Yale University Post-Graduate Research Fellowship and went to the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University for a research stay as a BAA Fellow. In 2020-2022, she completed her legal clerkship at the Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt a. M. and was a research assistant at the Institute for Fundamentals of Law with Prof. Dr. Florian Meinel at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen. In 2022, she received her second state law examination and finished her dissertation successfully.

Dr. Meier's dissertation is dedicated to Georg Jellinek's multi-layered thesis of the religious origin of fundamental rights, which he developed in 1895 in his writing "The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen" Jellinek drew the groundbreaking conclusion from the legal development of the American colonial period that fundamental rights are not of economic or political but of religious origin and thus not the work of the Revolution but of the Reformation. Since the publication of the thesis, this interpretation has been the subject of controversy, and not only in constitutional law scholarship. In her work, Dr. Meier subjects the thesis to an in-depth analysis and revision: on a broad source basis, she explains how freedom of conscience came to be recognized as early as the American colonial period and links this real-historical finding with the fundamental-rights-theoretical implications of Jellinek's thesis. The result opens new perspectives for transatlantic constitutional history: Although the assumption of a "primordial fundamental right" proves too broad, the structure of modern fundamental rights cannot be understood without the legal development of the American colonial period; thus, Jellinek's interpretation remains of immediate relevance for constitutional theory.