Universiteit Leiden

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Vanessa Mak and Herman Paul new KNAW members

The KNAW has appointed 17 new members, including Leiden University's Vanessa Mak, Professor of Private Law, and Herman Paul, Professor of History. The KNAW has approximately members, who are outstanding scientists and scholars from all disciplines.

The new Academy members will be inaugurated on Monday 30 September. Membership is for life. Discover on the KNAW's website who the other new members are. The new members from Leiden University are:

Vanessa Mak, Professor of Civil Law

Vanessa Mak specialises in private law and is particularly interested in contract law, with a special focus on consumer law in the European market. What is unusual about her research is that she studies the law not only as a self-contained system but also takes an interdisciplinary approach by viewing it as part of market regulation and judicial policymaking.  She explores how consumer law can facilitate relationships between companies and consumers in response to general trends in digitalisation and sustainability.

Mak also examines lawmaking processes in which private parties such as online platforms develop their own regulations in the form of contracts and codes of conduct. Who makes the rules in that case, and how can such arrangements align with national or EU law, and above all with consumers themselves? Mak has written authoritative monographs and articles on this subject.

Herman Paul, Professor of History of the Humanities

Herman Paul's research lies at the interface of history, philosophy and scholarly ethics. With a background in the philosophy of history, he authored a major work on Hayden White and developed a conceptual framework for exploring how people relate to their past.

He also wrote articles on 'historians’ virtues' and 'scholarly personae' that have been widely supported by peers worldwide. Paul is making productive use of these concepts in his current research on the history of the humanities. Although methods and techniques often vary from one discipline or time period to the next, research on the attributes of good scholars reveals both cross-fertilisation between disciplines and historical continuities.

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