This paper is about finding common values among what appear to be different and competitive cultures. While recent international conflicts present a picture of a clash of civilizations rooted in past history and present differences, the historical evidence actually leads to other narratives. Social and cultural history in particular, allows for a reorganization of knowledge that allows for the diffusion of culture and the production of common traditions. Rather than accept a world divided by historical narratives that allow for exceptionalism and difference, the paper proposes a shift by which common histories based on process and diffusion of culture be attempted. It proceeds to do so at the level of legal history taking specific examples to illustrate the development of law from and to different parts of the world and different periods to bring about contemporary laws that seem to be in total variance one from the other. The intent is to illustrate that by sifting through sources and comparing specificities of history of various geographical regions and historical periods, pausing new questions and reconceptualizing human relations, that in fact we can move the agenda ahead to show where cultures meet and where they differ thereby allowing for greater and different discourses of understanding and affinity.


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