ESIL Interest Group History of International Law

ESIL Interest Group History of International Law

donderdag 29 september 2016

AJIL Unbound Symposium: The Many Lives of the Sykes-Picot Treaty

(image source: AJIL Unbound)

The blog of the American Journal of International Law hosts an online-symposium on the Sykes-Picot Treaty, a landmark in the history of the Middle East with far-reaching consequences.

The introduction by Prof. Anthonie Anghie can be found here. Two contributions have already been published: "Palestine and the Secret Treaties" by dr. Victor Kattan (here) and "Textual Settlements: The Sykes–Picot Agreement and Secret Treaty-Making" by Megan Donaldson (here).

zondag 25 september 2016

BOOK: Lauren BENTON & Lisa FORD, Rage for Order: The British Empire and the Origins of International Law, 1800-1850. Cambridge (Mass.): Harvard UP, 2016, 288 p., ISBN 9780674737464, € 36

  (image source: Harvard UP)

The Legal History Blog announced a forthcoming book by Lauren Benton & Lisa Ford, RAge for Order: The British Empire and the Origins of International Law, 1800-1850, at Harvard University Press. The book is available at a democratic price (€ 36).

Book description:
International law burst on the scene as a new field in the late nineteenth century. Where did it come from? Rage for Order finds the origins of international law in empires—especially in the British Empire’s sprawling efforts to refashion the imperial constitution and use it to order the world in the early part of that century.
Lauren Benton and Lisa Ford uncover the lost history of Britain’s global empire of law in colonial conflicts and bureaucratic dispatches rather than legal treatises and case law. Tracing constitutional politics around the world, Rage for Order shows that attempts to refashion the British imperial constitution touched on all the controversial issues of the day, from slavery to revolution. Scandals in turbulent colonies targeted petty despots and augmented the power of the Crown to intervene in the administration of justice. Campaigns to police piracy and slave trading linked British interests to the stability of politically fragmented regions. Dull bureaucrats dominated legal reform, but they did not act in isolation. Indigenous peoples, slaves, convicts, merchants, and sailors all scrambled to play a part in reordering the empire and the world beyond it. Yet, through it all, legal reform focused on promoting order, not advancing human rights or charting liberalism.
Rage for Order maps a formative phase in world history when imperial, not international, law anchored visions of global order. This sweeping story changes the way we think about the legacy of the British Empire and the meaning of international law today.

 On the authors:
Lauren Benton is Nelson O. Tyrone, Jr., Professor of History and Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University.
Lisa Ford is Associate Professor in History at the University of New South Wales.
This book is a major achievement. Benton and Ford provide a powerful new way of understanding the global reach and effects of modern British imperialism. By connecting projects of colonial governance with new visions of global legal ordering, they offer a bold rethinking of the imperial context for the emergence of modern international law.—Robert Travers, Cornell University
The authors go deep into the archives to reveal the crucial interactions of countless colonial governors, crusading ship captains, misguided magistrates, inquisitive imperial commissioners, and frustrated Westminster bureaucrats whose words and deeds collectively constituted a nascent global legal order. By telling the often marvelous stories of law’s minions rather than its mandarins, Benton and Ford have done nothing less than help us understand the shambling character of our own international legal order as it arose out of empire two centuries ago.—Paul D. Halliday, University of Virginia
Benton and Ford marshal a vast array of archival evidence to shed new light on the development of law within and at the edges of the British Empire. They show that political and military activities were saturated with legal claims and that many and often competing actors—merchants and missionaries, sailors and convicts, middling officials and local elites—contributed to a ‘new vernacular imperial constitutionalism,’ with profound and unexpected consequences for international law.—Jennifer Pitts, University of Chicago

Table of contents:
1. A Global Empire of Law
2. Controlling Despotic Dominions
3. The Commissioner’s World
4. The Promise of Protection
5. Ordering the Oceans
6. An Empire of States
7. A Great Disorder

vrijdag 16 september 2016

BOOK: Martti KOSKENNIEMI, Walter RECH & Manuel JIMÉNEZ FONSECA (eds.), International Law and Empire: Historical Explorations [The History and Theory of International Law]. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Dec 2016, 416p. ISBN 978-0198795575, £ 80.

(image source: amazon)

Oxford University Press will publish a volume on 1 December 2016 on the theme International Law and Empire: Historical Explorations. This is a product of the project "International Law, Religion and Empire" under the direction of Martti Koskenniemi at the Eric Castrén Institute (Helsinki).

Book description:
In times in which global governance in its various forms, such as human rights, international trade law, and development projects, is increasingly promoted by transnational economic actors and international institutions that seem to be detached from democratic processes of legitimation, the question of the relationship between international law and empire is as topical as ever. By examining this relationship in historical contexts from early modernity to the present, this volume aims to deepen current understandings of the way international legal institutions, practices, and narratives have shaped specifically imperial ideas about and structures of world governance. As it explores fundamental ways in which international legal discourses have operated in colonial as well as European contexts, the book enters a heated debate on the involvement of the modern law of nations in imperial projects. Each of the chapters contributes to this emerging body of scholarship by drawing out the complexity and ambivalence of the relationship between international law and empire. They expand on the critique of western imperialism while acknowledging the nuances and ambiguities of international legal discourse and, in some cases, the possibility of counter-hegemonic claims being articulated through the language of international law. Importantly, as the book suggests that international legal argument may sometimes be used to counter imperial enterprises, it maintains that international law can barely escape the Eurocentric framework within which the progressive aspirations of internationalism were conceived.

Table of contents:
Introduction, Martti Koskenniemi
Part I: Epistemologies of Empire and International Law 1: Provincializing Grotius: International Law and Empire in a Seventeenth-Century Malay Mirror, Arthur Weststeijn
2: Indirect Hegemonies in International Legal Relations: The Debate of Religious Tolerance in Early Republican China, Stefan Kroll
3: International Law, Empire, and the Relative Indeterminacy of Narrative, Walter Rech
Part II: Legal Discourses of Empire 4: The Concepts of Universal Monarchy and Balance of Power in the First Half of the Seventeenth Century-a Case Study, Peter Schröder
5: Between Faith and Empire: The Justification of the Spanish Intervention in the French Wars of Religion in the 1590s, Randall Lesaffer
6: Jus gentium and the Transformation of Latin American Nature: One More Reading of Vitoria?, Manuel Jiménez Fonseca
7: Cerberus: The State, the Empire, and the Company as Subjects of International Law in Grotius and the Peace of Westphalia, José-Manuel Barreto
8: Revolution, Empire, and Utopia: Tocqueville and the Intellectual Background of International Law, Julie Saada
Part III: Managing Empire: Imperial Administration and Diplomacy 9: Towards the Empire of a 'Civilizing Nation': The French Revolution and its Impact on Relations with the Ottoman Regencies in the Maghreb, Christian Windler
10: A Comporting Sovereign, Tribes, and the Ordering of Imperial Authority in Colonial Upper Canada of the 1830s, PG McHugh
11: Territory, Sovereignty, and the Construction of the Colonial Space, Luigi Nuzzo
Part IV: A Legal Critique of Empire? 12: An Anti-Imperialist Universalism? Jus Cogens and the Politics of International Law, Umut Özsu
13: Drift towards an Empire? The Trajectory of American Reformers in the Cold War, Hatsue Shinohara
14: Imperium sine fine: Carneades, the Splendid Vice of Glory, and the Justice of Empire, Benjamin Straumann
15: Scepticism of the Civilizing Mission in International Law, Andrew Fitzmaurice 

On the editors:
Martti Koskenniemi is Academy Professor and Director of the Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights at the University of Helsinki, a Professorial Fellow at Melbourne Law School, and Centennial Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He has held visiting professorships at New York University, the University of Cambridge, the University of Utrecht, Columbia University, the University of São Paulo, the University of Toronto, and the Universities of Paris I, II, X and XVI. He was a member of the Finnish diplomatic service from 1978 to 1994 and of the International Law Commission (UN) from 2002 to 2006. His publications include From Apology to Utopia: The Structure of International Legal Argument (1989), The GentleCivilizer of Nations: The Rise and Fall of International Law 1870-1960 (2001), The Politics of International Law (2011), and The Cambridge Companion to International Law (2012, co-edited with Professor James Crawford). 
Walter Rech is a postdoctoral researcher at the Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights, University of Helsinki. His research interests are located in the history and theory of international law and international politics. His publications include Enemies of Mankind: Vattel's Theory of Collective Security ( 2013). 
Manuel Jiménez Fonseca is a doctoral researcher at the Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights, University of Helsinki. His research interests include the historical relationship between international law and nature, development, and social movements. His publications include 'The Colonization of American Nature and the Early Developments of International Law' 12 Journal of the History of International Law (2010) 189. 

The book can be pre-ordered with amazon.

zondag 11 september 2016

ESIL IG History of International Law Workshop "Writing Crisis in the History of International Law" (Riga, 7 September 2016)

 (Prof. Peters starting her response to the papers presented)

The Interest Group invited its members (latest ESIL secretariat count: 377) for an engaging and stimulating workshop on the theme "Writing Crisis in the History of International Law" within the Annual ESIL conference, organised in Riga (Latvia). 

Four papers were presented by Monica García Salmones (Helsinki, "Universal Solutions for Exceptional Times: Vitoria and Grotius"), Eric Loefflad (Kent, "‘The Stunted ‘Science’ of Statehood as a Technology of Crisis Disavowal: Three ‘Gentle Civilizers’, The Blindspots of International Institutionalism, and Explanations of the Third Reich’"), Paolo Amarosa (Helsinki; "Diverging Reconstructions: the American international law of Alejandro Álvarez and James Brown Scott during World War I") and Ingo Venzke (Amsterdam; "The Economic Crisis in the 1970s: Possibilities for Change in the Past to Feed the Future"). Prof. Anne Peters (MPI Heidelberg) responded to the proposed texts.

The Interest Groups thanks all participants for a stimulating exchange on topics of doctrine, theory and the life of the law, ranging from 16th century theology to 21st century critical legal studies.

(view from the Latvian National Library, main site of the conference)

We point to the open call for abstracts for the workshop at the upcoming ESIL Research Forum in Granada (30-31 March 2017), which can be found here. We hope to welcome you again in Spain !