ESIL Interest Group History of International Law

ESIL Interest Group History of International Law

dinsdag 16 februari 2021

ARTICLES: Henri DE WAELE & Janne NIJMAN on international legal history (EJIL XXXI (2020), Issue 3)

(image source: OUP)


A New League of Extraordinary Gentlemen? The Professionalization of International Law Scholarship in the Netherlands, 1919–1940 (Henri de Waele) (open access)

Abstract:

Despite the historical turn in the study of public international law and the advance of comparative approaches, still too little attention is paid nowadays to specific national traditions. This holds, inter alia, for the scholarly views and practices in the Netherlands during the first half of the 20th century. This article seeks to shed light on the experiences here at the advent of the League of Nations and its tentative ‘new world order’. Offering a meso-level analysis, it portrays the leading protagonists during the 1920s and 1930s, aiming to provide a snapshot of how their discipline and activities underwent an unexpectedly swift professionalization. This process is perceived to have run along three distinct vectors – academic, societal and diplomatic/bureaucratic – which are each examined in turn. Novel opportunities stemming from the rise of the international judiciary, especially the two Permanent Courts established on Dutch soil, are looked at separately. The research delivers a greater insight into the inter-war era and the challenges faced by (academics from) smaller nations, enabling us to situate underexplored local experiences within a global frame, and offering useful lessons for (the writing of) international law history more generally.

Marked Absences: Locating Gender and Race in International Legal History (Janne Nijman) (open access)

Abstract: 

This article was sparked by a critical reading of Henri de Waele’s article ‘A New League of Extraordinary Gentlemen? The Professionalization of International Law Scholarship in the Netherlands, 1919–1940’, and aims to offer an alternative perspective on this period in the history of Dutch international legal scholarship. While it appreciates the author’s examination of Dutch international law scholarship during the interwar period and concurs with the idea that this scholarship needs to be examined more closely, it argues that doing history today requires us first to raise ‘the woman question’, especially in the context of the so-called ‘professionalization’ of international law in the 1920s and 1930s, and second to include Dutch colonialism as an important backdrop to the work of the interwar international law scholars. I will give some pointers and illustrations to support this argument. The specific Dutch material brought to bear aims to show more generally the importance of questioning rather than reproducing traditional historiography, within which ‘the woman question’ and ‘the colonial question’ were left unmentioned. As such this article also deals with the issue of expanding and remaking international legal history as an issue of present and future purport