ESIL's Interest Group "History of International Law" invites submissions for an Agora Proposal to be submitted for consideration for the ESIL Conference 2018
. For 2018, Manchester has been chosen as venue, around the theme
'International Law and Universality'
Please find our call below:
The Local in the
Universal: Social, Women’s, Labour and Radical Histories of International Law
The Interest Group on the History of International Law seeks abstracts
for an Agora Proposal to be submitted to the European Society of International
Law for its 2018 Conference on ‘International Law and Universality’ to be held
13–15 September 2018 in Manchester.
Universality’s flip side is the local and the
particular. Locations are inescapable parts of any idea of universality. People
are positioned in time, place, class, gender, race, ethnicity, indigeneity, and
sexuality. These particulars formed familiar coordinates for locating different
peoples within ideas of the universal; at the bottom of hierarchies — subsumed,
excluded, ignored, erased.
The beginning of international legal history’s recent
renaissance lay in exploring one assertion of universality — the liberal-democratic
progressive narrative — and Europe as its location, and white male jurists as
its particular. Later advances began to unpack the imperial, racial and class
aspects of international law’s pasts, to understand how that universal spread
to many localities. Some of the most recent and exciting historical projects
have begun to draw our attention to the everyday, to materiality, objects, and
archives beyond the legal, to tell personal, hidden and revealing histories of
And yet, international legal history has so far
been largely resistant to more radical forms of history that spurred so many of
the main innovations in twentieth century historiography: social histories,
women’s histories, labour histories, and histories of resistance and radicalism.
Other themes at the 2018 ESIL Conference
invite papers on universality and particularism’s histories at the juridical,
conceptual and theoretical levels. This Agora seeks to expand that universe in
the direction of something more local, personal and radical — to uncover
histories that have been hidden within these longues durées and big trends.
Fitting with and interrogating the theme of
universality, we seek papers that look for the local in the universal and the
legal, from across the globe and from any period of historical inquiry. We are
looking to share the hidden stories, archival gems, and accounts of everyday
lives and movements that illuminate and contest the universal in new and
powerful ways. It is particularly fitting that we do this in Manchester, a city
that was one major birthplace of the industrial revolution, the labour
movement, and the suffragette movement.
Issues arising within this theme might include, but
are not limited to:
- The role of women and women’s movements in constructing, challenging and
critiquing the ideas of universality in international law.
- Labour and international law: competing universals of solidarity and capitalism.
- Race, ethnicity, indigeneity, intersectionality and the stories of
challenging, rethinking and repurposing the universal.
- Rebellions, radicalism and resistance: histories of popular debate,
protests and discord over universality in law.
- Shifting the ‘turn to biography’ in international legal histories:
introducing the field to new lives and new, untold stories.
- The significance of rural areas, cities, communities, migration and
labour flows for rethinking law, the international, and the universal.
- Submit an abstract of no more than 800 words, submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org by 17 January 2018. No late submissions will
- An interest group subcommittee will then blind review the abstracts and
finalise the proposed format. The likely format will be a panel of 4 papers,
but this may change depending on abstracts received.
- Selected abstracts will be sent, with the Agora theme, to the ESIL 2018
Conference organisers for their consideration by 31 January 2018.
- If the proposal is successful, full papers (minimum 3000 words) will
need to be submitted by 15 July 2018 for circulation to other Agora
- We encourage proposals from scholars in any discipline — legal or not —
and at any stage of career. Selection will be based on scholarly merit and with
regard to producing an engaging workshop, without prejudice to gender,
seniority, language or geographical location
- Please circulate this call to anyone you think may be interested.
- Please direct any questions to Martin Clark (email@example.com) or Markus