ESIL Interest Group History of International Law

ESIL Interest Group History of International Law

Friday 28 September 2018

FREE ARTICLE: Max M. EDLING, "Peace Pact and Nation: An International Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States" (Past & Present CCXL (2018), No. 1 (Aug), 267-303)

(image source: OUP)

The origin of the United States Constitution is a perennial question in American historiography. In the last two decades a new ‘International’ interpretation has appeared that challenges an older ‘economic’ interpretation associated with Charles Beard and the so-called ‘Progressive’ tradition of historical analysis, which dominated scholarship for much of the twentieth century. The two interpretations assume different positions on what is known in American historiography as the ‘dual revolution’ thesis, i.e. the idea that the American founding was at the same time a struggle for home rule and a struggle over who should rule at home. Whereas the Progressive tradition has concentrated on the latter question, the International interpretation calls for renewed investigation of the former. The International interpretation presents the Constitution as a federal treaty that allowed thirteen newly independent and comparatively weak republics to maintain peace among themselves and to act in unison against competitors in the Atlantic marketplace and in the western borderlands of the continental interior. Whereas the Progressives identify the principal outcome of the founding to be the creation of a bourgeois state that faced inwards to make North America safe for capitalism, the Internationalists identify it as the creation of a stronger federal union that faced outward and allowed the United States to stand up to European powers and to conquer the North American continent. Yet despite the focus on the question of home rule, the Internationalist redefinition of the Constitution as a federal treaty also makes possible a fresh view on the old question of who should rule at home.
(read more here)

Thursday 27 September 2018

JOURNAL FORUM: Christianity and Human Rights (Journal of the History of Ideas LXXIX (2018), No.3 (July))

(image source: JHI Blog)

The Journal of the History of Ideas published a special forum on "Christianity and Human Rights".

Udi Greenberg and Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins, "Introduction"
Dan Edelstein, "“Christian Human Rights in the French Revolution"
Gene Zubovich, “American Protestants and the Era of Anti-racist Human Rights"
Sarah Shortall, “Theology and the Politics of Christian Human Rights”
Udi Greenberg, “Catholics, Protestants, and the Tortured Path to Religious Liberty”
Paul Hanebrink, “An Anti-totalitarian Saint: The Canonization of Edith Stein”
More information here.

Wednesday 26 September 2018

ADVANCE ARTICLE: Justyna WUBS-MROZEWICZ, 'Neutrality before Grotius: A City, a State and Seven Salt Ships in the Baltic (1564-1567)', Journal of Early Modern History

(image source: Brill)

The article argues on the basis of a case from the 1560s in Danzig that prior to the formulation of the legal concept of neutrality by Hugo Grotius, there was a practice of neutrality. It was expressed in various terms and manners. This practice pertained to both cities and states, and the case discloses the first documented instance when the Netherlands explicitly strove for neutrality also by legal means. The choice for neutrality was rooted in political and economic interests and as such had advantages, but it was also fraught with difficulties. The analysis shows that the actual extent of neutrality depended on the acceptance (or lack thereof) of the warring parties. Also, by excluding the possibilities of the use of violence or economic means of pressure like blockades, neutrals were limited to diplomacy and law during conflicts. This lay the ground for the development of a legal concept of neutrality

More information with Brill.

(source: ESCLH Blog)

LECTURE: LLM in European and International Law opening Lecture by Prof. dr. Hélène Ruiz Fabri (MPI Luxemburg) (Brussels: VUB, 3 OCT 2018)

Universality in Practice 

A Lecture on International Dispute Settlement
Prof. Dr. Hélène RUIZ-FABRI

Wednesay 3 Octobre 2018, 18u – aula D2.01 (Promotion Room)

The LLM in International and European Law at the Faculty of Law and Criminology of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel organizes its yearly opening lecture. This year, Prof. dr. Hélène Ruiz Fabri, Director of the Max Planck Institute for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law (Luxemburg) will address the audience on the topic "Universality in Practice (a lecture on international dispute settlement)".

The event will take place on Wednesday 3 October at 18:00.

No registration is required.

Further information here.

Tuesday 25 September 2018

BOOK: Maartje ABBENHUIS, The Hague Conferences and International Politics, 1898-1915 (London: Bloomsbury, 2018), 304 p. ISBN 9781350061354, USD 82,08

(image source: Bloomsbury)

Book abstract:
Beginning with the extraordinary rescript by Tsar Nicholas II in August 1898 calling the world's governments to a disarmament conference, this book charts the history of the two Hague peace conferences of 1899 and 1907 – and the third conference of 1915 that was never held – using diplomatic correspondence, newspaper reports, contemporary publications and the papers of internationalist organizations and peace activists. Focusing on the international media frenzy that developed around them, Maartje Abbenhuis provides a new angle on the conferences. Highlighting the conventions that they brought about, she demonstrates how The Hague set the tone for international politics in the years leading up to the First World War, permeating media reports and shaping the views and activities of key organizations such as the inter-parliamentary union, the international council of women and the Institut de droit international (Institute of International Law). Based on extensive archival research in the Netherlands, Great Britain, Switzerland and the United States alongside contemporary publications in a range of languages, this book considers the history of the Hague conferences in a new way, and presents a powerful case for the importance of The Hague conferences in shaping twentieth century international politics.
 Book reviews:
“This book rethinks the place of the Hague conferences in modern international history. The public enthusiasm for peace endowed the work of the conferences with meaning and power, with crucial political implications throughout an often violent twentieth century. In a work, leavened with wit and personality, Abbenhuis shows how the conferences brought about real political change.” – William Mulligan, Senior Lecturer in History, University College Dublin, Ireland “Here is a compelling account of the forging of the framework of today's global laws of war and peace. Abbenhuis writes transnational history with a light touch and a shrewd eye for a moment when the Hague became what it is today -- a synonym for the search for peace and justice. Essential reading for students of twentieth-century history.” – Jay Winter, Charles J. Stille Professor of History Emeritus, Yale University, USA “In this definitive and comprehensive study of The Hague Conferences of 1899 and 1907 and their legacies, Abbenhuis situates their accomplishments and limitations in the global “landscape of voices” that influenced them. Peace advocates, countless newspapers and books, politicians, women's organizations, and intellectuals helped normalize a discourse of “peace through law” that has had a lasting effect on the development of international law and the regulation of state-sponsored conflict around the world.” – Robert A. Nye, Professor Emeritus of History, Oregon State University, USA
More information with the publisher.

Monday 24 September 2018

JOB: Assistant Professor in Public International Law (Leiden: Grotius Centre for International Law) DEADLINE 15 OCT 2018

(image source: academictransfer)

Job description:
Key responsibilities
  • To develop and deliver core courses in the Bachelor and Regular LLM programmes in public international law;
  • To coordinate and lead teaching activities in cooperation with other lecturers; 
  • To conduct high-level research in public international law and sustain a strong publication record;
  • To develop and lead core activities of the Centre and to seek, obtain and manage research funding or other funding;
  • To assist in a collegial way in any other research or teaching-related work of the Centre;
  • To offer specialized seminars and grade assignments and exams, alone or in cooperation with other lecturers.
 Selection criteria
  • Excellent command of English; Non-Dutch speaking candidates should be prepared to acquire a good passive knowledge of the Dutch language;
  • PhD-degree and excellent track record in research in general public international law, as evidenced by publications in leading international journals;
  • Demonstrated teaching experience in public international law, supported by positive teaching evaluations;
  • A high sense of initiative, leadership qualities and proven ability to seek and obtain research funding;
  • Strong dedication and commitment to the goals and objectives of the Centre;
  • An ability and willingness to work collaboratively and collegially in a team.
Conditions of employment:
Terms and conditionsWe offer a one year term position, with the possibility of renewal based on need, funding and performance. Salary range from €3,545 to €4,852 gross per month on a full-time basis (pay scale 11), in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).
Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses(8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. More at;The principal place of work is Leiden and the intended starting date is as soon as possible.
UTQLeiden University requires teaching staff to obtain the University Teaching Qualification. If the successful applicant does not already possess this qualification or its equivalent, he/ she must be willing to obtain this Qualification within two years.
DiversityLeiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.
 Additional information:
InformationEnquiries can be made to Mrs. Nathalie Walstra, email, telephone 071-527 7578. Information about Law Grotius Centre can be found at and about Leiden University at 

Sunday 23 September 2018

BOOK: Jan WOUTERS et al., International Law: A European Perspective (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2018). ISBN 9781849464161, £39.99

(Source: Hart Publishing)

Coming November, Hart Publishing is publishing a new book on international law from a European perpective.


This textbook offers for the first time a comprehensive analysis of the classic doctrines and main areas of international law from a European perspective, meeting the needs of the many European law schools teaching public international law in English. Special attention is devoted to the practice of the European Union, the Council of Europe and European States – both civil law and common law countries – with regard to international law. In particular the book analyses the interplay between international law, EU law and national law in the case law of the Court of Justice of the EU, the European Court of Human Rights and national jurisdictions in Europe. It provides the reader with insights into how the international legal practice of the EU and its Member States impacts the development of international law, both in terms of doctrines such as treaty-making and customary law, the exercise of (extraterritorial) jurisdiction, state responsibility and the settlement of disputes, as well as particular sub-fields of international law, such as human rights law and international economic law. In addition the book covers other important areas such as the use of force and collective security, the law of armed conflict, and global and regional international organisations. It provides European perspectives on all these issues and will be of great value to students, scholars and practitioners.


Jan Wouters
Jan Wouters is Full Professor of International Law and International Organizations, Jean Monnet Chair and Director of the Institute for International Law and Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, KU Leuven.
Cedric Ryngaert
Cedric Ryngaert is Professor of Public International Law and Director of the Master Programme Public International Law, Utrecht University.
Tom Ruys
Tom Ruys is Assistant Professor in International Law at the Ghent Rolin-Jaequemyns International Law Institute (GRILI), Ghent University.
Geert De Baere
Geert De Baere is Judge at the General Court of the EU and Associate Professor of EU Law and International Law, KU Leuven.

More information here

(source: ESCLH Blog)

Saturday 22 September 2018

CONFERENCE: Der Vertrag von Saint Germain 1919 im Kontext der europäischen Nachkriegsordnung (27-29 September 2018, Vienna)

(Source: ÖAW)

We learned of a conference on the 1919 Treaty of Saint-Germain between the Allies of World War I on the one hand and by the Republic of German-Austria on the other.

ÖAW und Universität Wien laden ein, die rechtlichen Grundlagen der europäischen Nachkriegsordnung nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg sowie deren Konsequenzen für die politische, wirtschaftliche und kulturelle Entwicklung Europas aus einer globalen Perspektive zu diskutieren.
Der für die Republik Österreich so bedeutende Vertrag von Saint Germain aus dem Jahr 1919 ist im internationalen Kontext nach wie vor Gegenstand globaler Forschungsinitiativen.

Eine Konferenz unter österreichischer Federführung zum Thema „Der Vertrag von Saint Germain 1919 im Kontext der europäischen Nachkriegsordnung“ will diese Initiativen vernetzen. Das Institut für Neuzeit- und Zeitgeschichtsforschung der ÖAW, die Kommission für Rechtsgeschichte Österreichs der ÖAW sowie die Forschungsstelle für Rechtsquellenerschließung der Universität Wien laden ein, das Entstehen und Wirken des Vertrags im Kontext der Neuordnung der Welt nach 1918 gemeinsam zu analysieren. Neben den zentralen politischen Themen sollen auch bislang wenig beachtete wirtschaftliche und kulturelle Aspekte, die dieser Vertrag ebenso beeinflusst hat, zur Sprache kommen. Die wissenschaftliche Auseinandersetzung strebt eine Neubewertung von St. Germain an, welche  Ressentiments und nationalistische Vorurteile der Nachkriegszeit überwindet.

The programme can be found here

More information here

(source: ESCLH-blog)

Friday 21 September 2018

BOOK: Anton WEISS-WENDT (ed.), Documents on the Genocide Convention from the American, British, and Russian Archives (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018). ISBN 9781474279796, $315.00

Bloomsbury Academic is publishing a collection of archival documents relating to the 1948 Genocide Convention


This document collection highlights the legal challenges, historical preconceptions, and political undercurrents that had informed the UN Genocide Convention, its form, contents, interpretation, and application. Featuring 436 documents from thirteen repositories in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Russia, the collection is an essential resource for students and scholars working in the field of comparative genocide studies.

The selected records span the Cold War period and reflect on specific issues relevant to the Genocide Convention, as established at the time by the parties concerned. The types of documents reproduced in the collection include interoffice correspondence, memorandums, whitepapers, guidelines for national delegations, commissioned reports, draft letters, telegrams, meeting minutes, official and unofficial inquiries, formal statements, and newspaper and journal articles. On a classification curve, the featured records range from unrestricted to top secret. Taken in the aggregate, the documents reproduced in this collection suggest primacy of politics over humanitarian and/or legal considerations in the UN Genocide Convention.


Anton Weiss-Wendt is Research Professor at the Center for the Study of the Holocaust and Religious Minorities in Oslo, Norway. His recentpublications include Racial Science in Hitler's Europe, 1939-1945(2013)and The Nazi Genocide of the Roma: Reassessment and Commemoration (2013).


Volume I

List of Acronyms and Abbreviations
List of Archival Collections
I. Genocide: From a Concept to a United Nations Resolution, 1933–1946
II. The United Nations Secretariat Draft Genocide Convention, 1947
III. Ad Hoc Committee on Genocide, January–August 1948
IV. Debates on the Draft Genocide Convention in the UN General Assembly, September–December 1948
V. Lobbying in Behalf of the Genocide Convention, 1947–1948
United Nations Concention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide: The Three Drafts, 1947-48
Further Reading

Volume II

VI. The United Kingdom Government Split on the Issue of Accession to the Genocide Convention, 1949–1953
VII. The United States Delays Action on the Genocide Convention, 1949–1962
VIII. The Issue of Reservations to the Genocide Convention, 1949–1952
IX. Indicting Communist Countries for Genocide, 1949–1959
X. The Genocide Convention vs. Nuremberg Principles, Draft Covenants on Human Rights, and/or the Draft Code of Offenses against the Peace and Security of Mankind, 1949–1954
XI. The Korean War, 1950–1953
XII. We Charge Genocide: The Campaign to Indict the United States for Racial Discrimination, 1951–1952
XIII. The Lonely Voice of Raphael Lemkin, 1949–1959
XIV. The United Kingdom Inches Closer to Acceding to the Genocide Convention, 1962–1968
XV. The Public Campaign Pro and Counter US Ratification of the Genocide Convention, 1970–1977
XVI. The “Armenian Question,” 1964–1985
XVII. A Final Push for the UN Genocide Convention, 1983–1988
Further Reading

More information here

(source: ESCLH Blog)

Thursday 20 September 2018

ARTICLE: Georges-Henri SOUTOU, "La négociation du traité de Versailles : exactement ce qu’il ne faut pas faire", Politique Étrangère 2018/3,11-23

(image source: CAIRN)

Les négociations du traité de Versailles ne se sont pas passées comme prévu. Les Allemands se sont vu imposer un texte perçu comme un Diktat. La paix de Versailles ne fut pas seulement unilatérale, elle fut aussi contradictoire, dans le sens où les principes du wilsonisme se sont heurtés à des considérations géopolitiques plus traditionnelles. Le traité, nourri par les travaux d’experts, était complexe et difficile à maîtriser. Il ouvrait en outre la voie à une révision future.
English abstract:
Negotiating the Treaty of Versailles: A Lesson in Exactly What Not to Do The negotiation of the Treaty of Versailles did not go as planned. The Germans found themselves compelled to accept a text they perceived as a diktat. Not only was the peace of Versailles unilateral, it was also contradictory, insofar as the principles of Wilsonianism came up against more traditional geopolitical concerns. Fueled by the work of experts, the Treaty was complex and difficult to grasp, and also left the door open for a future revision.

More information on cairn.

Wednesday 19 September 2018

LECTURE SERIES : Institute for the History of International Law (Tilburg University)

(Source: Tilburg University)

Via International Law Reporter, we learned of the schedule for Tilburg’s Institute for the History of International Law lecture series for the academic year 2018-2019.

  • September 26, 2018: Ziv Bohrer (Bar-Ilan Univ.), Nuremberg Was Not the First International Criminal Tribunal — by a Longshot
  • November 21, 2018: Ilya Kotlyar (UvT), The International Legal Issues of the Dissolution of the Soviet Union
  • December 12, 2018: Randall Lesaffer (UvT), The Persian Gulf Conflict and the Reinvention of Collective Security: A Historical Perspective
  • January TBD, 2019: Emiliano Buis (Univ. of San Andrés, Buenos Aires) Feeling the Empire: Power, Emotions, and Interpolity Legal Rhetoric in the Classical Greek World
  • March 27, 2019: Yuko Nishitani (Kyoto Univ.), The Rise and Fall of Nations State in Private International Law
  • April 24, 2019: Ana Delic (UvT), Uniformity and Choice of Law in the Private International Law of Contracts
(Source: ILReporter; ESCLH Blog)

Tuesday 18 September 2018

CONFERENCE REPORT: Interest Group Pre-Conference Event "Consumers or Producers of International Law" at the ESIL Annual Conference on the "Universality of International Law" (Manchester, 12 SEP 2018)

(IG session presenters and conveners; credits M. Beham (Passau)/L. Castellanos (Asser))

The ESIL Interest Group History of International Law held its pre-conference event workshop on "Consumers or Producers of international law? Non-European experiences with the law of nations in comparative perspective" at the University of Manchester on 12 September 2018.

The first presenter, Lys Kulamayadil (PhD candidate, Graduate Institute) presented a paper using the notion of "Fairy-tale international law" to contextualise the debate on the Bandung Conference and New International Economic Order. Her presentation focused on the interplay between sovereignty and property, natural ressources and the 1973 oil crisis. In a response, Markus Beham (IG convener) questioned the role of oil elites highlighted in Kulamayadil's contribution. During the public debate, Leon Castellanos (Asser Institute) enquired whether the novel linking up of two strands (the New International Economic Order and Development studies) would have any further consequences. The presenter stated that the decolonisation of the economy counts as an indispensable precondition to studying the NIEO.

The second presenter, Aiko Nakai (Assistant Professor, Kyoto) expounded on "Latin American International Law as the First Regional International Law: The First Step of Irreversible Relativisation of European International Law". Using a well-illustrated powerpoint presentation, dr. Nakai emphasized the differences with European diplomatic practice and legal theory perceived by several international law authors from Latin America in the long 19th century. Frederik Dhondt (IG convener) replied to this paper, asking the presenter to link up her work with diplomatic practice and power issues. Liliana Obregon (University of the Andes) intervened in a lively exchange, moderated by Martin Clark (IG convener) on the label of Latin American tradition in international law: was "Latin American" international law just a label ?

The third presenter, Aleksandr Vodiannikov (OSCE) linked up Michel Foucault, decolonisation and the legal history of "Intermarium", or Eastern Europe between the Black Sea and the Baltic. In his analysis, the construction of identity against an "other" is a necessary methodological tool to debunk Soviet era-histories of the Russian Empire, Ukraine or the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth. Vodiannikov highlighted the role of in his eyes neglected princely testamentary charters. Jan Lemnitzer (IG convener) highlighted the novel and stimulating character of this approach, but wondered whether the distinction between core and periphery could be seen as static, especially in view of the relatively long period concerned by the presenter. Notions of Moscow as the "Third Rome" or the enduring dominance of Byzantium nuance the idea of a "periphery" in Eastern Europe, at least if one takes the self-image of the parties concerned into account.

The session ended with a presentation of the IG's intention to take part in the following ESIL events:
- Research Forum on the "Rule of Law" (Göttingen, April 2019)
- Annual Conference on "Sovereignty" (Athens, September 2019)

Members will be contacted in the future by the ESIL Secretariat, and not longer by the conveners directly, due to the recent evolution of European data legislation. This should not withhold members from proposing initiatives organised at their home institutions, or announcing calls/publications/job advertisements on the blog.

Any member of the IG Steering Committee can be contacted to this end.

The conference can be revived on twitter by browsing the hashtag #ESIL2018.

Monday 17 September 2018

JOURNAL: Relations Internationales 2018/2 (N° 147)

(image source: cairn)

Relations internationales (PUF) published its second issue of 2018.
  • Acteurs non étatiques et relations internationales au xixe siècle : le cas du Comité d’Ostende (1866-1870) (Christophe Chevalier)
  • « Le naufrage des idéaux » : conséquences de la Première Guerre mondiale sur les relations culturelles internationales de l’Équateur (Elodie Lenoël)
  • Intégrer le droit international aux relations interétatiques : les juristes belges à Versailles en 1919 (Vincent Genin)
  • Promouvoir l’ouverture commerciale et le progrès social : les normes de travail équitables dans la Charte de La Havane (1948) (Sylvain Zini)
  • Projets français et belge de grands barrages africains, 1954-1960. Nationalismes, Eurafrique ou panafricanisme ? (Jean-Bruno Mukanya Kaninda-Muana)
  • La France contre les droits de l’Homme ? La difficile ratification par la France de la Convention européenne des droits de l’Homme (1950-1974) (Pauline Bonino)
  • La « voie révolutionnaire » de Salvador Allende (1970-1973) et les limites de l’engagement soviétique en Amérique latine (Rafael Pedemonte)
  • À l’origine de la francophonie institutionnelle. La création de l’Association internationale des maires francophones (Laura Dumazert)
All papers are accessible through cairn.

Saturday 15 September 2018

LECTURE: IES Opening Lecture by Martti Koskenniemi (IES, Brussels, 27 September 2018)

(image source: IES/VUB)

The Institute of European Studies (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) has the following announcement:
The IES Inaugural Lecture on Thursday 27 September at 18:00 at the IES premises in Brussels marks the start of the academic year for our LLM and EuroMaster programmes. It is our great pleasure to host one of the most prominent international law scholars of our time: Martti Koskenniemi (picture), Professor of International Law at the University of Helsinki and Director of the Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights. So save the date for this special occasion! The lecture will take place at the Institute for European Studies-VUB. If you wish to participante please register using the following link. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us at
(source: IES)

Friday 14 September 2018

BOOK: Massimo PANEBIANCO, Introduzione alla codicistica del Jus Gentium Europaeum. Codice Lünig-Leibniz-Dumont [Jus Gentium Europaeum. Collana di studi comunitari; 18] (Napoli: Editoriale Scientifica, 2016), XII + 276 p. ISBN 978-88-6342-936-7, € 24

(image source: Editoriale Scientifica)

Book abstract:
L'Europa del '700 è una delle mille forme dell'Europa possibile: Europa dei codici, Europa codicistica, Europa della scrittura diplomatica. Si vedrà come il presente volume si ispira alle recenti tendenze dedicate allo studio geo-politico della "grande storia" del diritto internazionale, ai fini della descrizione degli spazi continentali di area vasta. Tale ricerca ha esaminato il periodo più alto della codificazione europea del diritto internazionale della prima metà del '700 e si è fondata su un moderno "codice triplo" risultante dalla combinazione di altrettanti classici della codificazione dello jus gentium europeo. Il cd. Codice "Lünig-Leibniz-Dumont" proviene dalla scuola austro-germanica del '700 europeo, contenente in tutto o in parte la storia internazionale dei singoli Stati europei nei rapporti fra di loro e con gli altri Stati del mondo dall'antico al moderno (Italia compresa). L'autore di questo libro si rivolge ai lettori, come al pubblico benevole di una sala concerti d'Europa del '700 e si augura che i tre codici diplomatici qui esaminati siano come un unico "concerto triplo". Anche tali codici sono "icone" della storia passata e servono a portare fino a noi la voce dei secoli, bene impressa nel loro testo.
More information here.
Rechtsgeschichte 28 (2018) contains a review by Elisabetta Fiocchi Malaspina (Zürich).

CONFERENCE: Le traité de Versailles : Regards franco-allemands en droit international à l'occasion du centenaire (Strasbourg), 28-29 September 2018

Via International Law Reporter, we learned of a conference on “The Versailles Treaty: French and German Perspectives in International Law on the Occasion of the Centenary”:

On September 28-29, 2018, the Centre des études internationales et européennes at the Université de Strasbourg will hold a conference on "Le traité de Versailles : Regards franco-allemands en droit international à l'occasion du centenaire / The Versailles Treaty: French and German Perspectives in International Law on the Occasion of the Centenary." The program is here. Preceding the conference, on September 26-27, there will be a Young Researchers Workshop on the subject of "Le principe d’autodétermination un siècle après le traité de Versailles : d’hier à aujourd’hui – et demain ? / Das Selbstbestimmungsprinzip ein Jahrhundert nach dem Versailler Vertrag: Von gestern bis heute - und morgen?" The program is here.

Thursday 13 September 2018

JOURNAL: Jus Gentium. Journal of International Legal History III (2018), No. 1

(image source: Lawbook Exchange)

Table of contents:
  • "Arbitration at Vienna: Recasting the History of International Dispute Resolution" by S. Harris
  • "The Rising Generation of International Lawyers at St. Petersburg University: Zaremba and Spasovich" by V. I. Ivanenko
  • "The Baltimore Incident and American Naval Expansion" by Mark W. Podvia    
  • "The 1917 Russian Revolution and International Law" by O. O. Merezhko  
  • "The Development of the Science of International Law at the Koretsky Institute of State and Law" by K. O. Savchuk and I. M.Protsenko
  • "Currency Control, Exchange Contracts, and War: Boissevain v. Weil" by J. Anderson
  • "Brown v. United States and Confiscation of Enemy Property" by IsaacSchaphorst

  • "Kronid Malyshev and the Renaissance of Private International Law" by V. I. Ivanenko
  • "On Teaching the History of International Law" by W. E. Butler
  • "The People as a Subject of International Law"by I. O. Kresina and O. V. Kresin

  • "Brief Calendar of International Practice for Spain and Portugal 1641 to 1818" by P. Macalister-Smith and J. Schwietzke

  •  Philippe Sands, Східно-західна вулция. Повернення до Львова 671 [East West Street: Return to Lviv] (2017) by T. R.Korotkyĭ and N. Pashkovskyĭ
Source: Legal History Blog.

Wednesday 12 September 2018

Howard ELCOCK, Could the Versailles System have Worked? (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), XI + 193 p. ISBN 978-3-319-94734-1, € 51,16

(image source: Palgrave)

Book abstract:
This book explores the significance of the post-First World War peace settlement negotiated at Versailles in 1919. Versailles has always been a controversial subject and it has long been contended that the Treaty imposed unnecessarily severe conditions upon the defeated nations, particularly Germany, and in large part can be held responsible for the outbreak of war in 1939. This book considers the critical question as to whether the Treaty of Versailles established a new international settlement that could produce a peaceful and prosperous Europe, something that many have alleged was impossible. In an exhaustive analysis of the events that followed the Paris Peace Conference, Howard Elcock argues that the Versailles Treaty created a more stable diplomatic framework than has commonly been recognised, and challenges the traditional understanding that the delegates at Versailles can be held responsible for the failure to secure long-term peace in Europe.
On the author:
 Howard Elcock enjoyed a long and distinguished academic career. He taught at the University of Hull between 1966 and 1981 and then Newcastle Polytechnic (now Northumbria University) where he became Professor Emeritus in 1997. Howard Elcock was the author of many books and articles on a wide range of subjects including the Versailles Treaty, local government, political leadership, political behaviour and ethics in public service.
(More information with the publisher)

Tuesday 11 September 2018

CONFERENCE: XVIII Giornata Gentiliana: Alberico Gentili e lo jus post bellum. Prospettive tra diritto e storia (San Ginesio: Aula consiliare del Comune, 21-22 SEP 2018)

The Centro Internazionale Studi Gentiliani (San Ginesio) organises the 18th editions of the Gentili Days. The conference theme is "Alberico Gentili and just post bellum. Legal and historical perspectives".

Speakers include Alain Wijffels, Luigi Lacchè, Luigi Nuzzo, Samuel Wordsworth, Guilio Bartolini and Marco Pertile.

The program can be found in the images above.

Source: Rechtshistorische Courant, September 2018 (Ghent Legal History Institute).

Monday 10 September 2018

BLOG: Tomoko AKAMI, Beyond the formula of the age of reason: experts, social sciences, and the phonic public in international politics (The Invention of Bureaucracy, Aarhus University)

(image source: Aarhus University)

First paragraph:
In recent years, the League of Nations has been examined as a ‘harbinger of global norms’ for the following UN system[1], rather than as a failed attempt at the world’s first collective security organization. Accordingly, scholars’ attention has shifted from diplomats, politicians and military officers to the experts who were in charge of the various norm-making projects of the League. One could even claim that the League was the first inter-governmental organization that began to consolidate the work of experts for the governing of the world. It mobilized experts, their ‘non-governmental’ expert organizations, and their networks across the globe.[2]

Read the full blogpost here.

Friday 7 September 2018

BOOK: Will SMILEY, From Slaves to Prisoners of War - The Ottoman Empire, Russia, and International Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018). ISBN 9780198785415, £65.00

(Source: OUP)

Oxford University Press has published a book on the concept of prisoners of war in the context of the 18th century Ottoman-Russian wars.


The Ottoman-Russian wars of the eighteenth century reshaped the map of Eurasia and the Middle East, but they also birthed a novel concept - the prisoner of war. For centuries, hundreds of thousands of captives, civilians and soldiers alike, crossed the legal and social boundaries of these empires, destined for either ransom or enslavement. But in the eighteenth century, the Ottoman state and its Russian rival, through conflict and diplomacy, worked out a new system of regional international law. Ransom was abolished; soldiers became prisoners of war; and some slaves gained new paths to release, while others were left entirely unprotected. These rules delineated sovereignty, redefined individuals' relationships to states, and prioritized political identity over economic value. In the process, the Ottomans marked out a parallel, non-Western path toward elements of modern international law. Yet this was not a story of European imposition or imitation-the Ottomans acted for their own reasons, maintaining their commitment to Islamic law. For a time even European empires played by these rules, until they were subsumed into the codified global law of war in the late nineteenth century. This story offers new perspectives on the histories of the Ottoman and Russian Empires, of slavery, and of international law.


Will Smiley, Assistant Professor of History & Humanities, Reed College
Will Smiley is a historian of the Middle East and of international and Islamic law, with a particular interest in the Ottoman Empire. He is Assistant Professor of History and Humanities at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. He received his PhD from the University of Cambridge and his JD from Yale Law School, and previously held fellowships in Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, and in Legal History at New York University.


1: Into Captivity
2: Slavery and Ransom
3: From the Law of Ransom to the Law of Release
4: Defining the Law of Release
5: Prisoners of War
6: Negotiating the Prisoner-of-War System
7: The Rules Expand
8: Those Left Out
9: Reform and Reciprocity
10: Humanitarianism and Legal Codification

More information with the publisher

(source: ESCLH Blog)

Thursday 6 September 2018

CONFERENCE: After Pufendorf: Natural Law and the Passions in Germany and Scotland (24-27 October 2018, St. Andrews)

(Source: Wiki)

Via, we learned of a conference on late natural law thinkers in Germany and Scotland.

By the middle of the eighteenth century, a number of authors who taught and wrote about natural law saw themselves as being engaged in a very different intellectual and academic activity than that of the natural lawyers of earlier generations. While staying within the mode of natural law, the deep-going revision that they understood themselves to be undertaking – each in their separate way – was to shift the idea of natural law as something that human nature needed somehow to have imposed upon it to the idea of natural law as in some sense inherent in human nature itself. Furthermore, they saw the relevant aspects of human nature to be the emotions or passions that drove people in their active lives. This development in natural law thinking has been referred to as an anthropological approach, as a turn from law to moral philosophy, as the formulation of a ‘Recht des Gefühls’, as a sentimental natural law, etc.

It was a line of argument that took several different forms and was articulated in quite different contexts, yet it is recognizable in thinkers as different as Johann Jacob Schmauss in Göttingen and Adam Smith in Glasgow. It was, however, a development that had started much earlier as part of the intense debates at the turn of the century about the nature and validity of Samuel Pufendorf’s natural law. Philosophers, legal theorists and theologians associated with the new university in Halle were the leading disputants, and a particularly important turning point in the debates about Pufendorf was Christian Thomasius’ abnegation during the early years of the new century of the deeply Pufendorfian ideas of natural law that he had been propagating with great impact previously.

Only a few years later, we see a reaction against Pufendorf in Scotland that has a number of strikingly similar features to that in Germany. Here the leading figure was Francis Hutcheson who had a broad influence on the intellectual culture that we now refer to as the Scottish Enlightenment and among whose students was Adam Smith. Across deep differences in philosophical, theological, legal and political contexts in Germany and Scotland the similarities in thoughts about natural law are striking, not only because of the idea of the passionate foundations for natural law, but also because these ideas in both cultural spheres led to some of the sharpest formulations of rights theories and to a historicisation of morality and law that pointed towards the dissolution of the natural law language. While acknowledging the many differences between the German and the Scottish thinkers, similarities such as these are so intriguing that they warrant joint consideration in a conference.

Programme organisers: Frank Grunert (Halle); Knud Haakonssen (St. Andrews/Erfurt)
Local organisers: James Harris and Richard Whatmore (St. Andrews)

For more information or to attend the conference, please contact Elsie Johnstone.

(Source: ESCLH Blog)

Wednesday 5 September 2018

CONFERENCE REPORT: Captivity in War: A Global Perspective (23-24 March 2018, Zürich)

(Source: ASHSM) has published a conference report on the “Captivity in War” conference that was held previously this year in Zürich (Tagungsbericht: Captivity in War: A Global Perspective, 23.03.2018 – 24.03.2018 Bern, in: H-Soz-Kult, 05.09.2018, <>.). 

First paragraph:
In their opening remarks, TAMARA BRAUN (Zurich) and MARCEL BERNI (Zurich) outlined some of the current approaches to the study of captives in war. They highlighted the importance of looking beyond western theatres of war to lesser-known wars and the difficulties of the term "Prisoners of War" (POW), as it is limited to a specific type of prisoner and frequently used in a legalistic manner. Therefore, they argued in favour of the broader term of "captives" as it includes non-military personnel as well as being better suited to acknowledge the variety of definitions over time and in different places.

Read further on HSozKult.

(Source: ESCLH Blog)

Monday 3 September 2018

Marcus M. PAYK, Frieden durch Recht? Der Aufstieg des modernen Völkerrechts und der Friedensschluss nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg [Studien zur Internationalen Geschichte, 42] (Berlin: De Gruyter Oldenbourg, 2018), VIII + 739 p. ISBN 978-3-11-058148-5, € 49,95

(image source: DeGruyter Oldenbourg)

Book abstract:
This study presents the Paris Peace Treaties of 1919-20 in a new light. Going beyond conventional narratives about the "dictated" peace of Versailles and the failures of the peacemakers, the book offers a fresh and comprehensive look at the five peace treaties with Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire. Marcus Payk exhibits the influence of late 19th century normative expectations and demonstrates how the entire peace settlement was deeply imbued by notions of international law, justice, and legality. The study examines the political power as well as intrinsic logic of legal arguments in foreign affairs, arguing for a more nuanced picture of a juridification of international politics.
More information with the publisher (including free access to the table of contents).