ESIL Interest Group History of International Law

ESIL Interest Group History of International Law

vrijdag 21 december 2018

JOURNAL: Journal of the History of International Law/Revue d'histoire du droit international XX (2018), No. 3 (Dec)

(image source: Brill)

Possibilities of the Past: Histories of the NIEO and the Travails of Critique (Ingo Venzke)
The resurfacing interest in the New International Economic Order (NIEO) is mainly driven by the ambition of regaining a sense for past possibilities in order to question the present and to open up different futures. This ambition resonates with the core of critical thinking which pushes toward an appreciation of contingencies. What was possible? When approaching this question, however, historical inquiries must not overstate the possibilities of different action at the expense of determining structures. More specifically, they need to deal with the low degree of institutionalized politics on the international plane. And they need to counter a tendency toward excess nostalgia for that which was not. More than anything else, the history of the NIEO testifies to the great difficulties in turning claims about contingency into compelling narratives. Another way of approaching the NIEO, however, does not place actual possibilities at its centre, but unrealized potentials.
Historical Titles v. Effective Occupation: Spanish Jurists on the Caroline Islands Affair (1885) (Marta Lorente)
This article analyses the arguments posed by Spanish jurists regarding the character and value in international nineteenth-century order of the titles to territories that the Spanish State inherited from the Catholic Monarchs. Focused on defending colonial interests in the Pacific, Spanish jurists insisted upon reproducing the legitimising arguments of the Conquest throughout the nineteenth century, until the German occupation of the Caroline Islands, expressly supported by the agreements reached at the Berlin Conference, forced them to rethink the foundations of their argument. The conflict surrounding the Caroline Islands was the first example of confrontation between articles 33 and 34 of the Act of Berlin and historical titles.
On the Use and Abuse of Francisco de Vitoria: James Brown Scott and Carl Schmitt (Joshua Schmeltzer)
This article traces the use and abuse of Francisco de Vitoria in the work of James Brown Scott and Carl Schmitt. With reference to his notebook entries from the period, it argues that Schmitt’s interpretation of Francisco de Vitoria and the Respublica Christiana in Der Nomos der Erde was a polemical response to the work of James Brown Scott, meant to weaponise the legacy of Vitoria and thereby undercut the basis for liberal internationalist theories of just war and the formal equality of states. In doing so, the present study provides a historicist account of Schmitt’s own attempt to construct a history of the law of nations in the aftermath of World War II.
Professor James Leslie Brierly and His First Chinese Pupil Li Shengwu at Oxford University Faculty of Law (1927–1930) (Chen Li)
This article focuses on James Brierly’s acceptance and supervision of Li Shengwu—the first Chinese student to conduct research into international law at Oxford. In Section 2, it traces Li Shengwu’s admission by Oxford. Section 3 outlines Li’s draft thesis and explains possible reasons for his failure to graduate.

Book reviews:
The Law of the Whale Hunt. Dispute Resolution, Property Law, and American Whales, 1780–1880, written by Robert Deal (Malgosia Fitzmaurice)

Rage for Order. The British Empire and the Origins of International Law, 1800–1850, written by Lauren Benton and Lisa Ford (Parvathi Menon)

(More information here)