ESIL Interest Group History of International Law

ESIL Interest Group History of International Law

dinsdag 30 april 2019

CALL FOR PARTICIPANTS : Critical Approaches to International Law (Dublin, 1-4 August 2019) (DEADLINE: 15 MAY 2019)

(Source: Griffith College)

We learned of a symposium on critical approaches to international law in Dublin. Here the call for applicants:

With the increasing presence of international law in the global order, different theoretical engagements have emerged to explain the international legal system, its actors, processes, norms and values. The Symposium intends to bring academics, researchers, practitioners and students together at Griffith College in Dublin, Ireland for several days to focus on four main strands within international legal scholarship:

  • Colonial Legacies of International Law and Lasting Consequences of Imperialism 
  • Feminist Theories and Epistemologies from the Global South 
  • Ecologies of Law
  • Corporations in a Global Society
The strands will be broken into various panels, workshops, reading groups and roundtable discussions focusing on locating the international critically. The symposium program targets lawyers, activists, academics, policy makers, and students who are interested in analysing and situating debates about the nature of international law, its function and values through critical legal theory, third world approaches to international law and feminist legal theory. 

To Apply

Please send a CV, one recommendation letter and a cover letter outlining your interests in participating and relevant experience in the field to Dr. Thamil Ananthavinayagan by the 15th of May, 2019. Participants from institutions and organisations in the Global South are particularly encouraged to participate.

Successful applicants will be notified by 1st of June 2019. The seminar will be convened at Griffith College Dublin, Ireland from 1st to 4th of August 2019. The regular registration fee is €350. Other rates apply for Griffith College Dublin alumni and students. The registration fee includes all conference materials, lunch, refreshments, a social activity and a closing dinner.


We will be offering ten funded scholarships to participants from institutions and organisations in the Global South to cover a waiver of conference fees, flights and accommodation. Please indicate in your cover letter that you want to be considered for the scholarship.

Organised By:

  • Dr. Thamil Ananthavinayagan, Lecturer Griffith College Dublin, Ireland
  • Rohini Sen, Assistant Professor Jindal Global University, India
  • Jay Ramasubramanyam, PhD Candidate, Carleton University, Canada
  • Dr. Jimena Sierra, Lecturer, Universidad del Rosario Bogotá, Colombia
  • Farnush Ghadery, Visiting Lecturer and PhD Candidate, King’s College London, UK
  • Shaimaa Abdelkarim, PhD Candidate and Tutor, Leicester University, UK
  • Dr. Amritha Viswantah Shenoy, Assistant Professor, Kathmandu School of Law, Nepal
  • Helyeh Doutaghi, PhD Student, Carleton University, Canada
  • Kanad Bagchi, Research Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg, Germany
To Register

For registration to this seminar, please visit our payment system and use the following reference to pay your registration fee: Symposium on Critical Approaches to International Law – 3008760
  • Regular registration fee:                €350
  • Registration per day:                      €150
  • GCD students and alumni:            €250
Group bookings upon request.

Please note: rooms on the campus of Griffith College Dublin are available and can be booked separately.

Please follow us on Facebook or Twitter for updates. Should you have any queries regarding group bookings and room bookings etc., please e-mail Dr. Thamil Ananthavinayagan.  
We are pleased to recognise our program sponsors:

                Griffith College Dublin, Faculty of Law
                Irish Aid 

More information here

(source: ESCLH Blog)

maandag 29 april 2019

CHAPTER: Ignacio DE LA RASILLA DEL MORAL, "Grotian Revivals in the Theory and History of International Law", in: Randall LESAFFER & Janne NIJMAN (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Hugo Grotius (Cambridge: CUP, forthcoming)

(image source: Wikimedia Commons)

This chapter examines how the title of founder of the law of nations was bestowed upon Grotius and how the liberal internationalist interpretation of the existence of a Grotian tradition in international law came into being. It also reviews the extent to which both historical constructs have been challenged by new historical research and contemporary re-interpretations of Grotius’ works and figure. The chapter is divided into three parts. The first part accompanies the reception of Grotius by international lawyers from the time of the discovery of his De Jure Praedae in 1864 to the establishment of the Grotius Society in England during the First World War. The second part examines the revivals of Grotius among international lawyers in the aftermaths of both world wars and considers a number of Grotius-related historiographical developments during the Cold War period. The third part examines how, in recent decades, on the one hand Grotius has become more mainstreamed and further institutionalised as a global symbol of international law while on the other hand his reputation has suffered from him being labelled a handmaiden of European colonialism and exploitation. The concluding section reflects on the lasting fame of the ‘miracle of Holland’ among international lawyers and suggests that the history of international law as a research field should now take a break from Hugo Grotius.
Read the fulltext on SSRN.
(source: International Law Reporter)

vrijdag 26 april 2019

PODCAST: La Grande-Bretagne, l'Europe et les autres: Le choix du monde ? (France Culture/La Fabrique de l'Histoire, 27 MAR 2019)

France Culture's La Fabrique de l'Histoire made a broadcast on the British Empire, British internal politics and "Global Britain". With Pierre Singaravélou (Paris I), Guillemette Crouzet (Warwick) and Clarisse Berthezène.

En quelques siècles le Royaume-Uni s'est imposé comme une puissance coloniale, adoptant tour à tour le rôle de policier du monde faisant régner la Pax Britannica et la posture du "splendide isolement", en observateur détaché des guerres intestines européennes. Le Royaume-Uni ne s'est pourtant jamais construit sans l'Europe ou en dehors de l'Europe, loin s'en faut. Le Brexit n'est que la dernière occurrence d'une longue histoire de relations complexes et fluctuantes, une histoire elle-même sujette à de nombreuses polémiques et à autant de décentrages que l'Empire britannique compta de territoires.

More information with France Culture.

donderdag 25 april 2019

SCHOLARSHIPS: MPI Luxemburg for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law (DEADLINE 31 MAY 2019)

(image source: MPI Luxemburg)

Max Planck Luxembourg PhD Scholarships 2020

Among the goals pursued by the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law is to promote research and academic exchange with foreign scholars. In this framework, to assist particularly young scholars further advance their research activity, the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg offers a limited number of scholarships for foreign doctoral candidates to support their research stay at the Institute for up to six months in the calendar year 2020.


To be eligible for the scholarship, applicants must be doctoral candidates carrying out research activity within the Institute’s various areas of research, and intend to be affiliated either to the Department of European and Comparative Procedural Law or the Department of International Law and Dispute Resolution only. While proficiency in English is compulsory, the call is also open to doctoral candidates writing their thesis in a language other than English.


To apply, the interested candidates meeting the requirements of the call must submit the following documents, in English:
  • a cover letter (max. 1 page), stating the motivation for their application, the correlation between the topic of their research and the Institute's areas of research, and the desired time frame for the scholarship stay in the calendar year 2020;
  • an up-to-date curriculum vitae, with an indication of the class of degree awarded (undergraduate and postgraduate, if relevant);
  • a summary of the PhD project (max. 2 pages), including subject, description and work plan;
  • two letters of recommendation (including one from the PhD supervisor, with his/her contact details).

Grant and benefits

The scholarship is paid in monthly instalments of 1.500 €.
The selected applicants will be offered a workstation in the reading room. They will also have the opportunity to participate in the regular scientific events hosted at the Institute, other activities and access to the Institute’s library. During the funding period, the presence of the Scholarship Holder at the Institute is required.

Deadline for applications

31 May 2019
(more information on the Institute's website)

woensdag 24 april 2019

DATABASE: OUP International Law – Documents on the Rwandan Genocide

(Source: OPIL)

This year marks 25 years since the Rwandan Genocide. OUP has made materials on its history and impact available free to read and share for a 100 day period, starting from 7 April (day of the commemoration of the start of the genocide). The materials can be found here

(source: ESCLH Blog)

dinsdag 23 april 2019

BOOK: Leos MÜLLER, Neutrality in World History (London: Routledge, 2018), 200 p. ISBN 9781351683067

(image source: Routledge)

Book abstract:
Neutrality in World History provides a cogent synthesis of five hundred years of neutrality in global history. Author Leos Müller argues that neutrality and neutral states, such as Switzerland, Sweden, Belgium have played an important historical role in implementing the free trade paradigm, shaping the laws of nations and humanitarianism, and serving as key global centers of trade and finance. Offering an intriguing alternative to dominant world history narratives, which hinge primarily on the international relations and policies of empires and global powers, Neutrality in World History provides students with a distinctive introduction to neutrality’s place in world history.
More information with the publisher.

maandag 22 april 2019

CONFERENCE REPORT: ESIL IGHIL Pre-Conference Event, Research Forum (Göttingen: University of Göttingen, 3 APR 2019) (by Jan LEMNITZER, IGHIL President)

The ESIL Interest Group History of International Law held its pre-conference workshop on "The Rule of Law and International Law in Historical Perspective" at the University of Goettingen on 3 April 2019.

The presenters moved backwards in chronology, with Denise Wohlwend (University of Fribourg (CH)) exploring the recent past of the ‘rule of law’ concept within the United Nations. The concept was established as an UN priority at the World Summit in 2005 (that famously also birthed the concept of R2P), which led to the founding of the rule of law assistance unit in the Secretariat and a series of debates in the 6th Committee of the General Assembly. Predictably, the fact that there is no agreed definition of what ‘rule of law’ means led to a series of debates within the committee as to what precisely the concept entails. While some states saw it as one of the main principle of political morality, others favoured a more legalistic approach and insisted it was primarily about the foundations of a functioning legal order, such as states following court decisions, the separation of power or adherence to international law. The more detailed the debates got, the more disagreements appeared: should the rule of law be seen as a key tool to establishing stability in transitional justice processes, or does that denigrate the concepts since it should always be seen as a value in itself? Wohlwend ended by suggesting the framework of a ‘contested concept’ to further the debate while acknowledging the obvious disagreements. In a lively and well-informed exchange with the presenter, Hannah Birkenkötter (Humboldt University Berlin) pointed out that a lot of the real action on the rule of law was not in the GA debates, but the annual reports of the General Secretary, and that the secretariat had managed to hide a number of activities under the rule of law label that would otherwise have been controversial among member states. Both agreed that ‘rule of law’ seems to have replaced the earlier ubiquitous use of ‘democracy’, perhaps since it was deemed more appropriate to a post-Iraq War world.

The next presenter, Premislaw Tacik (Jagellionian University, Cracow), explored the ways in which the ‘rule of law’ concept has been employed in the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights. Given the traditional disputes with Russia, but especially the more recent conflicts with the governments in Poland and Hungary, this is a highly political question. Tacik argued that the Court avoided legal theory on the issue, but often invokes the preamble of the Convention as a ‘guiding principle of interpretation’. In practice, this can mean both the identification of the rule of law as basic equality before the law and the provision of legal protections, but also the endorsement of ‘thick’ interpretations of the concept that see the rule of law as the guarantor of democracy and human rights. In the discussion, session chair and IG convenor Jan Lemnitzer (University of Southern Denmark) noted that the court seemed to sometimes engage in the defence of lofty principles while at other times focused its decisions on seemingly small procedural details. Tacik agreed that we need a conceptual bridge between both levels, since in reality they can not be separated in the court’s struggle with those governments that are determined to disrespect the rule of law.

In the second panel, Ryan Mitchell (Chinese University of Hong Kong) explored the political thinking of Hans Kelsen and pointed out that scholars tend to focus too much on his early writings establishing a vision of the rule of law built around the pacta sunt servanda principle, while ignoring his later works. Here, Kelsen needed to deal with the tension that he supported the Nuremberg trials and the ideas behind them, but that his endorsement of a legal system that is capable of defining a new crime (aggression) and establishing individual guilt of those who had committed it before the binding definition meant a real crisis for his system of legal thought. After initially publishing rather poor arguments such as that those who committed particularly horrific crimes lose the right not to be prosecuted in dubious ways, Kelsen changed his thinking (partly influenced by his controversial positions during the Korean War) and now highlighted the fact that a norm without a sanction is not a norm in a meaningful sense.

Finally, Alan Nissel began by pointing out that the history of arbitration as it currently stands focuses on a small number of prominent cases involving the United States or Britain. He argued that the large number of cases in Latin America in the 19th and early 20th century are particularly revealing since they often involved disputes between Western investors or creditors and local interests. The pattern that emerges upon a closer look is a rule of law mask for capitalist interests that strongly favoured European or American investors while expecting the locals to be pleased that arbitration had begun to replace armed state intervention. These developments are not just of historical interest since the logic employed in these cases became highly influential in the formation of the modern doctrine of state responsibility, a cornerstone of contemporary international law. As Jan Lemnitzer pointed out in his panel summary, this type of research is particularly welcome since it add  to our empirical foundation for two separate developments in our field: a rethinking of the history of arbitration, and a lifting of the boundary between public international law and the history of private international law and investment disputes.

The next meeting of the IG History of International Law will take place just before the Annual conference in Athens in September and look at ‘New Histories of Sovereigns and Sovereignty’ – the call for papers is still open until 30 April!

vrijdag 19 april 2019

JOURNAL: Journal of International Economic Law XXII (2019), No. 1 [Debate Section: History of International Economic Law]

(image source: Oxford Journals)

Beyond History and Boundaries: Rethinking the Past in the Present of International Economic Law (Rafael Lima Sakr, SIEL/JIEL/OUP Essay Prize Winner)

History and boundaries are the foundations of international economic law (IEL) as a professional and intellectual field. History is often told to support a wide variety of present projects, norms, and ideas by appealing to the past. Boundary is a technique frequently used to map and defend an exclusive domain for applying the IEL expertise to a broad range of programmes, rules, and theories. This article first describes how history and boundaries interact to produce a ‘traditional’ view of IEL past and present place in the world economy. This interaction structures how lawyers assert the authority and legitimacy of IEL in global economic governance. It then argues that the commitments of the traditional approach to Anglocentrism and Modernism limit lawyers’ ability to understand and solve the present-day issues, since it produces lessons only in support of the dominant programmes, norms, and ideas under contestation. Consequently, it constrains, instead of empowers, lawyers’ imagination. Building on this critique, the article outlines an alternative approach devised to rethink the IEL field and, more importantly, which past or new projects, norms, and theories do or do not count (or should or should not count) as part of it. It concludes with reflections on how we might go about reimagining IEL in response to the contemporary challenges to global economic governance.

The Historical Lens in International Economic Law (Steve Charnovitz)
In recent years, scholars of international law have reemphasized historical research in new writings. The essay by Rafael Lima Sakr takes note of this scholarly trend in international economic law, and offers some cogent thoughts on the benefits and disadvantages that have eventuated from such use of historical material. Because the scholarship of Steve Charnovitz regarding the field of international economic law serves as a focal point in Sakr's essay, this short article provides me an opportunity to respond. This article explains why my scholarship has deployed a historical lens to analyze public policy challenges and to analyze the international institutions that have been established to help governments and private actors address those challenges. In addition, my article expresses my agreement with Sakr that scholars should be careful to avoid an unduly narrow perspective on what history is relevant for any particular project.
More information with Oxford Journals.

(source: ESCLH Blog)

donderdag 18 april 2019

CALL FOR PAPERS: Law and Boundaries [5th Annual TAU Workshop for Junior Scholars in Law] (Tel Aviv: Buchmann Faculty of Law/Zvi Meitar Center for Advanced Legal Studies, 17-19 NOV 2019); DEADLINE 1 SEP 2019

Call for Papers

The 5th Annual TAU Workshop for Junior Scholars in Law

Law and Boundaries

17-19 November 2019
Tel Aviv University, Buchmann Faculty of Law
Zvi Meitar Center for Advanced Legal Studies
Tel Aviv, Israel

Sponsored by

The Cegla Center for Interdisciplinary Research of the Law
David Berg Foundation Institute for Law and History
The Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics
The Institute for Law and Philanthropy (ILP)
TraffLab: Labor Perspective to Human Trafficking Research Project (ERC)
Minerva Center for Human Rights
S. Horowitz Institute for Intellectual Property
Taubenschlag Institute of Criminal Law
Zvi Meitar Center for Advanced Legal Studies

Academic Organizers
Noa Kwartaz-Avraham, Yifat Naftali Ben-Zion, Tsviya Shir
PhD Candidates, Zvi Meitar Center for Advanced Legal Studies, Buchmann Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University

The Tel Aviv University Buchmann Faculty of Law is pleased to invite submissions to its 5th annual workshop for junior scholars in law. The workshop provides junior scholars with the opportunity to present and discuss their work, receive meaningful feedback from faculty members and peers and aims to invigorate the scholars’ active participation in the community of international junior scholars in law.

The interface between law and boundaries is subject to ongoing debate amongst legal scholars. On one hand, the law may be perceived as setting a legal boundary in social life, for instance between normative and criminal behavior; On the other hand, the law may be perceived as an instrument used by different power groups in order to change, preserve or re-affirm the social order. The workshop seeks to offer a scholarly debate on law and boundaries, from various perspectives.
Relevant papers may discuss a variety of legal fields such as private law, criminal law, corporate & finance law, environmental law, international & human rights law, family law, IP, law & technology, etc., as well as theoretical and jurisprudential issues.
For example, papers could discuss:
·     Doctrinal boundaries - How law creates, preserves or undermines boundaries between traditional categories such as private and public, state and market, individual and society, etc.; how law restructures boundaries between such categories in response to accelerated technological progress or economic crisis (e.g., revisiting contemporary IP law, Antitrust law, etc.).
·     Theoretical boundaries - How specific rules or legal concepts provide an ethical border between right or wrong, and what is their impact on society? how boundaries, real or imagined, serve as gatekeepers of social order; how interdisciplinary research methodologies contribute to legal scholarship.
·     Physical boundaries - How law shapes the role of borders, who and what can cross them, under what terms, and at what cost (e.g., regulation of immigration, human trafficking); how does law respond to the powers and vulnerabilities created by traversing physical borders, what protections does it offer, if at all, and to whom; The interaction between the nation state and boundaries.
·     Social boundaries - How law regulates boundaries between different groups of individuals as well as between individual rights and group rights, and how permeable the boundaries are in a multicultural nation state (e.g., championing group rights in order to preserve the group as such, and the possible advantages and/or disadvantages this might have for the individual); how law is affected by historical development, for example in the construction of a new legal order or institution or in changing functions of current ones.
·     Economic boundaries - How economic insights might (or should) affect the law; the relations between law and economic distribution and redistribution; how the law is affected by blurring boundaries between philanthropy, state and market (e.g., through the impact investing practices or the re-setting of legal boundaries for philanthropy within a liberal and just democracy; corporate social responsibility).
We welcome junior scholars (doctoral candidates, postdoctoral researches and recent graduates of doctoral programs) from universities and research institutions throughout the world to submit abstracts engaging with the leading theme of the workshop.

Limited travel grants and accommodation will be available for participants with no institutional funding.

Submissions: Abstracts of up to 400 words of the proposed presentation, CV and your current institutional affiliation(s), should be submitted by email to by May 10th, 2019. Applicants requesting travel grants and/or accommodation should indicate so in their submission, along with the city they expect to depart from and an estimate of the funds requested.

Applicants will be informed of acceptance or rejection by June 2019. Selected scholars must submit their papers of up to 10,000 words in length by September 1st, 2019.

For further inquiries contact us at

(source: ESCLH Blog)

woensdag 17 april 2019

BOOK: Guillaume CALAFAT, Une mer jalousée. Contribution à l'histoire de la souveraineté (Méditerranée, XVIIe siècle) [L'univers historique] (Paris: Seuil, 2019), 456 p. ISBN 9782021379365, € 25

(image source: Seuil)

Book abstract:
Comment disait-on le droit sur les mers à l’époque moderne ? Par quels dispositifs les pouvoirs politiques dotés d’une façade maritime tentaient-ils de faire respecter un pouvoir de « juridiction », entendu comme un « droit de dire le droit », sur un espace liquide particulier ? Ces questions sur la liberté, la communauté et l’empire des mers ont donné lieu à une grande controverse juridique livrée à l’échelle du globe. Une mer jalousée propose d’en faire l’histoire à partir de l’observatoire méditerranéen. De la mer Adriatique aux mers du Levant, du golfe du Lion aux littoraux nord-africains, l’enquête décline à différentes échelles, depuis les bureaux des juristes jusqu’aux ponts des navires, un large éventail de conceptions concurrentes des limites maritimes et des eaux « territoriales ». Ce faisant, l’ouvrage revient, au carrefour de l’histoire, du droit et de la philosophie, sur des notions juridiques cardinales de la pensée politique moderne, telles que la « propriété », l’« occupation », la « possession » et la « souveraineté ». Guillaume Calafat les inscrit dans une généalogie de longue durée embrassant l’histoire antique et médiévale, les textes du droit romain et leurs commentaires médiévaux, les lois byzantines comme la normativité musulmane. Une mer jalousée s’appuie ainsi sur une centaine de textes imprimés à propos de la domination des mers, en les croisant avec des libelles manuscrits, des atlas, des cartes, des traités, des gravures, afin de brosser le portrait d’une mer au statut disputé et incertain.
On the author:
 Guillaume Calafat est maître de conférences à l’Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Institut d’histoire moderne et contemporaine). Ses recherches portent sur la Méditerranée de l’époque moderne, et notamment sur les échanges marchands et maritimes entre Europe occidentale et monde ottoman.
More information: Seuil.

(source: ESCLH Blog)

dinsdag 16 april 2019

CALL FOR PAPERS: Montesquieu hors d’Europe. Traductions et usages de L’Esprit des lois (Bordeaux: Université Bordeaux-Montaigne, Spring 2020); DEADLINE 1 JUL 2019

(image source:

Conference summary:
De l’Esprit des lois est un monument qui déroute à double titre ; tout d’abord par son ampleur (plus de mille pages pour quatorze ans de travail), ensuite par sa difficulté de lecture. L’œuvre maitresse de Montesquieu a suscité une grande diversité d’interprétations : salué comme le moment fondateur de la science politique, certains voient en lui l’expression du républicanisme moderne alors que d’autres préfèrent le ranger dans le crédo libéral. La multiplicité des thèmes abordés, dans un désordre apparent, ne manque pas de troubler : dans sa recherche des causes physiques et morales des institutions, Montesquieu propose tour à tour une théorie sur la loi, sur les types de gouvernements ; une réflexion sur la liberté politique ainsi qu’une théorie des climats et de « l'esprit général ». Cet ouvrage fut aussi celui par lequel Montesquieu donna matière au concept de despotisme qu’il inventa, rassemblant sous l’adjectif « oriental » associé à ce régime politique, entre autres, les empires Ottoman et Perse, la Chine et le Japon. Comment ce monument des Lumières a-t-il été lu hors d’Europe, notamment dans les pays que Montesquieu rangea dans la catégorie du despotisme ? Quels défis représentèrent la traduction de l’œuvre et la compréhension des thèmes abordés ? Quel en fut l’usage dans un contexte d’introduction de la philosophie politique européenne ? Ces questions qui s’imposent très tôt dans le Japon moderne (où L’Esprit des lois est traduit dès 1875), concernent certainement aussi une bonne partie des pays d’Asie ou d’ailleurs. Du moins tels sont les thèmes que nous invitons tous les spécialistes de langues non-européennes à discuter. La réflexion devra s’orienter vers l’analyse de la traduction de tout ou partie des thèmes constitutifs de l’ouvrage, avec le souci de s’inscrire dans la perspective du transfert culturel et de l’histoire intellectuelle.
Proposals can be sent to by 1 July 2019.

(source: ESCLH Blog)

maandag 15 april 2019

BOOK : Rena N. LAUER, Colonial justice and the Jews of Venetian Crete (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019). ISBN 9780812250886, £56.00

The University of Pennsylvania Press has published a new book on the usage of the legal system by the Jewish population of 13th century Venetian Crete.


When Venice conquered Crete in the early thirteenth century, a significant population of Jews lived in the capital and main port city of Candia. This community grew, diversified, and flourished both culturally and economically throughout the period of Venetian rule, and although it adhered to traditional Jewish ways of life, the community also readily engaged with the broader population and the island's Venetian colonial government.

In Colonial Justice and the Jews of Venetian Crete, Rena N. Lauer tells the story of this unusual and little-known community through the lens of its flexible use of the legal systems at its disposal. Grounding the book in richly detailed studies of individuals and judicial cases—concerning matters as prosaic as taxation and as dramatic as bigamy and murder—Lauer brings the Jews of Candia vibrantly to life. Despite general rabbinic disapproval of such behavior elsewhere in medieval Europe, Crete's Jews regularly turned not only to their own religious courts but also to the secular Venetian judicial system. There they aired disputes between family members, business partners, spouses, and even the leaders of their community. And with their use of secular justice as both symptom and cause, Lauer contends, Crete's Jews grew more open and flexible, confident in their identity and experiencing little of the anti-Judaism increasingly suffered by their coreligionists in Western Europe.


Rena N. Lauer teaches history and religious studies at Oregon State University.

More information here

(source: ESCLH Blog)

vrijdag 12 april 2019

BOOK: Ignacio DE LA RASILLA Y DEL MORAL & Jorge VIÑUALES (eds.), Experiments in International Adjudication. Historical Accounts (Cambridge: CUP, 2019), XII + 328 p. ISBN 9781108565967, GBP 110

(image source: CUP)

Book abstract:
The history of international adjudication is all too often presented as a triumphalist narrative of normative and institutional progress that casts aside its uncomfortable memories, its darker legacies and its historical failures. In this narrative, the bulk of 'trials' and 'errors' is left in the dark, confined to oblivion or left for erudition to recall as a curiosity. Written by an interdisciplinary group of lawyers, historians and social scientists, this volume relies on the rich and largely unexplored archive of institutional and legal experimentation since the late nineteenth century to shed new light on the history of international adjudication. It combines contextual accounts of failed, or aborted, as well as of 'successful' experiments to clarify our understanding of the past and present of international adjudication.
 Jorge E. Viñuales, Ignacio de la Rasilla, Inge Van Hulle, Jan Lemnitzer, Gerard Conway, Frédéric Mégret, Jean d'Aspremont, Cesare P. R. Romano, Andrei Mamolea, Freya Baetens, Donal Coffey, Angelo Junior Golia, Ludovic Hennebel, Morten Rasmussen.
More information with CUP.

This book is the result of the ESIL IGHIL Pre-Conference Workshop at the ESIL Conference in Oslo in September 2014 (cf. program earlier on this blog).

woensdag 10 april 2019

LECTURE VIDEO: Grotius Lecture 2019 (American Society of International Law) by Prof. Martti KOSKENNIEMI: Enchanted by the Tools? International Law and Enlightenment

The Grotius Lecture 2019, delivered by Prof. Martti Koskenniemi at the 113th Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law on Enchanted by the Tools ? International Law and Enlightenment, has appeared on Youtube. Click on the embedded video above.

See also the 2017 Grotius Lecture by Prof. David Armitage on Civil War Time:

dinsdag 9 april 2019

BOOK: David MCILROY, The End of Law : How Law’s Claims Relate to Law’s Aims. (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2019). ISBN 978 1 78811 399 1, £63.00

Edward Elgar is publishing a new book that deals with natural law theory and the significance of St. Augustine.


Augustine posed two questions that go to the heart of the nature of law. Firstly, what is the difference between a kingdom and a band of robbers? Secondly, is an unjust law a law at all? These two questions force us to consider whether law is simply a means of social control, distinguished from a band of robbers only by its size, or whether law is a social institution justified by its orientation towards justice.

The End of Law applies Augustine’s questions to modern legal philosophy as well as offering a critical theory of natural law that draws on Augustine’s ideas. McIlroy argues that such a critical natural law theory is realistic but not cynical about law’s relationship to justice and to violence, can diagnose ways in which law becomes deformed and pathological, and indicates that law is a necessary but insufficient instrument for the pursuit of justice. Positioning an examination of Augustine’s reflections on law in the context of his broader thought, McIlroy presents an alternative approach to natural law theory, drawing from critical theory, postmodern thought, and political theologies in conversation with Augustine.

This insightful book will be fascinating reading for law students and legal philosophers seeking to understand the perspective and commitments of natural law theory and the significance of Augustine. Readers with an interest in interdisciplinary approaches to legal theory will also find this book a stimulating read.


David McIlroy, Barrister and Visiting Professor, CCLS, Queen Mary University of London, UK


Contents: 1. What is the difference between a kingdom and a band of robbers? 2. What on earth are we talking about? 3. An end to war 4. The rule of law and the law of rules 5. The stable door 6. The good ending 7. Critical natural law 8. Justice: the terrible truth? 9. The agony of the law 10. The final judgment

More information here

(source: ESCLH Blog)

maandag 8 april 2019

CALL FOR PAPERS: ESIL Interest Group History of International Law event at the ESIL Annual Conference ‘New Histories of Sovereigns and Sovereignties’ (Athens, 12 SEP 2019) (DEADLINE 30 APR 2019)

ESIL Annual conference in Athens 2019
Call for papers
for the
ESIL Interest Group History of International Law event on 12 September 2019
‘New Histories of Sovereigns and Sovereignties’

(image source: Wikimedia Commons)

Sovereigns and sovereignty have long been key aspects for histories of international law. Doctrinal definitions of sovereignty have been instrumentalized in political struggles throughout history. In the era of revolutions, instrumental uses of leading law textbooks like Vattel’s even led to constitutional overthrows. Therefore, changing ideas of sovereignty, the emergence and disappearance of particular sovereign states, and the sovereignty of international organisations inspired much debate among lawyers, and between lawyers and politicians in the last centuries. More recently, many of the major works in the contemporary revival of international legal history took sovereigns, their empires, their equality or inequality or even their property as starting points for new critical histories of the discipline and the role of international law in the expansion of the European state model or the rise of imperialism.

For our Interest Group meeting at the ESIL Annual Conference in Athens we are soliciting paper presentations that continue this path and promise novel ways of thinking about sovereigns and sovereignty. Potential topics may include (but are not limited to):
·         Potential paths for the field to explore now that the critical works have become the new mainstream literature. For example, what might a revisionist history of sovereignty look like?
·         The hybrid nature of legal argumentation in specific political and constitutional struggles and their transnational reverberations.
·         Papers exploring to what extent the centrality of sovereignty in the history of international law is warranted.
·         Examples of resistance to interpretations of sovereignty, or the concept itself.
·         Forgotten sovereigns and interpretations of sovereignty.

Papers using underexploited primary sources or involving archival work will receive our special attention. We particularly welcome proposals from and about women, and encourage early career scholars or those without current university affiliations to apply. We consider submissions written in French and English.

Abstracts of up to 500 words must be submitted no later than 30 April 2019 to on behalf of the Steering Committee of the Interest Group, which shall collectively supervise the blind peer-review process. The Interest Group is unable to provide funding for travel and accommodation. Please see the ESIL website for information about travel grants and carers’ grants offered to ESIL members (deadline: 5 June), and other relevant information about the conference.
Selected speakers are strongly encouraged to become members of the Society and to register for the Annual Conference; please note, however, that the Society is unable to offer reduced conference registration fees to speakers at pre-conference events (please do not register as agora speakers).

Selected speakers can indicate their interest in being considered for the ESIL Young Scholar Prize, if they meet the eligibility conditions as stated on the ESIL website. The ESIL Secretariat must be informed of all speakers who wish to be considered for the Prize by 15 May at the very latest.

vrijdag 5 april 2019

BOOK: Michel ELPERDING, Burkhard HESS & Hélène RUIZ FABRI (eds.), Peace Through: Law The Versailles Peace Treaty and Dispute Settlement After World War I [Studies of the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law, Bd. 16] (Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlag, 2019), ISBN 978384529916, OPEN ACCESS

Book abstract:
Den Vertrag von Versailles als ein Beispiel von „Frieden durch Recht“ darzustellen, mag rückblickend als Provokation erscheinen. Und doch bestechen der Versailler und die anderen Pariser Friedensverträge von 1919–1920 noch heute durch die schiere Vielfalt und Neuartigkeit der durch sie auf den Plan gerufenen völkerrechtlichen „Experimente“ sowohl substantieller als auch verfahrensrechtlicher Natur. Obwohl viele dieser „Experimente“ auch das Völkerrecht und die internationale Streitbeilegung in der Zeit nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg grundlegend beeinflusst haben, sind sie heute kaum noch ein Teil des kollektiven Gedächtnisses. Die in diesem Buch vereinigten juristischen und historischen Forschungsarbeiten geben einen Gesamtüberblick über die Art und Weise wie die Pariser Friedensverträge die internationale Streitbeilegung in der Zwischenkriegszeit sowohl substantiell als auch verfahrensrechtlich geprägt haben. Die in diesem Buch enthaltenen Darstellungen teilweise in Vergessenheit geratener internationaler Gerichte und ihren Entscheidungen werden durch Archiv- und Bildmaterial zusätzlich untermauert.
See also conference videos earlier on this blog.

Read the full book on the Nomos website.

donderdag 4 april 2019

BOOK: Mark SOMOS, American States of Nature : The Origins of Independence, 1761-1775 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019). ISBN 9780190462857, $49.95

(Source: OUP)

Oxford University Press has just published a book on the “state of nature” discourse on the eve of the American Revolution.


American States of Nature transforms our understanding of the American Revolution and the early makings of the Constitution. The journey to an independent United States generated important arguments about the existing condition of Americans, in which rival interpretations of the term "state of nature" played a crucial role. "State of nature" typically implied a pre-political condition and was often invoked in support of individual rights to property and self-defense and the right to exit or to form a political state. It could connote either a paradise, a baseline condition of virtue and health, or a hell on earth. This mutable phrase was well-known in Europe and its empires. In the British colonies, "state of nature" appeared thousands of times in juridical, theological, medical, political, economic, and other texts from 1630 to 1810. But by the 1760s, a distinctively American state-of-nature discourse started to emerge. It combined existing meanings and sidelined others in moments of intense contestation, such as the Stamp Act crisis of 1765-66 and the First Continental Congress of 1774. In laws, resolutions, petitions, sermons, broadsides, pamphlets, letters, and diaries, the American states of nature came to justify independence at least as much as colonial formulations of liberty, property, and individual rights did. In this groundbreaking book, Mark Somos focuses on the formative decade and a half just before the American Revolution. Somos' investigation begins with a 1761 speech by James Otis that John Adams described as "a dissertation on the state of nature," and celebrated as the real start of the Revolution. Drawing on an enormous range of both public and personal writings, many rarely or never before discussed, the book follows the development of America's state-of-nature discourse to 1775. The founding generation transformed this flexible concept into a powerful theme that shapes their legacy to this day. No constitutional history of the Revolution can be written without it.


Mark Somos is Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellow and Senior Research Affiliate at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, and co-editor-in-chief of Grotiana. He is the author of Secularisation and the Leiden Circle, co-editor (with László Kontler) of Trust and Happiness in the History of European Political Thought, and co-author (with Dániel Margócsy and Stephen Joffe) of The Fabrica of Andreas Vesalius: A Worldwide Descriptive Census, Ownership, and Annotations of the 1543 and 1555 Editions.


1. Introduction
1.1. The background and varieties of state of nature theorizing
1.2. The distinctive American state of nature discourse
1.3. Method, scope, and outline
2. The state of nature: sources and traditions
2.1. The uncivilized state of nature
2.2. Advertising America
2.3. Nathaniel Ames' Almanac (1763)
2.4. The state of nature in pre-revolutionary colonial education

3. Rights and constitutions: from Paxton's case to the Stamp Act
3.1. John Adams, James Otis and Paxton's Case (1761)
3.2. Abraham Williams, Election Sermon (1762)
3.3. Otis, Rights and Considerations (1764-65)
3.4. Thomas Pownall
4. The Stamp Act and the state of nature
4.1. Warren's Case (1765-67)
4.2. Enter Blackstone
4.3. Boston against the Stamp Act
4.4. The road to repeal
4.5. Richard Bland, Inquiry (1766)
5. Creating, contesting and consolidating an American state of nature
5.1. The constitutive state of nature
5.2. English Liberties (1680-1774) and British Liberties (1766-67)
5.3. Ancient constitutionalism
5.4. The freedoms of conscience, speech, religion, and the press
5.5. Loyalist vs patriot states of nature (1769-72)
6. The turn to self-defense
6.1. Colonial independence
6.2. The Boston Pamphlet
6.3. Christian resistance
6.4. The Boston Tea Party and the political economy of the state of nature
6.5. Rival epistemologies
7. The First Continental Congress: the consolidation of an American constitutional trope
7.1. Galloway's Plan and the state of nature
7.2. Loyalist vs Patriot states of nature (1773-76)
8. On slavery and race
8.1. Chattel slavery
8.2. Native Americans
9. Conclusion

Appendix I.
Appendix II.

More information here

(source: ESCLH Blog)

woensdag 3 april 2019

BOOK: Petra GOEDDE, The Politics of Peace. A Global Cold War History (Oxford: OUP, 2019), 312 p. ISBN 9780195370836, 22,99 GBP

(image source: OUP)

During a television broadcast in 1959, US President Dwight D. Eisenhower remarked that "people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days our governments had better get out of the way and let them have it." At that very moment international peace organizations were bypassing national governments to create alternative institutions for the promotion of world peace and mounting the first serious challenge to the state-centered conduct of international relations. This study explores the emerging politics of peace, both as an ideal and as a pragmatic aspect of international relations, during the early cold war. It traces the myriad ways in which a broad spectrum of people involved in and affected by the cold war used, altered, and fought over a seemingly universal concept. These dynamic interactions involved three sets of global actors: cold war states, peace advocacy groups, and anti-colonial liberationists. These transnational networks challenged and eventually undermined the cold war order. They did so not just with reference to the United States, the Soviet Union, and Western Europe, but also by addressing the violence of national liberation movements in the Third World. As Petra Goedde shows in this work, deterritorializing the cold war reveals the fractures that emerged within each cold war camp, as activists both challenged their own governments over the right path toward global peace and challenged each other over the best strategy to achieve it. The Politics of Peace demonstrates that the scientists, journalists, publishers, feminists, and religious leaders who drove the international discourse on peace after World War II laid the groundwork for the eventual political transformation of the Cold War.
On the author:
Petra Goedde is Associate Professor of History at Temple University. She is the author of GIs and Germans: Culture, Gender, and Foreign Relations, 1945-1949 and the co-editor of The Human Rights Revolution: An International History (OUP, 2012), and The Oxford Handbook of the Cold War (OUP, 2013)

More information with OUP.