(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)