ESIL Interest Group History of International Law

ESIL Interest Group History of International Law

dinsdag 25 februari 2020

REMINDER: CONFERENCE: Entangled international and national legal orders in the long 19th century (Zürich: University of Zürich, 2-3 MAR 2020)

Entangled international and national legal orders

in the long 19th century 2-3 March 2020, University of Zurich

Monday, 2nd March 2020, room RAA-G-01, University of Zurich

14,15-14,30: Introductory remarks, Raphael Cahen (Vrije Universiteit Brussel), Frederik Dhondt (Vrije Universiteit Brussel/Antwerp University), Elisabetta Fiocchi Malaspina (University of Zurich)

14,30-15,15: Keynote by Andreas Thier (University of Zurich)

15,15-16,00: Frederik Dhondt, Legal arguments in the debate on recognition of Italian independence in Belgian parliament (November 1861) 

16,00-16,45: Pietro Costa (University of Florence), Nation-building and State-building in the ‘long’ Nineteenth Century: Identity Myths and Domination Strategies

16,45-17,15: Coffee Break

17,15-18,00: Raphael Cahen, Constitutional and international entanglements in nineteenth century: the case of the Litigation committee of the French foreign minister and his actors

18,00-18,45: Markus J. Prutsch (European Parliament/Heidelberg University), The “Vienna System” and the German Confederation: Stability, Sovereignty and Constitutionalism

Tuesday, 3rd March 2020room RAA-G-01, University of Zurich

9,00-9,45: Inge Van Hulle (Tilburg University), Plural normative orders and the negotiation of land rights in West Africa (1880-1920)

9,45-10,30: Lisa Ford (University of New South Wales), Sovereignty, Settlement and International Law: the case of Honduras

10,30-11,00: Coffee Break

11,30-11,45: Elisabetta Fiocchi Malaspina, Colonial and International Entanglements in Nineteenth-Century Legal Discourses on Land Law and Land Registration

11,45-12,15: Concluding remarks

Room RAA-G-01, University of Zurich, Rämistrasse 59

(more information:

(see earlier on this blog)

vrijdag 21 februari 2020

ARTICLE: Janne NIJMAN, "An Enlarged Sense of Possibility for International Law: Seeking Change by Doing History" (forthcoming in: Ingo VENZKE (ed.), Situating Contingency in International Law)

(image source: KULeuven)

This chapter explores the so-called ‘Turn to History’ in international legal scholarship. Interest in the intellectual history or ‘history of ideas’ of international law has surged around the last turn of the century. Nijman contextualises this development and stages three possible approaches of why and how to study ideas and theories of the past. A central proposition is that the field of ‘History and Theory of international Law’ ultimately aims to establish a dialogue between international legal thought then and now. In this way (and by employment of e.g. the Cambridge School method) a critical distance emerges with respect to our own international legal thinking and its underlying political and moral ideas. The meaning of international law ideas changes through time and use – in the study thereof lies the critical potential and value for our own thinking. As such, ‘doing history’ comes with what Quentin Skinner calls ‘an enlarged sense of possibility’.
The chapter argues for a ‘doing history’ that liberates us from the hegemonic constraints that past thought and beliefs may place on our imagination. It builds on Roberto Mangabiera Unger’s image of ‘frozen politics’ and ‘false necessity’ to argue that change of our institutions is possible. In short, the chapter argues that doing history produces awareness of the contingency of received beliefs, values and institutions, and as such produces a sense of possibility – and arguably – responsibility. It suggests/recognises a capacity to reimagine and act. It is transformative and empowers to establish (institutional) change and get our (global) act together. An empowerment we desperately need. The chapter ends by alluding at the change sought: Unger and Ricoeur are brought together in a brief argument for the reinmagination of just institutions.
Read more on SSRN.
(source: International Law Reporter)

donderdag 20 februari 2020


(image source: AHFD)

Our colleagues of the AHFD published an obituary of Henri Legohérel, legal historian. He is the author of a general summary on the history of international law (Histoire du droit international public, PUF, 1996) in the well-known Que-sais-je ? series of the Presses universitaires de France. For an overview of the rich publication list (notably on the history of public law, maritime history and the history of economics), we refer to the obituary.

(source: AHFD)

woensdag 19 februari 2020

ARTICLE: Guida JIA, New China and International Law: Practice and Contribution in 70 Years (Chinese Journal of International Law XVIII (2019), No. 4 (Dec))

(image source: blogger)

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Several days ago, Chinese people all across the nation celebrated the anniversary. Over the past 70 years, under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China, the Chinese people, with great courage and relentless exploration, have made remarkable achievements. China has not only successfully lifted more than seven hundred million people out of poverty, but also made great contributions to world economic growth.
(source: OUP)

(source: ILReports)

dinsdag 18 februari 2020

CALL FOR PAPERS: “Divided Together?” International Organizations and the Cold War” (Vienna, 3-4 June 2020) (DEADLINE: 15 May 2020)

(Source: H/Soz/Kult)

Via H-Soz-Kult, we learned of a call for papers on international organizations and the Cold War.

Since the beginning of the 21st century, both Cold War studies and histories of internationalism have seen a tremendous renewal. It is now widely acknowledged that the Cold War cannot be reduced to a mere confrontation between the two superpowers and the ideologies that they have promoted. Small and mid-sized European powers, and neutral as well as recently decolonized countries pursued specific goals that escaped Cold War oppositions. Various actors worldwide promoted exchanges between the two blocs and offered challenging and rich alternatives to the ideological dichotomy between state socialism and liberal capitalism. Internationalism, moreover, reached its peak as both an ideological value and a political practice in the decades that followed the Second World War.

The full call can be found here

(source: ESCLH Blog)

vrijdag 14 februari 2020

BOOK: Vincenzo FERRONE, The Enlightenment and the Rights of Man (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020), ISBN 9781789620368, $99.99.

(Source: OUP)

Oxford University Press is publishing a new book on the enlightenment and the rights of man.


The Enlightenment redefined the ethics of the rights of man as part of an outlook that was based on reason, the equality of all nations and races, and man's self-determination. This led to the rise of a new language: the political language of the moderns, which spread throughout the world its message of the universality and inalienability of the rights of man, transforming previous references to subjective rights in the state of nature into an actual programme for the emancipation of man.

Ranging from the Italy of Filangieri and Beccaria to the France of Voltaire, Rousseau and Diderot, from the Scotland of Hume, Ferguson and Smith to the Germany of Lessing, Goethe and Schiller, and as far as the America of Franklin and Jefferson, Vincenzo Ferrone deals with a crucial theme of modern historiography: one that addresses the great contemporary debate on the problematic relationship between human rights and the economy, politics and justice, the rights of the individual and the rights of the community, state and religious despotism and freedom of conscience.


Vincenzo Ferrone has written extensively on the Enlightenment and Ancien régime Europe. He has taught and held fellowships at the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study, Ca' Foscari University in Venice, and the Collège de France in Paris. He is currently Professor of Modern History at the University of Turin.

More info here

(source: ESCLH Blog)

donderdag 13 februari 2020

BOOK: Ron HARRIS, Going the Distance: Eurasian Trade and the Rise of the Business Corporation, 1400-1700 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2020). ISBN 9780691150772, £34.00

Princeton University Press is publishing a new book on Eurasian trade and the rise of the business corporation (1400-1700).


Before the seventeenth century, trade across Eurasia was mostly conducted in short segments along the Silk Route and Indian Ocean. Business was organized in family firms, merchant networks, and state-owned enterprises, and dominated by Chinese, Indian, and Arabic traders. However, around 1600 the first two joint-stock corporations, the English and Dutch East India Companies, were established. Going the Distance tells the story of overland and maritime trade without Europeans, of European Cape Route trade without corporations, and of how new, large-scale, and impersonal organizations arose in Europe to control long-distance trade for more than three centuries.

Ron Harris shows that by 1700, the scene and methods for global trade had dramatically changed: Dutch and English merchants shepherded goods directly from China and India to northwestern Europe. To understand this transformation, Harris compares the organizational forms used in four major regions: China, India, the Middle East, and Western Europe. The English and Dutch were the last to leap into Eurasian trade, and they innovated in order to compete. They raised capital from passive investors through impersonal stock markets and their joint-stock corporations deployed more capital, ships, and agents to deliver goods from their origins to consumers.

Going the Distance explores the history behind a cornerstone of the modern economy, and how this organizational revolution contributed to the formation of global trade and the creation of the business corporation as a key factor in Europe’s economic rise.


Ron Harris is professor of legal history and former dean of law at Tel Aviv University. He is the author of Industrializing English Law.

More info here

(source: ESCLH Blog)

woensdag 12 februari 2020

JOB: Fixed-Term Lecturership in international law, three years (Cambridge, DEADLINE 2 MAR 2020)

(image source: Cambridge University)

The Faculty of Law is seeking to appoint an appropriately qualified person to a fixed-term Lectureship in International Law commencing 1 September 2020. The funds for the post are available for three years in the first instance, but a further two years of funding may be possible, depending on the return of the substantive post holder. The person appointed will teach on international law papers at undergraduate and postgraduate level, conduct and assist in the supervision of research, and participate in the general work of the Faculty.
The appointee will demonstrate potential to lecture effectively and to carry out and publish research of the highest calibre. The person appointed will normally hold a PhD or equivalent qualification. The Lecturer will be based in central Cambridge.
If you have any questions about this vacancy or the application process, please contact Julie Boucher by email Please quote reference JK22281 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.
Further particulars and details of the application procedure are available at the University Job Opportunities site.  Online application is available via that site.
Closing date: 2 March 2020
Vacancy Reference No: JK22281
Salary: £41,526-£52,559
The University values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity.
The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

dinsdag 11 februari 2020

BOOK REVIEW: Saliha BELMESSOUS on JENNIFER PITTS. Boundaries of the International: Law and Empire (American Historical Review 2020)

(image source: OUP)

First paragraph:
Jennifer Pitts’s Boundaries of the International: Law and Empire examines the role of international law in shaping relations between Western European imperial powers and non-European societies in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The book is presentist in the sense that it seeks to show how international law and order came to be dominated by Western powers up to today. Pitts criticizes the view that the law of nations was a European discourse produced to regulate relations between free and equal European states. The context in which the law of nations was produced—imperial expansion and other overseas activities—permeated the legal principles set up to regulate international relations. The law of nations was therefore a discourse produced to regulate relations between Europeans...
(more information with OUP)

maandag 10 februari 2020

ESIL IGHIL Pre-Conference event: The Founding of Solidarity in the International Community (Catania, ESIL Research Forum, 23 APR 2020)


(image source: Wikimedia Commons)

09.15-11.00 – Session One

‘The Role of the Brazilian Academic Elite in the “Civilization Project” during the XIX Century: An Analysis from the Example of the Whitening of the Population’, Luisa Cortat Simonetti Goncalves-Renato Coutinho (Maastricht)

‘Louis Bara (1821-1857) and the Liberal-scientific Restatement of International Law in the Nineteenth Century Peace Movement’, Wouter De Rycke (Brussels)

Commentator: Jaanika Erne (Tartu)


11.00-11.30 – Coffee break


11.30-12.30 – Session Two

‘Utopian Prohibition: Elihu Root, James Brown Scott and the Roots of the First International Drug Laws’, Kojo Koram (UCL)

Commentator: Markus Beham (Passau)


12.30-13.00 – Conclusion

‘Interdisciplinary Research Between History and Law’ and Discussion of Future IG Events – Markus Beham and Jaanika Erne

See ESIL Website.

vrijdag 7 februari 2020

BOOK: Thomas OLECHOWSKI, Brigitte MAZOHL, Karin SCHNEIDER & Reinhard STAUBER (Hrsg.), Der Wiener Kongress 1814/15 [Denkschriften der philosophisch-historischen Klasse, Band: 517]. (Wien: Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2019), 2 v. ISBN 978-3-7001-8182-8, € 99

(image source: OAW)
The Vienna Congress of 1814/15 was a major event, attended by monarchs, diplomats and lobbyists, but also by adventure seekers, dancers and actors to represent their interests, to do business or to enjoy themselves. It provided the opportunity to compose pieces of music and to create many works of fine art, so that it has remained alive in the collective memory until today. The reorganization of Europe agreed at the congress had lasted for half a century. The 34 authors from ten countries analyse the Vienna Congress and its consequences. Both the internationality and the interdisciplinary nature of the research offer new perspectives on the event that changed Europe and the world forever.
See table of contents here.

(source: Austrian Academy of Sciences)

donderdag 6 februari 2020

JOURNAL: Baltic Yearbook of International Law XVII (2017/2018) (ISBN 978-90-04-41392-4)

(image source: Brill)

Table of contents:
  • Hent Kalmo, Principles and Pragmatism in State Succession: Bargaining in the Economic Affairs Commission of the Tartu Peace Conference
  • Jaanika Erne, On the Borders of Law, History and Politics: Estonian Statesman Jüri Jaakson’s Views and Life in Context
  • Rytis Satkauskas, One Hundred Years of Faith: The Baltic States’ Contribution to International Justice
  • Gabriela Belova & Nikolay Marin, A Century of the Baltic States’ Independence: Some Similarities and Differences with Bulgaria
  • Lauri Hannikainen, Finland’s Continuation War (1941–1944): War of Aggression or Defence? War of Alliance or Separate War? Analyzed from the International – Especially Legal – Perspective
  • Andres Parmas, Application of Domestic Criminal Statutes in regard to International Crimes
  • Ineta Ziemele, Case Law of the European Court of Human Rights as a Source of Human Rights Law
  • Ozlem Ulgen, Human Dignity in an Age of Autonomous Weapons: Are We in Danger of Losing an ‘Elementary Consideration of Humanity’?
  • Marion Blondel, Vulnerability as a Virtue: An Attempt to Transpose the Care Ethic in International Law

woensdag 5 februari 2020

BOOK: Aryo MAKKO, European Small States and the Role of Consuls in the Age of Empire (Leiden/Boston: Nijhoff/Brill, 2019). ISBN: 9789004414372, € 145.00

Cover European Small States and the Role of Consuls in the Age of Empire
(Source: Brill)


In European Small States and the Role of Consuls in the Age of Empire Aryo Makko argues that Sweden and Norway participated in the New Imperialism in the late 18th and early 19th centuries through consular services. Usually portrayed as nations without an imperial past, Makko demonstrates that their role in the processes of imperialism and colonialism during that period can be understood by including consular affairs and practices of informal imperialism into the analysis. With this, he contributes to our understanding of the role of smaller states in the so-called Age of Empire. 


Aryo Makko, Ph.D. (2012), Stockholm University, is Associate Professor of History at that university and a Pro Futura Scientia Fellow at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS). He is also a member of the Young Academy of Sweden.


List of Tables 
List of Abbreviations 
 1 Focus of This Book 
 2 Sources 
 3 Structure 
 4 Prior Research 
1 Power in the Age of Empire 
 1 Sweden-Norway during the Age of Empire: Shipping, Trade and Globalization 
 2 Trade, Diplomacy and Security? Consuls and Foreign Policy 
2 Years of Ambition, 1875–1884 
 1 The Consular Committee of 1875 and the Backlog of Reforms 
 2 Africa: Economic Stagnation and Mixed Courts 
 3 Eastern and Southern Asia: the “Opening” of a Continent 
 4 West Indies: Old Ambitions, New Realities 
 5 Conclusions 
3 Disillusionment and Years of Conflict, 1884–1905 
 1 The Consular Regulation of 1886 and Renewed Failures 
 2 After Berlin: the Scramble for Africa 
 3 Eastern and Southern Asia: Growth, Tension and Hesitation 
 4 West Indies: Colonial Periphery and Merchant Consuls 
 5 Conclusions 
4 From Informal Empire to Small State Realism, 1905–1914 
 1 Zero Hour: Reorganizing the Foreign Service 
 2 Africa: Maintaining the Status Quo 
 3 Eastern and Southern Asia: Concentrating Efforts 
 4 West Indies: Falling into Oblivion 
 5 Conclusions 

More information here

(source: ESCLH Blog)