ESIL Interest Group History of International Law

ESIL Interest Group History of International Law

Wednesday 30 June 2021

JOBS: 20 Incoming Marie Curie Postdocs VUB imπACT project (deadline 31 AUG 2021)

(image source: imπACT project)

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel received European funding for 20 fulltime incoming postdoc mandates of 2 year.

On the call:

imπACT, Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND Action is a research and training programme fostering impact development and entrepreneurship skills through research for postdoctoral researchers. imπACT will equip 20 postdoctoral researchers with the necessary knowledge and technology transfer skills to take up leadership positions in academia, business and civil society and to deploy intersectoral solutions the European R&I landscape so much needs. 

Read more on the research themes here.

Tuesday 29 June 2021

PRIZES: Prix Mérimée 2021 for Jean-Romain FERRAND-HUS; Prix Guizot 2021 for Isabelle DASQUE

(image source: wikimedia commons)

Two major works on French 19th and early 20th century diplomacy have recently been awarded prestigious prizes

  • Jean-Romain Ferrand-Hus's PhD Thesis on the diplomats of the Second Empire (Napoleon III, La diplomatie du Second Empire, vecteur d’influence et de réforme des systèmes politiques et juridiques étrangers (supervisor: prof. dr. Anthony Mergey) has received the Prix Mérimée (see announcement of the PhD defence earlier on this blog
  • Isabelle Dasque's summa on the diplomats of the Third Republic (Les diplomates de la république (1871-1914)) has received the Prix Guizot (see announcement of the book earlier on this blog)

Monday 28 June 2021

FOCUS SECTION: The European Tradition in International Law: Camilo Barcia Trelles (European Journal of International Law XXXI (2021), No. 4 (Nov)

(image source: OUP)

Camilo Barcia Trelles in and beyond Vitoria's Shadow (1888–1977) (Ignacio de la Rasilla) (DOI 10.1093/ejil/chab001)


Credited with having fostered the renaissance of Francisco de Vitoria and the School of Salamanca in international law circles in the interwar period, Camilo Barcia Trelles has largely fallen into oblivion along with most Spanish international law professors of the Spanish Civil War generation. The first part of this article provides an outline of the long career of Barcia Trelles against the background of the radically transformed domestic and international context of the interwar years and the aftermath of World War II in both Spain and Europe. The second part surveys three key themes of Barcia Trelles’ 60-year long contribution to the study of international law and international politics. First, it analyses his early interest in the process of regionalism in Latin America and the role of North American foreign policy in the region. This is followed by an analysis of Barcia Trelles’s attention to the study of the Spanish classics of international law during the interwar period, and, finally, by an overview of his approach to the study of international law in the light of international politics during the Cold War. The conclusion briefly engages with the legacy of Barcia Trelles’ life and works in the European tradition of international law.

 The Cradle of International Law: Camilo Barcia Trelles on Francisco de Vitoria at The Hague (1927) (Randall Lesaffer) (DOI 10.1093/ejil/chab002)


In 1926, James Brown Scott invited the Spanish international lawyer Camilo Barcia Trelles to lecture at the 1927 Hague Academy of International Law on the contribution of the Spanish internationalists of the 16th century to the development of international law. With his lecture series on Francisco de Vitoria, Barcia Trelles fulfilled the hopes Scott had of enlisting an ally in his crusade to the Spanish origins of international law. Through their respective writings, the two international lawyers from both sides of the Atlantic co-produced the myth which situates the oldest roots of the ‘science of international law’ with Vitoria and the School of Salamanca and which has to this day largely obscured the contribution of late-medieval jurisprudence. This article analyses the methodological and intellectual moves Barcia Trelles made to construe Vitoria as the original founder of international law and detach him from his medieval sources.

Camilo Barcia Trelles on the Meaning of the Monroe Doctrine and the Legacy of Vitoria in the Americas (Juan Pablo Scarfi) (DOI 10.1093/ejil/chab003)


This article explores three important dimensions of the work and trajectory of Camilo Barcia Trelles: his understanding of the Monroe Doctrine; his vision and contribution to the debates in Latin America and the United States over intervention and the codification of American international law; and how his own understanding of the intellectual legacy of Francisco de Vitoria shaped his views and approaches to these topics. The article argues that Barcia Trelles provided a Spanish Americanist version of international law in the Americas, according to which, following the Spanish conquest of America and Vitoria’s important contribution to international law, a irreversible division began to emerge between the two Americas, that is, the Latin American and US traditions of international law, especially since the US Declaration of Independence, the collapse of the Spanish Monarchy and the independence of the Spanish American republics.

 Skip Nav Destination Article Navigation Camilo Barcia Trelles on Francisco de Vitoria: At the Crossroads of Carl Schmitt’s Grossraum and James Brown Scott’s ‘Modern International Law’ (José María Beneyto) (DOI 10.1093/ejil/chab005)


Carl Schmitt’s The Nomos of the Earth in the International Law of the Jus Publicum Europaeum (1950) undertook a re-interpretation of the modern origins of the discipline of international law, placing Vitoria at its pivot, as the Spanish international law professor Camilo Barcia Trelles (1888–1977) had done before. Barcia’s work had a strong influence on some of the seminal pieces on international law and geopolitics that Schmitt wrote in the period from 1941 to 1950. This was the case for Schmitt’s historical mythology of the opposition between sea and earth and its juridical consequence, his doctrine of the Grossraum, which had as its basis Barcia’s account of the Monroe Doctrine, and also of Schmitt’s critique of the ‘discrimination of war’ formalized in the Kellogg–Briand Pact. According to Barcia, the exclusion of European powers from the American continent by the United States as a rising hegemon was transformed – thanks to its domination of the sea – into the global reach of a world police power. Barcia did not agree with Brown Scott’s transformation of international law through American liberal internationalism into ‘modern international law’. While Brown Scott and Schmitt were competing for two opposing vernaculars of the discipline in search for a new definition and to shape it, Barcia was instrumental in the opposed efforts of these two apparently very dissimilar representatives of international law by ushering Vitoria into their service.

Friday 25 June 2021

BOOK: Anne ORFORD, International Law and the Politics of History (Cambridge: CUP, 2021), ISBN 9781108691765, GB 22,99

(image source: Cambridge)

Book abstract:
As the future of international law has become a growing site of struggle within and between powerful states, debates over the history of international law have become increasingly heated. International Law and the Politics of History explores the ideological, political, and material stakes of apparently technical disputes over how the legal past should be studied and understood. Drawing on a deep knowledge of the history, theory, and practice of international law, Anne Orford argues that there can be no impartial accounts of international law's past and its relation to empire and capitalism. Rather than looking to history in a doomed attempt to find a new ground for formalist interpretations of what past legal texts really mean or what international regimes are really for, she urges lawyers and historians to embrace the creative role they play in making rather than finding the meaning of international law.

Table of contents: 

1 - Neoformalism and the Turn to History in International Law 
2 - Situating the Turn to History in International Law
3 - History and the Turn to the International 3 - History and the Turn to the International
4 - History’s Lawyers
5 - The Past in the Practice of International Law
6 - The History of What?
7 - Why Study the Past of International Law? History as Politics
Read more on Cambridge Core (DOI 10.1017/9781108691765).

Thursday 24 June 2021

VACANCY: Research Professor in Modern Legal History (Post 1750) (KU Leuven; Deadline 19 SEP 2021)


(image: Duke John IV of Brabant, during whose reign the University of Leuven was first established; source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Faculty of Law of KU Leuven, invites scholars to apply for a full‐time research professorship in the Research Unit for Roman Law and Legal History. This position is funded by the Special Research Fund (BOFZAP), established by the Flemish Government.

 We are looking for motivated and internationally oriented candidates with an excellent research record and with educational competence in the field of modern legal history. The appointment is expected to start on October 1, 2022. Applications will be evaluated in parallel and independently by 1) the KU Leuven Research Council in a competitive process across academic domains and 2) the faculty advisory committee. During the first 10 years, the teaching obligations as a research professor will be limited. Afterwards, the position will be transformed into a regular professorship. This vacancy concerns modern legal history, since 1750. Preferably, the candidate should be adept in the comparative study of historical law, have a view on the Europeanisation and globalization of legal scholarship and see legal history as an integral part of legal thought. This position is imbedded in the Research Unit for Roman Law and Legal History. The unit consist of 3 professors and about 10 junior researchers. Its research focuses on European and international legal history since the 16th century, and in particular on three themes: the intellectual history of the jus commune, the history of economic law and the history of international law.

(read more here)

Wednesday 23 June 2021

BOOK: Raphael SCHÄFER & Anne PETERS, Politics and the Histories of International Law - The Quest for Knowledge and Justice (Leiden/New York: Brill, 2021). ISBN 978-90-04-46179-6, 109.00 EUR


(Source: Brill)

Brill is publishing the edited collection ‘Politics and the Histories of International Law’


What are the implications of writing the history of legal issues? Eighteen authors from different legal systems and backgrounds offer different answers, by examining the history writing on issues ranging from slavery over the use of force to extraterritorial jurisdiction. Contributions show how historiography has often distorted or neglected regional cultures and suggest alternative methods and approaches to history writing. These studies are highly relevant for current international relations in which the fight over master narratives is especially fierce among governments, in different academic fields, and also between governments and academics.

Contributors are: Jean d'Aspremont, Julia Bühner, Emiliano J.Buis, Maria Adele Carrai, Jacob Katz Cogan, Ríán Derrig, Angelo Dube, Michel Erpelding, Etienne Henry, Madeleine Herren, Randall Lesaffer, Anne-Charlotte Martineau, Parvathi Menon, Momchil Milanov, Hirofumi Oguri, Gustavo Prieto, Hendrik Simon, Sebastian Spitra, and Deborah Whitehall.



Politics and the Histories of International Law: An Introduction

  Anne Peters, Raphael Schäfer and Randall Lesaffer

Part 1: International Law and Vulnerable Groups

1 Strength through Diversity? The Paradox of Extraterritoriality and the History of the Odd Ones Out

  Madeleine Herren-Oesch

2 The Politics of Writing on the History of Slavery in International Law

  Anne-Charlotte Martineau

3 Edmund Burke and the Ambivalence of Protection for Slaves: Between Humanity and Control

  Parvathi Menon

4 One Hundred Years of Soli(dari)tude: The Creation of the Refugee Regime and the Politics of Humanitarianism

  Momchil Milanov

Part 2: The Use of Force Discourse in a Historical Perspective

5 Theorising Order in the Shadow of War: The Politics of International Legal Knowledge and the Justification of Force in Modernity

  Hendrik Simon

6 The Road to Collective Security: Soviet Russia, the League of Nations, and the Emergence of the ius contra bellum in the Aftermath of the Russian Revolution (1917–1934)

  Etienne Henry

7 Three Wartime Textbooks of International Law

  Deborah Whitehall

Part 3: Regional and Cultural Variations of International Law

8 The Politics of History in the Late Qing Era: William A. P. Martin and a History of International Law for China

  Maria Adele Carrai

9 Mixed Claims Commissions in Latin America during the 19th and 20th Centuries: The Development of International Law in between Caudillos and Revolutions

  Gustavo Prieto

10 The Forgotten Continent? A South African Perspective on the Development of African International Legal Thought

  Angelo Dube and Lindelwa Mhlongo

11 International Law and the European Court of Justice: The Politics of Avoiding History

  Michel Erpelding

Part 4: The Looming of the Past over the 20th Century

12 Civilisation, Protection, Restitution: A Critical History of International Cultural Heritage Law in the 19th and 20th Century

  Sebastian M. Spitra

13 International Law, Science and Psychology in the New Haven School

  Ríán Derrig

14 Histories Hidden in the Shadow: Vitoria and the International Ostracism of Francoist Spain

  Julia Bühner

Part 5: New Methods and Approaches

15 Turntablism in the History of International Law

  Jean d’Aspremont

16 The Politics of Anti-Politics: Historiographies of International Law and the Paradox of Antiquity

  Emiliano J. Buis

17 Combatting Naïve Positivism by Quellenkritik: Lassa Oppenheim and His Ascertainment of Customary International Law

  Hirofumi Oguri


18 A History of International Law in the Vernacular

  Jacob Katz Cogan



More info here

(source: ESCLH Blog)

Tuesday 22 June 2021

REMINDER: ONLINE ROUNDTABLE: History and International Criminal Justice (ESIL Interest Group on International Criminal Justice - ESIL Interest Group on History of International Law, 23 JUNE 2021)



History and International Criminal Justice


ESIL Interest Group on International Criminal Justice

ESIL Interest Group on History of International Law

Online Roundtable


Wednesday 23 June 20213-5pm CEST


Within the field of international criminal justice, appeals to history have been made from multiple perspectives. There are, in fact, at least three ways in which the relationship between history and international criminal justice has been conceived. First, histories of international criminal justice have sought to construct narrative accounts of the origins and trajectory of the field. Such accounts range from evolutionary progress narratives of the field’s institutional development to more critical perspectives that seek to disrupt the field’s conventional assumptions and framings. A separate body of literature – focused on international criminal justice in history – has sought to surface the influence of international juridical practices on the course of history within particular societal contexts. Studies within this strand of scholarship have revealed, for example, how international criminal justice institutions can become implicated in governmental projects within the domestic political sphere, including the delegitimization of political rivals or the legitimation of military campaigns against adversaries. Thirdly, growing attention has also been directed towards international criminal courts as sites of historical production. Focusing on the narrative and expressive functions of international criminal courts, explorations of history in international criminal justice have sought to reveal how history has been constructed and contested by different actors participating in and/or impacted by international criminal processes in different institutional contexts.


This online roundtable aims to put into conversation four scholars who have recently published monographs that engage in different ways with the relationship between history and the practice of international criminal justice. Building on insights from their research, the roundtable will examine this relationship from a diversity of angles, including a critical exploration of what the historical narratives constructed by international criminal courts reveal about their emancipatory limits and potential, how law’s relationship to capital might help make sense of corporate human rights and war crimes trials across space and time, the extent to which emotionally-charged rights discourses and anti-colonial histories shape conceptions of justice, and whether a ‘responsible history’ normative framework for international criminal courts is possible.


Chair:                   Zinaida Miller, Assistant Professor of International Law & Human Rights, School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University

Speakers:            M. Kamari Clarke, Distinguished Professor of Criminology and Sociolegal Studies, The University of Toronto (and UCLA - on leave) 

                                          (author of Affective Justice: The International Criminal Court and the Pan-Africanist Pushback (Duke University Press 2019) – available here)

Grietje Baars, Reader in Law & Social Change, The City Law School, City, University of London

                                          (author of Law, Capitalism and the Corporation: A Radical Perspective on the Role of Law in the Political Economy (Brill 2019/Haymarket 2020) – available here and here)

                            Aldo Zammit-Borda, Reader, The City Law School, City, University of London (from August 2021)

                            (author of Histories Written by International Criminal Courts and Tribunals: Developing a Responsible History Framework (Springer 2020) – available here)

                            Barrie Sander, Assistant Professor, Leiden University – Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs

                            (author of Doing Justice to History: Confronting the Past in International Criminal Courts (OUP 2021) – available here)


Those interested in attending the online event should register by sending an email to providing your name, last name and institution, by 20 June 2021. A Zoom link will be circulated to those registered shortly before the event.

ONLINE COLLOQUIUM: Regard critique sur les souverainetés (Afrique, Amériques, Asie, Europe) Moyen Âge – xxie siècle) (Paris: Université de Paris/University of Chicago in Paris/CRHIA Nantes/FMSH/CRHEU/EILA), 23-24 JUN 2021)


(image source: Université de Paris)

The University of Paris (and a number of co-organising entities) hosts a two-day online colloquium on sovereignties, from the Middle Ages to the 21st centuries on 23 and 24 June.


This interdisciplinary conference, bringing together historians, legal experts, and political scientists, will focus on the heuristic contribution of the concept of sovereignty, adopting a critical approach of the notion, in examining for instance sovereignties “without State” or “against the State”. Critical theory will help formulate political hermeneutics to better comprehend the concepts of State and power in Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Africa. The theory developed by Jean Bodin in his Six Books on the Commonwealth, and how it has been received from the end of the xvith to the xxist century, is here examined under a new light, not only deconstructing the usual approach on sovereignty, but also addressing the reasons why in Europe it became a fundamental concept for political science, modern theories of the State, and philosophy. Beyond the traditional distinction between “internal” and “external” sovereignty, one of the questions raised is whether Bodin’s assertion that “it is the essence of sovereign power to be unlimited: it is all powerful, or it is nothing” leaves room for debate and consideration on the nature of power in different types of communities: States, or groups of people defined by chosen or inflicted characteristics (ethnic origin, geography, common political preferences, etc.).

Click here for the full program.

(source: ESCLH Blog)

Monday 21 June 2021

JOURNAL: Forum on "Historiography, Ideology, and Law" (History & Theory, LX (2021), Issue 2, 185-405


(image source: Wiley)

Historiography, Ideology and Law: an Introduction (Justin Desautels-Stein & Samuel Moyn) (DOI 10.1111/hith.12207)


This is an introduction to a forum on historiography, ideology, and law. The basic question weaving this forum together concerns the meaning of the term “critical” in the domain of critical legal history, a question that is deeply familiar to historians of all stripes. Ultimately, whether you are a lawyer doing historical work, a historian interested in law, or a historian of a different sort altogether, there is no hiding from the question of context and, critically, the ideological stakes in choosing an answer to that question.

 On the domestication of Critical Legal History (Justin Desautels-Stein & Samuel Moyn) (DOI 10.1111/hith.12208)


Among many of today's legal historians, there is a relatively new and generally unreflective understanding of the relationship between history and method. The landscape is everywhere marked by a tendency to eschew big thinking, grand theory, and programmatic approaches to historical explanation and social transformation. In the place of the grand theory approach to law and history, there is a preference for the minimalist, the pragmatic, the particularistic, and the quotidian. What this normal science of today's legal historiography makes obvious is a kind of attachment to particular kinds of problems with particular sorts of built-in solutions. The result for today is intellectual stagnation, a routinized and thoroughly domesticated mode of revealing contingency. Oddly, the fascination with contingency, and its deadening affair with a minimalist pragmatism, is itself a result of the triumph of what continues to be called “critical legal history.” Ostensibly due to an interface between critical legal studies and the historical discipline, the rise and triumph of critical legal history hides a secret: the whole idea of a reigning critical appreciation for contingency seems to be a misnomer. Sure, some may say that “things might have been otherwise.” But what this intellectual settlement demands is obedience to its qualification: “things might have been otherwise, but they weren't, and so let's get on with doing what works.” Although so-called critical legal history seduces adherents with promises of edgy progressivism, the actual malaise of our minimalism seems in fact to suggest just the opposite. It is a quiescent and even quietistic method in practice, counseling in its conservatism against higher-order proposals that might ever make good on the discovery that nothing is natural. In the end, either we must accept that critical legal history in the United States is a lot less politically explosive than we once thought—given its deradicalization and domestication today—or that people have been mistaken about what critical legal history was, is, and ought to be.

Law and the Time of Angels: International Law's Method Wars and the Affective Lives of Disciplines (Natasha Wheatley) (DOI 10.1111/hith.12209)


Recent method wars in international legal scholarship turn on the problem of law in time. Rejecting historians' focus on context and their “policing of anachronism,” prominent legal scholars like Anne Orford and Martti Koskenniemi have argued that the workings of modern law are not governed by the narrow strictures of sequential chronology and that legal scholars require alternate methods that reflect law's transfer of meaning through time. Contextualism, in this reckoning, represents a misguided methodological straightjacket that stifles critique by quarantining meaning and power in discrete historical silos; the embrace of anachronism, conversely, would foster a revitalized history of international law intimately connected with the political imperatives of the present. This essay uses the debate as an opening into a fuller exploration of law in history and in time. In considering the idiosyncratic way law frames time, sequence, and duration, it explores the connection between law's transtemporal transfers and its very mode of reproduction. To speak of law's capacity to escape context and travel through time is another way of describing its normativity: the laws of the past that survive to exert a normative force in the present are not, in their law-ness, past—they are simply present law. The essay suggests some ways to make that temporality itself the object of analysis (rather than naturalizing and affirming it, as Orford has, or, conversely, dismissing it as bad history, as some historians have). It draws on the history of science to generate an account of law's temporal habitus as a disciplinary knowledge tool, a kind of epistemic virtue that is intimately involved in law's internal criteria for truth and falsity.

Theorizing Constitutional History (Maeve Glass) (DOI 10.1111/hith.12210)


The historical study of American constitutional law has long rested on a conceptual framework that divides the past into linear units of analysis. Constitutional time unfolds according to discrete eras defined by changes in political leadership and governance, whereas constitutional space typically appears divided into bordered jurisdictions and regional sections. Despite the prominence of this conceptual framework, scholars have yet to ask how, why, and to what effect it became the paradigmatic mode of study. In the absence of close study, the framework instead appears as a neutral embodiment of the constitutional order. This essay offers a preliminary sketch of how theories of knowledge production, and particularly Louis Althusser's theory of law as an ideological apparatus, can help to move beyond this facile assumption. By returning to a selection of landmark judicial opinions and legal treatises from the long nineteenth century and analyzing their discursive practices in relation to the dominant modes of production, this exploratory essay suggests a striking possibility: that the paradigm that we have assumed to be a primordial part of the constitutional order only emerged in its current iteration in the late nineteenth-century shift from a plantation mode of production rooted in enslaved labor to an industrial mode of production rooted in wage labor. As these sources indicate, leading jurists in America's age of conquest and enslavement regularly analyzed questions of state power and rights by organizing time according to chains of title rooted in dispossession based on race and space according to the geographic circuits of capital. Effective in naturalizing the strict racialized hierarchy integral to the production and circulation of export commodities, this discourse of tethering institutions to the history of property acquisition and the movement of commodities began to shift with the formal abolition of slavery and rise of intensive industrialization, as a new generation of legal academics created a paradigm of institutional time and space that, by erasing material histories of structural inequality, made it possible to reconstitute an old social order predicated on racial classifications of whiteness.

Family Law Matters (Judith Surkis) (DOI 10.1111/hith.12211)


This essay analyzes how new histories of family law help to dismantle developmentalist accounts of legal, economic, and political modernity. Far from being backwaters, they have recently emerged as sites of theoretical and practical innovation. Recombining methodologies from genealogy to social reproduction theory and psychoanalysis, they do more than denaturalize categories, destabilize familiar narratives, and demonstrate ideological contradictions (although they do that too). Motivated by a sense of what is lost theoretically and politically by the family's historical and juridical marginalization, they reinvigorate legal history by locating the problem of the family at the center of broader critical projects.

 Proximate Causation in Legal Historiography (Simon Stern) (DOI 10.1111/hith.12212)


The variety of legal history published in general-interest law journals tends to differ from the variety published in history journals. This study compares the two varieties by examining footnote references in five general-interest law journals and footnote references in two journals of legal history. In the law journals, cases and statutes accounted for the single largest group of footnotes (approximately 35%), followed by references to other law journal articles (nearly 25%). In the legal history journals, these two categories accounted for less than 20% of all references; primary and secondary historical materials predominated in the footnotes. To be sure, legal decisions and law journal articles can also be historical sources: rather than being used as evidence of what the law is, they might be studied for what they reveal about legal reasoning or rhetoric in an earlier age. However, in most legal historical research that attends primarily to cases and statutes, these materials figure as evidence of the state of the law at that time. When the analysis relies on legal sources to trace the development of a certain doctrine and treats them as sufficient to account for that development, the result is the distinctive style of research that I seek to contrast against approaches that cast the net of historical inquiry more widely. To account for these different approaches, I suggest that law professors rely on a notion of proximate causation as a historiographic method. According to this approach, legal developments are proximately caused by other developments in the legal sphere, and other social and cultural developments play more attenuated roles, such that their influence is less significant. By proposing this explanation, I hope to draw more attention to assumptions about causation in legal historiography and to question their persuasive force.

(read further: Wiley

(source: ESCLH Blog)

Friday 18 June 2021

DIGITIZATION: Hundreds of Native American Treaties Digitized for the First Time (Indigenous Treaties Explorer)


(image source: Smithsonian mag)

First paragraph:

For many Native American tribes, historical treaties are a fraught reminder of promises made—and broken—by the United States government over centuries of colonial expansion and exploitation. The documents are also of paramount importance today, as tribes and activists point to them as binding agreements in legal battles for land and resources.

Thanks to a newly completed digitization effort by the U.S. National Archives and the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (MIAC) in Santa Fe, researchers and the public now have unprecedented access to hundreds of these critical agreements.

Read further in Smithsonian Magazine.

Consult the database here

Wednesday 16 June 2021

BOOK: Sebastian M. SPITRA, Die Verwaltung von Kultur im Völkerrecht. Eine postkoloniale Geschichte [Studien zur Geschichte des Völkerrechts, eds. Anne PETERS, Bardo FASSBENDER, Milos VEC & Jochen VON BERNSTORFF; 39] (Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlag, 2021), 409 p. ISBN 978-3-8487-5375-8. OPEN ACCESS


(image source: Nomos)

Book abstract:

This book analyses the development of the norms of protecting cultural heritage from a postcolonial perspective. In contrast to the traditional historiography of ‘culture’ in international law, it reveals how the highly problematic and Eurocentric ‘standard of civilisation’ in the 19th and 20th centuries served as a driving force for the formation of cultural heritage protection norms. Various actors used the law in different ways to take part in this discourse on ‘civilisation’. The aim of this book is to lay down a new narrative on the history of the protection of world cultural heritage. It endeavours to replace the inherent politics of the dominant narrative on progress with a critical genealogy which reveals the long-lasting hegemonic structures of today’s international law. Sebastian M. Spitra is a research fellow at the Department of Legal and Constitutional History at the University of Vienna and a Grotius fellow at the University of Michigan Law School.

 Read the book in open access: DOI 10.5771/9783845295145

Thursday 10 June 2021

BOOK SYMPOSIUM: Ntina TZOUVALA, Capitalism as Civilisation (with Rohini SEN, Daniel R. QUIROGA-VILLAMARIN, Jullie WETTERSLEY, Kanad BAGCHI)

(image source: EUI)

Ntina Tzouvala's Capitalism as Civilisation (see earlier on this blog) is at the heart of an open access book symposium with the European Journal of Legal Studies, including a response by the author herself.

Kanad Bagchi, ‘Materialism, Culture and the Standard of Civilization’ (61-79) 

Julie Wetterslev, ‘The Standard of Civilisation in International Law’ (81-99) 

Daniel R. Quiroga-Villamarín, ‘Victorian Antics: The Persistence of the “Law as Craft” Mindset in the Critical Legal Imagination’ (101-116) 

Rohini Sen, ‘Reading and Readings of Capitalism as Civilisation‘ (117-136) 

Ntina Tzouvala, ‘Capitalism as Civilisation, or How to Respond to your Book Reviews when the Author is Dead’ (137-153) 

Read everything on the journal's website

Wednesday 9 June 2021

OPEN ACCESS: OUP History of International Law Collection


(image source: OUP)


Explore our collection of free content on the history and development of international law, sourced from across our academic books and online reference works. Covering classical antiquity to the twenty-first century, this selection covers both useful introductions and in-depth commentary on a variety of topics in the field. All articles and chapters featured are free to access until 31 July 2021.

 Read all here.

Monday 7 June 2021

BOOK REVIEW: Wolfgang REINHARD (Freiburg im Breisgau) on Irene DINGEL et al. (eds.), Handbook of Peace in Early Modern Europe (Berlin: DeGruyter Oldenbourg, 2021) (Sehepunkte, MAY 2021)


(image source: Sehepunkte)

First paragraph:

Ein Werk wie dieses war längst überfällig. Zwar wurde der Friede schon immer gepriesen und hat im 20. Jahrhundert moralisch sogar die Oberhand gewonnen. Der Krieg wurde verboten. Es gibt heute keine Kriegsminister mehr, sondern nur noch Verteidigungsminister und auch so gut wie keine ordnungsgemäß mit Kriegserklärung begonnenen und mit Friedensschluss beendeten Kämpfe alten Stils. Die Wirklichkeit ist freilich nichtsdestoweniger kriegerischer denn je. Auch die Wissenschaft interessiert sich demgemäß lieber für Krieg als für Frieden. Faktisch gilt eben immer noch die Feststellung von Nietzsches Zarathustra "der gute Krieg ist es, der jede Sache heiligt" (97). Sogar die Menschenrechte müssen heute den Krieg "heiligen". Anthropologisch gesehen ist es ja viel einfacher, einen Konflikt auszulösen und durchzufechten als ihn beizulegen und zu beenden. Entsprechend schwer tut sich die Friedensforschung mit der Gewalt und entsprechend verdienstvoll ist der Versuch dieses Buches, hier mit historischer Friedensforschung massiv wissenschaftlich gegenzusteuern.

Read the full review here.

See earlier on this blog for the book

Wednesday 2 June 2021

WEBINAR: Grotian Theory Talks with Nehal BHUTA (Heidelberg: MPIL, 11 JUN 2021)


(image source: Twitter)

The MPIL in Heidelberg hosts the 'Grotian' Theory Talks. Prof. Nehal Bhuta (Edinburgh) is announced for the 11 June at 15:00 CET.

More information by clicking on the image.

Tuesday 1 June 2021

ONLINE WORKSHOP: Luis de Molina et l'esclavage africain - regards croisés (Paris: Université Paris Nanterre, 4 JUN 2021)


(click on image to enlarge)

Luis de Molina (1535-1600) est l’un des plus célèbres jésuites espagnols du XVIe siècle, appartenant à la dite « École de Salamanque ». Alors qu’il est aujourd’hui connu des théologiens, surtout pour la question de l’exercice du libre arbitre en relation avec la prédétermination de la volonté divine, tout comme des économistes, pour sa théorie de la valeur subjective du prix, Luis de Molina reste encore largement méconnu chez les juristes.



Cette journée d’étude se concentrera sur le deuxième traité de son

De iustitia et iure, publié en 1593 et dans lequel Molina s’intéresse à la justice commutative des biens, c’est-à-dire à la légitimité du commerce, offrant par-là une analyse théologico-juridique détaillée des pratiques commerciales menées par les marchants portugais et espagnols dans la seconde moitié du XVIe siècle. L’une de ces pratiques était l’acquisition et la vente d’esclaves. Est-il juste, demande Molina, que les marchands portugais aillent en Afrique pour y acheter des esclaves et ensuite les revendre aux marchands espagnols ? Sur la base de quels titres et dans quelles conditions ces échanges peuvent-ils avoir lieu ?



Les longs développements élaborés par Luis de Molina pour répondre à ces questions auront une influence décisive ; les théologiens et juristes qui lui succéderont ne feront que reprendre et synthétiser ses réflexions, renforçant la légitimité de l’esclavage et les modalités dans lesquelles était réalisée la traite africaine.


Les participant.e.s à cette journée d’étude proviennent de champs disciplinaires variés, tels que le droit et l’histoire, mais aussi la philosophie politique et l’anthropologie. L’objectif est d’offrir un regard croisé, novateur et critique sur les réflexions de Luis de Molina en matière d’esclavage africain, afin de mieux comprendre leur contenu et leur portée.



Cette journée d’étude organisée par Anne-Charlotte Martineau est rendue possible par le soutien de la Mission de recherche Droit et Justice et du Centre de Théorie et d’Analyse du Droit (UMR7074).


Cette journée d’étude est ouverte à tous.tes. Pour toute demande d’inscription à la visioconférence, remplissez ce formulaire

Programme :



Anne-Charlotte Martineau  : « Propos introductifs »



Martti Koskenniemi : « Scholastic ius gentium: The Persistent Power of a Middle Concept »


Matthias Kaufmann : « Molina : l’esclavage entre la moralité, le droit et l’économie »


Jean-Louis Halpérin : « Droit, justice et équité dans l’approche de Molina sur l’esclavage »




Luisa Brunori : « Droit et économie dans l’œuvre de Luis de Molina »


Arnaud Paturet : « L’idée de dominium dans De iustitia et iure à la lumière des conceptions juridiques romaines antiques »


Danaë Simmermacher : « Slaves as Owners »




António de Almeida Mendes : « Le statut des esclaves africains et de leurs descendants en Europe du Sud passé au filtre de la traite transatlantique »


Carlos Zeron : « Inventer et inventorier la traite légitime »


José Luis Egío García : « Quelques éléments de continuité et de rupture avec la tradition salmantine et le derecho indiano »


17h30  Anne-Charlotte Martineau : « Conclusion »


Affiliations :


Anne-Charlotte Martineau est chargée de recherche au CNRS et rattachée au Centre de Théorie et d’Analyse du Droit de l’université de Nanterre.  Martti Koskennniemi est professeur émérite de droit international à l’université de

Helsinki. Matthias Kaufmann est professeur émérite d’éthique à l’université de Halle-Wittenberg. Jean-Louis Halpérin

est professeur d’histoire du droit à l’École normale supérieure de Paris. Luisa Brunori est chargée de recherche au CNRS et rattachée au Centre d’Histoire Judiciaire de l’université de Lille. Arnaud Paturet est chargé de recherche au CNRS et rattaché au Centre de Théorie et d’Analyse du Droit de l’université de Nanterre. Danaë Simmermacher est docteure en philosophie et rattachée à l’université de Halle-Wittenberg. Carlos Alberto de M.R. Zeron est professeur d’histoire à l’université de São Paulo. António de Almeida Mendes est maître de conférences en histoire moderne à l’université de Nantes. José Luis Egío García est docteur en philosophie et affilié à l’Institut Max Planck de Francfort (Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory).