ESIL Interest Group History of International Law

ESIL Interest Group History of International Law

maandag 20 juni 2022

JOURNAL: Journal of the History of International Law / Revue d'histoire du droit international, Volume 24, Issue 2 (June 2022)

Image Source: Brill


The Historical Origins of the Duty to Save Life at Sea in International Law

Author: Irini Papanicolopulu

Pages: 149–188

Online Publication Date: 09 Jun 2022

Exclusion vs Cooperation in the Utilisation of Transboundary Watercourses: The Case for Decolonising the Nile Water Agreements

Author: Fekade Abebe

Pages: 189–226

Online Publication Date: 09 Jun 2022

Making International Law Truly ‘International’?

Reflecting on Colonial Approaches to the China-Vietnam Dispute in the South China Sea and the Tribute System

Author: So Yeon Kim

Pages: 227–258

Online Publication Date: 06 May 2021

Pan-Americanism as a Hemispheric Model for a Global Order?

The Pan-American Peace Pact of 1914

Author: Klaas Dykmann

Pages: 259–292

Online Publication Date: 09 Jun 2022

Book Reviews

Great Britain, International Law, and the Evolution of Maritime Strategic Thought, 1856–1914, written by Gabriela Frei

Author: Frederik Dhondt

Pages: 293–297

Online Publication Date: 09 Jun 2022

Remaking Central Europe: The League of Nations and the Former Habsburg Lands, edited by Peter Becker and Natasha Wheatley

Author: Omer Aloni

Pages: 298–303

Online Publication Date: 09 Jun 2022

Read more on the publisher's website.

maandag 13 juni 2022

LECTURE: Samuel MOYN, "Reflections on the Humanization of War", I-HILT History of International Law E-Lecture Series 2021-2022 (Tilburg/Zoom, 16 June 2022)

Image source: Tilburg University


The ongoing I-HILT online e-lecture series is hosting an event with Professor Samuel Moyn.
Samuel Moyn: Reflections on the Humanization of War – 16.00 (Brussels time)

The ongoing I-HILT online e-lecture series at Tilburg Law School is excited to have Professor Samuel Moyn (Yale Law School) present in the latest instalment to discuss his most recent book Humane: How the United States Abandoned Peace and Reinvented War. ‘The rise of American Empire has coincided with appeals for a more humane war. But what if efforts to make war more ethical—to ban torture and limit civilian casualties—have only shored up the military enterprise and made it sturdier?’
If you are interested please contact Deepak Mawar ( with the email title ‘I-HILT E-Lecture Registration’ and he will provide you with the Zoom link for the e-lecture.

Source: ESCLH blog

CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS: "Global digital legal history: Show, tell and teach", Journal for Digital Legal History (DEADLINE: 1 July 2022)

Image source: DLH website

The Journal for Digital Legal History - a recently founded open-access and peer-reviewed journal - has several calls for contributions, one of which is particularly relevant to historians of international law. 



The Journal for Digital Legal History (DLH) is a diamond Open Access and peer-reviewed international journal hosted by the Open UGent platform. We are pleased to invite contributions from researchers working on legal history with digital, empirical and computational approaches for our first annual issue to be published in November 2022. The journal welcomes all research questions and outputs at the intersection of legal history, digital humanities and empirical legal studies, broadly defined.


In the field of legal history, digital methods are hardly ever the centrepiece of a publication itself, if not downplayed. In 1997, Richard Evans claimed that: 'How we know about the past, what historical causation is, how we define a historical fact, whether there is such a thing as historical truth or objectivity - these are questions that most historians have happily left to one side as unnecessary distractions from their essential work in the archives' (R. Evans, In Defence of History, 1997, p. 9)Nevertheless, in the 21st century, the work of a historian or legal scholar does not stop in the archives. Often, digital or computational techniques are applied in seemingly pedestrian ways such as "searching" full texts, or they are applied in more elaborate methods to transform the historical facts embedded in our precious archival material or legal documents, to answer novel research questions or to explore well-trodden paths from an innovative perspective. 


The application of digital techniques to legal history research is often overlooked or omitted from discussions on methodology. We encourage you to highlight the technical tools or methods that proved effective to your research projects, without neglecting all the trials and errors that helped structure your final choice of any particular technique. You are welcome to illustrate your work with all forms of outputs, from notebooks to graphs, networks, maps, diagrams, etc.. If you have developed software, a database or a dataset that others could reuse, feel welcome to publish it with us. 

General Call for Contributions: continuous call for submissions

Submissions that address legal sources from any historical period and any part of the world are welcome. We actively encourage collaborative and multi-authored pieces by authors from different countries working across disciplines. 

We accept publications in English; we can also support German, French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese but do contact the editorial board in advance. If you wish to publish in another language than mentioned here, please consult us beforehand.

Beyond the following suggestions, feel free to contact us through the DLH website if you have any original ideas that you want to discuss.


Topic suggestions 

  • Original research articles (up to 10,000 words). 
  • Reproduction-pieces: Can the results of classic studies be replicated through DLH-techniques?
  • A dedicated section for your Digital Legal History events: If you are organising a panel, conference or webinar series that prominently features Digital Humanities performed on legal sources, contact us for a dedicated focus section allowing you to publish the papers or conclusions of your meeting.
  • Shorter focus pieces or provocations (around 5,000 words with fewer footnotes).
    • Conference and seminar reports.
    • Spotlight articles: inspiration from other social sciences fields on the promising benefits of specific Digital Humanities techniques that could be successfully applied to Digital Legal History.
  • Presentations or Reviews of softwares, databases, datasets, websites, and platforms.
    • Tutorials: general presentation, application through a specific study angle (legal linguistics, marginalia analysis).
  • Trials & errors: reflections on the productive role of wandering and errors in abandoned, rejected or substantially modified past projects that could help improve the current methodology (inspired by the Journal of Trial & Error).


We are open to submissions in traditional and non-traditional formats: from traditional articles to blog posts, from plain text to linked data or hyperlinked texts, from posters to Notebooks, etc.. Illustrations could be included in the form of notebooks, graphs, diagrams, maps, networks, and images.



Upon receiving your contribution, we aim to publish it within 2-4 months, depending on a positive peer-review. Please send us a short abstract of 150 words, including a provisional title, suggested format and up to five keywords. You can find the detailed guidelines for authors on the journal's website. Please include a short biographical statement for the proposed contributor(s), including the area of expertise, interests, affiliation (if applicable), and any other relevant information. We will respond to all abstract submissions within 14 days (in July and August, this may take a bit longer).

More info:

Call for Contributions: Dedicated Focus-section: "Global DLH: show, tell and teach"

We are pleased to invite proposals from researchers and others working with digital legal history at any stage of their career for a special section of the Journal for Digital Legal History for publication in November 2022. The theme of this section is "Global digital legal history: Show, tell and teach". We actively encourage ECR and researchers from  diverse backgrounds to publish with us (non-English primary sources, institutions based outside Europe and North America) to contribute to this focus-section on the particular challenges they encountered in their research, either through necessary adaptations of certain digital techniques or through decisions to implement specific settings in their collaborative work. 
  • Length: Pieces in this section can count 2,500-5,000 words (up to 10,000 words max.). Consider alternative formats, such as fully explained notebooks, posters with additional explanations or linked videos, tutorials or course outlines. 
  • We accept publications in English; we can also support German, French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese but do contact the editorial board in advance. If you wish to publish in another language than mentioned here, please consult us beforehand. 
  • More info:
  • Timeline: Please send an email before July 1st, 2022, with a short proposal (150 words), including a provisional title and suggested format (and length) for your contribution. Please also include a short biographical statement for the proposed contributor(s), including an area of expertise, interests, affiliation (if applicable), and any other relevant information. We will respond to all submissions within 14 days. Mention in the subject line of the contact form to which CfC you are submitting. Submission of your full contribution (of any kind) before September 30th, 2022. Peer-review reports before November 4th, 2022. Submission of the final version between November 18th - 25th, 2022. Appearance on the website – pending positive peer review – two to three weeks after final submission.
For more information, consult the website of the journal.

dinsdag 7 juni 2022

CALL FOR PAPERS: Business and International Order (EUI, 27-28 October 2022, DEADLINE: 1 September 2022)

Image source: ECOINT website

Business and International Order

ECOINT-Workshop, 27-28 October 2022, EUI, Florence

Organizers: Glenda Sluga (HEC, Director of the ERC-ECOINT Project) and Guilherme Sampaio (HEC, Fellow, ERC-ECOINT Project)


Deadline: 1 September 2022

International organizations are not simply the realm of bureaucrats, diplomats and statesmen. For much of the 20th century, business actors have taken important international roles, both officially and unofficially. Recent work has shown for example that bankers and financiers took key roles in the League of Nations’ Economic and Finance Committee; the International Chamber of Commerce was established in the name of business internationalism, and as a shadow bureaucracy for intergovernmental organisations; in the second half of the 20th century, the United Nations actively sought the involvement of businessmen in the promotion and funding of its programs. The examples are many. Historians are exploring the ways in which neoliberal international actors sought to use the UN, the World Bank, and the IMF to impose visions of a new ordoglobal order in the 1970s. Through the 20th century, business actors of many kinds have seen in international organisations the means to different ends, from peace through the distribution of wealth, to the regulation and control of the world economy, whether through primary commodity controls and wealth redistribution schemes to international business cartels.

This two-day multidisciplinary workshop, part of ECOINT, an ERC-funded project devoted to the history of 20th century international economic thinking, seeks to recover the trajectories of those business actors. Conceived widely and not exclusively, amongst the topics that we would like to discuss are:

  • Business actors and international organisations
  • International economic bureaucracies
  • Political economic activism and the international
  • Imperial designs and international business organisations
  • Economic norms and the practice of international economic thinking
  • Religion and international business circles
Interested contributors should submit their proposal (max. 1 page) and a short CV (max. 1 page) to Guilherme Sampaio by 1 September 2022.

maandag 6 juni 2022

LECTURE: Daniel QUIROGA-VILLAMARIN, ""Suitable Palaces": Navigating Layers of World Ordering at the Centre William Rappard (1923-2013)" (Brussels/MS Teams, 10 June 2022)

Source: VUB CORE


While the intellectual trajectories of international law's "move to Institutions" in the early twentieth century has been often explored in the literature, most accounts divorce their analysis from the seemingly banal histories of "buildings, staffs, and letterheads." Conversely, in this article, I place the spatiality of the Centre William Rappard at the forefront of the history of 20th century internationalisms. Erected to serve the International Labor Organization (in 1926), this building was, among other things, repurposed to host the World Trade Organization (in 1975). In this piece, I reconstruct how struggles over claims of universality can be explored through disputes related to the materiality of this infrastructure of global governance.

This talk will be hybrid (Vrije Universiteit Brussel on-campus - Vergaderzaal PE (3C204) and online, on Teams).

Please contact Arno Swyngedouw for the MS Teams Link:

Source: ESCLH blog

BOOK: Eva-Maria MUSCHIK, Building States The United Nations, Development, and Decolonization, 1945–1965 (Columbia University Press, 2022)

Image Source: Columbia University Press


Postwar multilateral cooperation is often viewed as an attempt to overcome the limitations of the nation-state system. However, in 1945, when the United Nations was founded, large parts of the world were still under imperial control. Building States investigates how the UN tried to manage the dissolution of European empires in the 1950s and 1960s—and helped transform the practice of international development and the meaning of state sovereignty in the process.

Eva-Maria Muschik argues that the UN played a key role in the global proliferation and reinvention of the nation-state in the postwar era, as newly independent states came to rely on international assistance. Drawing on previously untapped primary sources, she traces how UN personnel—usually in close consultation with Western officials—sought to manage decolonization peacefully through international development assistance. Examining initiatives in Libya, Somaliland, Bolivia, the Congo, and New York, Muschik shows how the UN pioneered a new understanding and practice of state building, presented as a technical challenge for international experts rather than a political process. UN officials increasingly took on public-policy functions, despite the organization’s mandate not to interfere in the domestic affairs of its member states. These initiatives, Muschik suggests, had lasting effects on international development practice, peacekeeping, and post-conflict territorial administration.

Casting new light on how international organizations became major players in the governance of developing countries, Building States has significant implications for the histories of decolonization, the Cold War, and international development.


Eva-Maria Muschik is a historian and an assistant professor in the Department of Development Studies at the University of Vienna.

Table of Contents:

Introduction: Managing the World

1. The UN and the Colonial World: International Trusteeship and Non-Self-Governing Territories

2. How to Build a State?: The UN in Libya

3. If Ten Years Suffice for Somaliland . . .

4. Moving Beyond Advice: Pioneering Administrative Assistance in Bolivia

5. Hammarskjöld, Decolonization, and the Proposal for an International Administrative Service

6. State-Building Meets Peacekeeping: UN Civilian Operations in the Congo Crisis, 1960–1964






    Source: Columbia University Press

ARTICLE: P. VAN BERGEIJK, "Sanctions Against the Russian War on Ukraine: Lessons from History and Current Prospects", Journal of World Trade (2022), Vol. 56, Issue 4, 571 – 586

Image Source: Wolters Kluwer


This article studies the case of the sanctions against the Russian war on the Ukraine in 2022 against the background of four major and well-documented historical sanction episodes: (1) the anti-Apartheid sanctions of the 1980s, (2) the sanctions against the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait in 1990, (3) the sanctions against Iranian nuclear capabilities and (4) the US and EU sanctions against the Russian annexation of the Crimea. Two cases (South Africa and Iran) have a comparatively low probability of success based on pre-sanction trade linkage between sender and target and the target’s regime type (the autocracy score). The key to understanding their success is in the banking channel (debt-crisis and international payment system sanctions) and the behaviour of the private sector (divestment and over-compliance). The failure of the sanctions against Iraq underscores the importance of regime type and the need for a viable exit strategy and shows that some decision-makers cannot be influenced with economic hardship. The 2014 sanctions against Russia illustrate the comparative vulnerability of the European democracies and their weakness in organizing comprehensive sanctions that bite. Given the increased Russian resilience, the increasingly autocratic nature of President Putin’s government, the credibility of his 2014 tit-for-tat strategy and the failure of European democracies to implement appropriate strong and broad-based measures, smart and targeted sanctions are unlikely to influence the Kremlin’s calculus. The European Union could only influence that calculus by restoring its reputation as a credible applicant of strong sanctions, including an embargo on capital goods and a boycott of Russian energy. 


Sanctions, Comprehensive sanctions, Smart sanctions, Russia, Ukraine, South Africa, Apartheid, Iran, Iraq, Crimea, comparative case study

For more details, visit the publisher's website.