ESIL Interest Group History of International Law

ESIL Interest Group History of International Law

woensdag 17 augustus 2022

BOOK: Claire VERGERIO, War, States, and International Order: Alberico Gentili and the Foundational Myth of the Laws of War (Cambridge University Press, 2022)

Image source: CUP

Who has the right to wage war? The answer to this question constitutes one of the most fundamental organizing principles of any international order. Under contemporary international humanitarian law, this right is essentially restricted to sovereign states. It has been conventionally assumed that this arrangement derives from the ideas of the late-sixteenth century jurist Alberico Gentili. Claire Vergerio argues that this story is a myth, invented in the late 1800s by a group of prominent international lawyers who crafted what would become the contemporary laws of war. These lawyers reinterpreted Gentili's writings on war after centuries of marginal interest, and this revival was deeply intertwined with a project of making the modern sovereign state the sole subject of international law. By uncovering the genesis and diffusion of this narrative, Vergerio calls for a profound reassessment of when and with what consequences war became the exclusive prerogative of sovereign states. 
  • Explores the origins of our modern understanding of warfare in international law
  • Combines international relations, history, and international law to cast new light on an old debate
  • Formulates and deploys an intellectual historical method for the study of the reception of great thinkers in international relations
Table of Contents:

1. Context, reception, and the study of great thinkers in International Relations

Part I. Gentili's De iure Belli in its Original Context:

2. Alberico Gentili's De iure Belli: Between Bodin and the reason of state tradition

3. Grounding an absolutist approach to the laws of war

Part II. Gentili's De iure Belli and the Myth of 'Modern War':

4. Unearthing the 'true founder' of international law

5. Constructing the history of the 'modern' laws of war

6. Carl Schmitt and the entrenchment of the myth.

More information with CUP.