ESIL Interest Group History of International Law

ESIL Interest Group History of International Law

woensdag 30 september 2015

CALL FOR PAPERS: War, Peace and International Order? The Legacies of The Hague Conferences of 1899 and 1907 (Auckland, 19 April 2016); DEADLINE 2 OCTOBER 2015

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The University of Auckland (Faculty of Arts) and the New Zealand Centre for Human Rights Law, Policy and Practice organise a conference on the 1899 and 1907 Hague Conferences.

More information below:
Keynote Speakers: Professor Randall Lesaffer (Tilburg Law School, Catholic University of Leuven), Dr William Mulligan (University College Dublin), Professor Neville Wylie (University of Nottingham)

Description: Between the various strands of scholarship there is a wide range of understandings of the two Hague Peace Conferences (1899 and 1907). Experts in international law posit that The Hague’s foremost legacy lies in the manner in which it progressed the law of war and international justice. Historians of peace and pacifism view the conferences as seminal moments that legitimated and gave a greater degree of relevance to international political activism. Cultural scholars tend to focus on the symbolic significance of The Hague and the Peace Palace as places for explaining the meaning of peace while diplomatic and military historians tend to dismiss the events of 1899 and 1907 as insignificant ‘footnotes en route to the First World War’ (N.J. Brailey).

Given the sheer diversity of opinion on the two conferences, the Faculty of Arts and the New Zealand Centre for Human Rights Law, Policy and Practice are pleased to jointly host a one-day interdisciplinary conference and invites abstract proposals from interested academics. The conference will be held at the University of Auckland on Tuesday 19 April 2016. The conference seeks to bring together academics from various disciplinary backgrounds to discuss and integrate their perspectives on the two peace conferences at The Hague. The ultimate aim of the conference is to develop a more coherent understanding of the significance of the conferences through interdisciplinary collaboration.

Call for Papers: topics could include, but are not limited to:
The history, legacy and on-going  meaning of the two conferences
The significance of the conventions signed at the conferences
The Hague tradition, both as an idea and a symbolic site of international law
Aspects of international law, diplomacy and politics at the conferences
Ideas of peace, pacifism, internationalism and justice in relation to The Hague

Abstracts are due ON 2 OCTOBER 2015
Abstracts should be no more than 150 words with a brief biography that includes professional affiliation and contact details.
Successful candidates will be notified by mid November 2015.
Conference organizers hope to publish conference proceedings in an edited collection. By submitting an abstract all conference attendees agree in principle to offer an 8000 word chapter to that collection. The full text of these chapters would be due by June 2016.

Submission and Contact Details: To submit abstracts or for any queries regarding the conference, please contact conference organizers through this email address:

Organising Committee: Associate Professor Maartje Abbenhuis, Christopher Barber, Thomas Munro
 More information here.

maandag 28 september 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Nuno Monteiro (Yale) reviews John IKENBERRY (ed.), Power, Order, and Change in World Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. 308 pp. $32.99, ISBN 978-1-107-42106-6 (H-Diplo)

(image source: H-Diplo)

The discussion forum H-Diplo (HNet) features a review by Nuno Monteiro (Yale) of John Ikenberry's collective work Power, Order and Change in World Politics (CUP, 2014).

(image source: Cambridge UP)

First paragraph:
The ninth of Walter Benjamin’s 1940 theses “On the Concept of History” consists of the following controversial observation about Paul Klee’s drawing Angelus Novus (1920): “A Klee painting named Angelus Novus shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.”
 Read the fulltext here.

WORKSHOP: The Law of Nations and Natural Law, 1625-1850 (Lausanne, 5-6 November 2015)

 (image source: Wikimedia Commons)

HSozKult announced an interesting workshop on "The Law of Nations and Natural Law, 1625-1850", organized by Simone Zurbruchen.

This workshop constitutes the second conference of the international research network Natural Law 1625-1850 ( The network is focused on natural law as an academic institution. The ambition is to combine traditional approaches to natural law as a set of ideas with a comprehensive history of academic reception, transmission, and uses that takes into account institutions, political and legal contexts. This ambition will be realized by supplementing the published record of natural law – its textbooks and treatises – with a much wider range of sources. A significant number of scholars in thirteen European countries are currently investigating natural-law texts, commentaries, and pedagogical programs that form the core of a large digitization project. The current focus of the Swiss part of the international project is the teaching of the law of nature and nations at the Academies of Lausanne and Geneva. The main representatives of the école romande du droit naturel (Barbeyrac, Burlamaqui and Vattel), who contributed greatly to the dissemination of the law of nature and nations, especially in the French speaking parts of Europe, are fairly well known. However, during the eighteenth and much of the nineteenth century, the subject was taught by a great number of professors, some of whom played an important role in local learned societies, in legal practice and in politics. This extensive academic activity is now being researched. Biographies, bibliographies as well as archival materials will be published on the website:
The subject of this second international workshop is the law of nations (ius gentium). For a long time there was no clear distinction between the ius inter gentes and the ius intra gentes, but during the Enlightenment, the law of nations came to denote “the science which teaches the rights subsisting between nations or states, and the obligations correspondent to those rights” (Vattel), i.e., the discipline that is called today public international law. The aim of the workshop is to bring out the peculiar traits of the law of nations as it was conceived within the tradition of modern natural law. In order to assess its importance, this project needs to be envisaged on the background of recent scholarship on the history of public international law. During the past thirty years, the history of public international law has become an important field of research in various disciplines. New discussions of the origin, growth, and evolution of international law from the fifteenth century until the end of World War II are at the origin of different proposals for re-interpreting the history of international law and legal discourse, mainly from the perspective of those who were largely excluded from participating in this discourse, such as colonized nations, indigenous peoples, and religious or cultural minorities. By putting into question the classical narrative of international law as a success story of progress, the new de-centered interpretations aim at showing how international law was used by the center as a means to dominate and exploit the periphery, by revealing the hegemonic character of legal discourses and human rights principles. Much of the recent literature testifies to an overall attempt at re-interpreting the history of international law and legal discourse in terms of an ideology legitimizing European colonialism and imperialism. One of the guiding questions in this workshop is whether and to what extent the law of nations as it was conceived within the tradition of modern natural law beginning with Grotius’ De iure belli ac pacis (1625) fits into this counter-narrative of the history of international law. In a recent article, Emmanuelle Tourme-Jouannet points out that the justification of colonization was by no means the central aim of the modern law of nature and nations. Unlike Grotius, the main representatives of this tradition in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries paid comparatively little attention to the antagonism between “civilized” Europeans and “barbarian” others. They were more concerned with the “barbarians” within Europe and aimed at developing a code of conduct suitable to discipline the European nations. The main question after the peace of Westphalia was how to bring independent sovereign states or nations into peaceful coexistence. As Kant pointed out in critical vein in his essay On perpetual peace, this implied that war was considered to be a legitimate means to restrain aggression. This explains why the law of war (jus ad bellum, jus in bello) was part of the law of nations. So far, accounts of the history of the modern law of nations have mainly focused on a restricted number of classical treaties such as the published works of Grotius, Pufendorf, Thomasius, Rachel, Bynkershoek, Wolff and Vattel. While lesser known figures have occasionally been dealt with in the specialized literature, we still know comparatively little about this very rich tradition of moral and legal thinking and its influence on the law and legal practice in various European countries. In this context, the fact that the law of nature and nations constituted, from the late seventeenth until the middle of the nineteenth century, a teaching subject at a great number of Universities and other institutions of higher education throughout Europe, no doubt plays a crucial role. The workshop will bring together participants in the research network Natural Law 1625-1850, who are currently working on archival materials related to the law of nations in various European countries, and specialists on the history of international law dealing with more general questions such as those mentioned above. The results of the workshop will be published in a volume that will be part of a series that Brill is expected to publish under the general editorship of the three directors of the network, Frank Grunert (Halle), Knud Haakonssen (St. Andrews/Erfurt) and Diethelm Klippel (Bayreuth). This particular volume will be edited by the organiser of the conference, Simone Zurbuchen (Lausanne).


Thursday, November 5
Panel 1: The Law of Nations, Europe and the New World
(Chair: Kari Saastamoinen, Helsinki)
09.15 – 10.00 Knud Haakonssen (St. Andrews/Erfurt): Opening Lecture “The Law of Nations in the Natural Law Curriculum”
10.00 – 10.45 Vincent Chetail (Geneva): “Sovereignty and Migration in the Doctrine of the Law of Nations from Vitoria to Vattel”
11.15 – 12.00 Hans W. Blom (Rotterdam): “Popularising by Adapting: Early Dutch Compendia to De iure Belli ac Pacis”
12.00 – 12.45 Pärtel Piirimäe (Tartu): “Barbarians in Early Modern Law of Nations”
Panel 2: The Law of Nations between Pufendorf and Vattel
(Chair: Béla Kapossy, Lausanne)
14.15 – 15.00 Peter Schröder (London): “Seventeenth Century Lex Mercatoria, Natural Law & the Law of Nations”
15.00 – 15.45 Michael Seidler (Bowling Green, KY, USA): “Between Pufendorf and Vattel: the Terrain of Dissertationes”
16.15 – 17.00 Mads Langballe Jensen (Copenhagen): “Jus gentium and Natural Law in Denmark around 1700”
17.00 – 17.45 Katharina Beiergrösslein, Iris von Dorn (Bayreuth): “Natural Law for the Nobility. Natur- und Völkerrecht at the Ritter-Academy Erlangen (1701-1741)”
Friday, November 6
Panel 3: The Law of Nations and the Ecole romande du droit naturel
(Chair: Ian Hunter, Graceville, AUS)
09.15 – 10.00 Simone Zurbuchen (Lausanne): “Teaching the Law of Nations in Lausanne and Geneva in the 18th century”
10.00 – 10.45 Lisa Broussois (Lausanne): “Burlamaqui and Rousseau on the Law of War and the Law of Nations”
11.15 – 12.00 Elisabetta Fiocchi Malaspina (Milan): “The Circulation of the Ecole romande du droit naturel in Eighteenth-Century Italy”
12.00 – 12.45 Gabriella Silvestrini (Alessandria): “Political Law and the Law of Nations: the General Principles of the Duties of a Nation towards herself according to Emer de Vattel”
Panel 4: The Law of Nations from 18th century Germany into the 19th century
(Chair: Simone Zurbuchen, Lausanne)
14.15 – 15.00 Frank Grunert (Halle): “International Law as a topic in German Historia Literaria”
15.00 – 15.45 Thomas Ahnert (Edinburgh): “Christian Wolff’s Jus Gentium and the Scientific Method”
16.15 – 17.00 Diethelm Klippel (Bayreuth): “Kant in Context. The Contemporary Debate on Kant’s Essay On Perpetual Peace”
17.00 – 17.45 Miloš Vec (Vienna): “Mythical Positivism: Natural Law in 19th Century International Law Doctrine”

dinsdag 15 september 2015

BOOK: Heinhard STEIGER, Universalität und Partikularität des Völkerrechts in geschichtlicher Perspektive [Studien zur Völkerrechtsgeschichte, 33], Baden-Baden, Nomos Verlag, 2015, 519 p. ISBN 9783848723997, € 142

(image source: Nomos)

Prof. em. dr. H. Steiger (Giessen) published Universalität und Partikularität des Völkerrechts in geschichtlicher Perspektive with Nomos Verlag. This collection of essays is a follow-up to his earlier Von der Staatengesellschaft zur Weltrepublik? (Nomos, 2009).

Völkerrechtsgeschichte ist international und global ein aufstrebendes Fach. Die hier gesammelten Aufsätze thematisieren die Geschichte des Völkerrechts in der Spannung zwischen den beiden Polen Universalität und Partikularität des Völkerrechts.
Der erste Teil der hier aufgenommenen Aufsätze ist unmittelbar oder mittelbar Fragen der Universalität des Völkerrechts und einer universellen oder globalen Völkerrechtshistoriographie gewidmet. In den Aufsätzen des zweiten Teils werden unterschiedliche Fragestellungen des partikularen europäischen Völkerrechts erörtert. Die Aufsätze sind bis auf den fünften Aufsatz zwischen 2008 und 2015 erschienen. Der Band schließt an den 2009 in dieser Reihe erschienenen ersten Aufsatzband „Von der Staatengesellschaft zur Weltrepublik?“ an. 
An excerpt can be downloaded for free here.

(source: International Law Reporter)

dinsdag 8 september 2015

LECTURE SERIES AND DOCTORAL SEMINARS: International Order and Justice (Ghent Law Faculty, 0ct 2015-May 2016)

In the course of the academic year 2015-16, the Ghent law faculty will organize a specialist course for doctoral students, whereby eight established international law experts will each give a public lecture on a specific topic, while also participating in a closed session for a smaller group of doctoral researchers.

Confirmed speakers participating in the ‘International Order and Justice Lecture Series’ are: Professor Olivier Corten (October), Judge Antônio Cançado Trinade (November), Prof. Klaus Kress (December), Prof. Martti Koskenniemi (February), Dr. Marko Milanovic (March), Prof. Kevin Jon Heller (March), Sir Michael Wood (April) and Prof. Robert Kolb (May). 
Doctoral students (whether from Ghent or from another university) interested in presenting a paper in one of the closed sessions, can signal their interest by submitting a short abstract with the organizers (; 

Doctoral students can either register for separate lectures, or for the entire series – in which case they can obtain an ECTS certificate from the Ghent University Doctoral Schools Administration.

The specialist course is organized in partnership with the VUB and KUL, and with the financial support of the Belgian Society for International Law and the ILA Belgium

For details on the lecture series, see this flyer.

To register for the ensuing doctoral seminars, please use the following link:

BOOK: Olivier PONCET (dir.), Diplomatique et diplomatie: les traités (Moyen Âge-début XXe siècle) [Études et rencontres de l'ENC, 45], Paris: Le Comptoir des Presses d'Université, 2015, 216 p. ISBN 9782357230712, € 28.

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Olivier Poncet (École Nationale des Chartes, Paris) published the acta of a colloquium held in Paris in 2011 on the fascinating theme of interactions between the study of authentic documents ("diplomatique") and inter-state relations ("diplomatie").

De la diplomatique à la diplomatie, il n'y a que deux lettres. La proximité entre les deux termes n'est pas qu'un phénomène d'allitération: la diplomatique, et la diplomatique des traités en particulier, est après tout un reflet du rapport de force et de la culture des sociétés dans lesquelles elle se développe. Par l’analyse qu’elle fait de la rédaction et de la validation des traités, elle permet d’explorer la formation et l’évolution d’une culture européenne de l’écrit, du Moyen Âge au XIXe siècle. Les divers états du texte qu’elle met au jour invitent ainsi à revisiter une composante essentielle de la négociation diplomatique: la recherche du meilleur accord possible, dans des termes acceptés et partagés par tous. Par nature fruit d’une collaboration, d’une relecture partagée, d’une application normalement consentie, les traités sont nécessairement le résultat d’un dialogue, d’un compromis. Ils font l’objet d’attentions particulières, d’abord dans l’acheminement progressif vers la décision de les conclure, ensuite dans leur rédaction, de leur genèse jusqu’à leur ultime validation, enfin dans leur réception et leur diffusion.
Les études de ce recueil tentent de répondre à quelques-unes des questions posées par cette documentation singulière avec les armes du questionnaire de la diplomatique. Elles apportent des éléments tangibles à l’appréciation de l’émergence de l’État moderne, dont les traités sont aussi la manifestation: de la convergence des modèles à la dissolution des modalités pratiques d’écriture sur la longue période allant du Moyen Âge au début de l’époque contemporaine, les voies empruntées témoignent de l’originalité du processus européen de civilisation.
 Table of contents:
Olivier Poncet – La diplomatique des traités médiévaux et modernes : une évidence manifeste ?
Première partie : Évolutions du Moyen Âge au Consulat
Olivier Guyotjeannin – Le traité comme produit de chancellerie. Autour du cas français (milieu XIIIe-fin XVe siècle) ;
Roseline Claerr – La diplomatique des traités sous Henri II ;
Marc Belissa – Continuités et ruptures avec l'Ancien Régime dans les traités du Directoire et du Consulat (1795-1802).
Deuxième partie : Les mots des traités de la diplomatie à la diplomatique
Bertrand Haan – Lier par l'écrit. L'élaboration des traités de paix au XVIe siècle ;
Bernard Barbiche – Les traités conclus entre le roi de France et ses sujets rebelles (fin XVIe-début XVIIe siècle) ;
Guido Braun  – La rédaction des articles du traité de Münster concernant la cession des Trois-Évêchés et de l'Alsace à la France.
Troisième partie : La tradition des traités
Madeleine Haehl et Françoise Hildesheimer – L'enregistrement des traités (XVIe-XVIIIe siècle). Autour de la paix d'Utrecht ;
Rémi Mathis – Faire lire la paix. Édition et diffusion des traités diplomatiques français (XVIe-XVIIIe siècle).
Patrick Arabeyre – Conclusions
 More information on the publisher's website.

vrijdag 4 september 2015

REMINDER: ESIL Conference Oslo, workshop "Dreaming of the Rule of International Law" (9 September 2015)

(image source: ESIL)

The ESIL Interest Group History of International Law holds its meeting on 9 September 2015 in Oslo, just before the ESIL Conference.

We look forward to welcoming you there !

The program is fixed on top of our blog.

All practical details can be found here.