Thursday, December 18, 2008

Call for Papers: Changing Futures? Science and International Law

The American Society of International Law and the European Society of International Law have issued a call for papers for a joint conference on "Changing Futures? Science and International Law." Here's the call:

International law does not exist in a vacuum, and one of its more complicated relationships to the outside world is its relationship to science. First, as Hans Kelsen has proposed, international law itself can be studied scientifically, and thus international legal scholarship may be qualified as ‘science’. This applies not only to international law as such but also to some of its more detailed applications: even such activities as treaty interpretation are regularly subject to scientific analysis. Second, international law contains rules governing the acceptability of scientific and technological data in areas such as food safety or health. Third, international law forms part of the raw data used in other sciences. Thus, political scientists, economists, historians, and ethicists (to name just a few) all make use of insights from international law to a greater or lesser extent. Fourth, international law is sometimes based on the insights gained from other sciences: political scientists may contribute to treaty design, while environmental scientists may help determine the substance of and indeed provide the justification for environmental protection agreements. Fifth, sometimes international law is used itself to protect scientific insights and understandings. Intellectual property rights law is a prominent example. Sixth, international law may also be used to protect the objects of scientific research. Here, a prominent example is the protection of archaeological sites.

While the above list is by no means exhaustive, it does illustrate just how wide-ranging the connections between science and international law can be. The Third Research Forum, co-organized by ESIL and ASIL and taking place in Helsinki on 2-3 October 2009, aims to chart the terrain and explore the complexities of this multifaceted relationship. To this end, international lawyers (and others, of course, provided they are members of either ESIL or ASIL, or both) are invited to submit abstracts in order to participate in panel discussions on the following, fairly broad, topics:

  • Data Protection and International Law
  • Climate Change and Global Environmental Protection
  • Hermeneutics and Interpretation
  • Global Health Issues
  • Food Safety and the Protection of Animals, Plants and Humans
  • Arms Control and Disarmament
  • Scientific Evidence in International Adjudication
  • Genetically Modified Organisms and the Law of World Trade
  • Intellectual Property Rights
  • The Metaphysics of Economics in International Law and Global Governance
  • The Science of International Law/International Law as Science
  • Developments in the Law of the Sea, including Maritime Delimitation
  • Developments in the Law of Outer Space

Abstracts should consist of no more than 150 words, be clear, concise and to the point, and be accompanied by a brief curriculum vitae. They may be written in English or French. Please indicate for which panel the abstract is intended. There will be, eventually, 8-10 panels with three or four panellists each. Abstracts should be sent both to and by 15 February, 2009. Selected presenters will be informed before the end of March 2009 and provisional papers should be submitted before the end of July. Speakers will be exempted from the conference fee and a limited number of scholarships will be available to help cover travel and accommodation costs.