How to write (international) legal histories that would be true to their protagonists while simultaneously relevant to present audiences? Most of us would also want to write "critically - that is to say, at least by aiming to avoid Eurocentrism, hagiography and commitment to an altogether old-fashioned view of international law as an instrument of progress. hence we write today out histories "in context". But this cannot be all. Framing the relevant "context" is only possible by drawing upon more or less conscious jurisprudential and political preferences. Should attention be focused on academic debates, military power, class structure or assumptions about hte longue durée? Such choices determine for us what we think of as relevant "contexts", and engage us as participants in large conversations about law and power that are not only about once "was" but also what there will be in the future.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Koskenniemi: Vitoria and Us: Thoughts on Critical Histories of International Law
Martti Koskenniemi (Univ. of Helsinki - Law) has published Vitoria and Us: Thoughts on Critical Histories of International Law (Rechtsgeschichte, no. 22, 2014). Here's the abstract: