Thursday, March 31, 2016

Koskenniemi: Expanding Histories of International Law

Martti Koskenniemi (Univ. of Helsinki - Law) has published Expanding Histories of International Law (American Journal of Legal History, Vol. 56, no. 1, pp. 104-112, March 2016). Here's the abstract:
[Since the sixteenth century], sovereignty and property went down different paths, finding themselves, among other places, in the juxtaposition between ‘public international law’ and ‘private law’. New postcolonial studies of international legal history are inspired by a keen interest to trace the ways of power within international legal concepts and institutions. It is hard to see a more compelling justification for any legal history, or perhaps any history tout court. But if power and authority are the ultimate subjects of these histories, then their scope must be expanded to also capture the migration that has separated the two types of law - sovereignty and property - from each other as well as how, despite their different trajectories, the two can only be well understood in their relationship with each other. They are the yin and yang of global power.