Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Workshop: Territoriality in the History of International Law

On November 9, 2017, the Institute for International Law and Justice at New York University School of Law will hold a workshop on "Territoriality in the History of International Law." The program is here. Here's the idea:
Twenty-first century international law holds that territory is a fundamental characteristic of a state. Indeed, the Montevideo Convention of 1933, which articulated the most widely-cited modern definition of the state, lists territory as the second of four vital characteristics of a state under international law: a population, a territory, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other states. Yet, territory was not always essential to the conception of statehood. As little as a century ago, territory was a more contested characteristic than the Montevideo Convention implies, particularly in the colonial world, but also elsewhere. It was argued that people, rather than territory, formed the basis of statehood. Cadastral mapping, the Torrens system, the movement of peoples, and legal protection, for example, all bespoke alternative modes of “being a state,” in which territory was either secondary or absent. This IILJ fall 2017 mini-workshop rereads historical state practices to problematize the unquestioned relationship between territoriality and the state.