Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Workshop: Russia's Global Legal Trajectories: International Law in Eurasia Past and Present

On February 16-17, 2018, the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies and the British Academy will hold a workshop on "Russia's Global Legal Trajectories: International Law in Eurasia Past and Present." Here's the idea:

In Europe and the United States, it is common for public discourse to frame Russia as a state 'outside' international law. However, when we consider the evolution of international law since 1800, we see that Russia was both the source and the object of many international juridical innovations. Perhaps most famously, the 1899 Hague Convention on the Laws of War was initiated by Nicholas II and his ministers, while émigré Russians were central to the evolution of legal doctrines regarding statelessness after 1918. At the same time, refugees from the Soviet Union were the object of the first attempts at an international passport system in the interwar period. Soviet lawyers and diplomats consistently engaged with international law after 1945, helping to shape crucial articles in the Nuremberg Charter and proposing influential formulations of economic and social rights in the early United Nations. Meanwhile, Soviet international legal scholars elaborated theories of international law that attempted an (often uneasy) reconciliation of Marxist scepticism of law as a tool of imperialism and a belief that in the era of 'peaceful coexistence' international law could further both Soviet foreign policy goals and the struggle against global capitalism.

As the above brief summary demonstrates, a global history of international law cannot be told without Russia. This workshop will gather both senior and early career scholars from UK, Russian, US, and European academia to reconsider the role of Russia and the Soviet Union in the history of international law. Uniting specialists in the histories of international criminal law, international humanitarian law, private international law, the international law of intellectual property, human rights, and global migration management, the workshop will ask whether there was a distinctive imperial Russian or Soviet approach to international law and if so, how did changed, developed and evolved over the past two hundred years.

Confirmed speakers include: Vladislav Starzhenetskii (Higher School of Economics Moscow), Peter Holquist (University of Pennsylvania), Tatiana Borisova (Higher School of Economics St Petersburg), Bill Bowring (Birkbeck), Kristy Ironside (McGill), Lauri Malksoo (Tartu), Greg Afinogenov (Georgetown), Julia Leikin (Exeter), Valentyna Polunina (Munich), Franziska Exeler (Berlin), Devika Hovell (LSE) and more.