course
DI019 | Spring | 6 ECTS

History and Theory of International Law

This course operates at the nexus of public international law, politics of international law, history of legal and political thought, and intellectual history. It aims at deepening our understanding of international law by exploring the intellectual foundations of contemporary international law. Without knowledge of the origins of international law and the various theoretical approaches in its regard, today’s prevailing concepts and principles are hard to understand and alternatives for the future are difficult to grasp. Each week we read texts by historic as well as contemporary scholars – from Grotius, Hobbes, Leibniz, Kant, and Hegel, to the early twentieth century scholars, such as Hans Kelsen, Hersch Lauterpacht and Inis Claude, to today’s ‘post-modernist’ or critical legal scholars, such as Martti Koskenniemi, Anne Orford, and Duncan Kennedy, and their critics. We will discuss core concepts such as sovereignty; just war; balance of power; accountability; individual rights and duties; but also examine how the history of colonialism helps us understand what is currently happening in the sphere of ‘Big Data’. We will end this course with a discussion of the responsibility of the international lawyer today. This course combines both a lecturing and a seminar style of teaching. The course runs in the Spring Semester of 2020. Four hrs of teaching a week.