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25 August 2016

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS: ESIL RESEARCH FORUM, Granada: Workshop "Neutrality in the History of International Law - Myths and Evolving Realities"; DEADLINE 15 DEC 2016


(image source: Wikimedia Commons)

No law is neutral. Law is always a mirror of the value-system and the power structure  underlying  any  given  society  at  any  point  in  time and international law has never been an exception to this rule. A different, and yet related matter, is the extent to which the law applies equally (or not) to all members of any given society, the extent to which these members participate as equals (or not) in the formation of international law and the extent to which the law is effectively (or not) applied in an objective and un-biased manner (what is, commonly known, as 'neutrally') by international bodies and adjudicators charged with applying it to international situations or with settling disputes between any given parties. The aspiration towards 'neutrality'  (as  such  conceived)  of  international  law  in  its  quest  for  an ever-greater  legitimacy,  has, undoubtedly, evolved  throughout  different historical  periods.  


Neutrality  in  the  history  of  international  law can,  on the other hand, also be understood as a legal institution. Neutrality as a legal  institution  was  born  as a  synonym  for  emancipation  from  a  rigorous moral  top-down  juridical-moral  framework  inherited  from  theology. Its theoretical  blossoming  went  in  parallel  with  the  consolidation  of  the principle  of  sovereign  equality  of  nations  and  the  principle  of  non-intervention in domestic affairs during the transition of the classical law of nations to modern international law. Since the establishment of the first international  institutions  with  universal  and  permanent  character, neutrality  as  a  legal  institution  has  continued  to  evolve  against  the background  provided  by  the  ever-shifting  chessboard  of  international relations  and  proliferating  international  institutions. 


Finally,  the relationship of neutrality and the history of international law can be also examined  through  the  lenses  of  the  neutrality  (or  lack  of)  of  history writing itself. If all history is, as B. Croce noted, contemporary history (by which it is generally meant that all history writing is, in one degree or other, done from the perspective of the present and also that all history writing  constitutes  an  intervention  in  the  present)  could  any  historical account  possibly  aspire  to  be  considered  a  'neutral'  history  of international law? And, if so, under what criteria?
   
The  Interest  Group  of  the  History  of  International  Law  welcomes  abstracts that  engage  critically  with  any  of  these  dimensions  of  neutrality  in  the history  of  international  law  or  a  combination  thereof  in  historical perspective  by  reference  to  relevant  episodes  in  the  history  of international law and/or different historiographical schools.   
 
Each submission should include:
– An abstract of no more than 400 words, the intended language of presentation,
– A short curriculum vitae containing the author’s  name,  institutional  affiliation,  contact  information  and  e-mail address.
Applications should be submitted to both Ignacio de la Rasilla del Moral (ignacio.delarasillaydelmoral@graduateinstitute.ch);  and Frederik  Dhondt (frederik.dhondt@vub.ac.be)   by  15th December  2016.  All  applicants  will  be notified of the outcome of the selection process by 15th January 2017
Selection will be based on scholarly merit and with regard to producing an engaging  workshop,  without  prejudice  to  gender,  seniority,  language  or geographical  location.  Please  note  that  the  ESIL  Interest  Group  on  the History  of  International  Law  is  unable  to  provide  funds  to  cover  the conference registration fee or related transport and accommodation costs.  

More information on the Research Forum (30-31 March 2017) can be found on the website of the European Society of International Law.

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