Conference: History, Politics, Law: Thinking through the International

Organised by:

  • University of Cambridge, Cambridge Centre for Political Thought & Faculty of History
  • Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki
  • Lauterpacht Centre for International Law

Clare College, Cambridge, 16–17 May 2016.  

In recent years, two decisive trends have occurred in the fields of international law and the history of political thought. The ‘historical turn’ in international law has involved students of that discipline in intense reflection on what kind of history intenational law can, and should, have. At the same time, the history of political thought has been undergoing an ‘international’ (or indeed a global) turn, changing its focus from questions arising from thinking of politics and polities in relation to others. As a result, international lawyers and historians of political thought have increasingly been reading each other’s work, meeting each other at conferences, etc., to their mutual benefit. Nevertheless, neither turn has been methodologically very comfortable for its participants, nor have people from either discipline got together to try to think through, in any systematic way, where it is that the history o political thought and the history of international law come together, and where – and if – they must necessarily divide. What is it to do one or the other?

This conference aims to address that subject by bringing together some of the most distinguished practitioners in both fields for a sustained discussion. We begin with a directly methodological opening session, and then proceed to think through the historical in international law, and the international in the history of political thought, in a series of themed conversations. Reflections and a roundtable will bring the discussions to a close, if not a conclusion.

Deadline for registrations: 30 April 2016

Please note, that places for the conference dinner are limited. Book early if you wish to attend.