Call for Papers: Beyond the Western Paradigm?:Towards a Global History of International Law



Event Date: 

04/21/16 to 04/22/16

Location name: 



Koç University Law School and the Center for Global Public Law in Istanbul

On the occasion of the ESIL Research Forum (Koç University Law School and the Center for Global Public Law in Istanbul, 21-22 April 2016) the ESIL Interest Group on the History of International Law hereby invites submissions, in English or in French, for a Workshop on global approaches to the history of international law. The workshop targets scholars at an early stage of their careers, especially PhD students and post-doctoral researchers.


Since its inception the discipline of the history of international law has been approached from the perspective of European states. Teleological visions of history as progress often dominate the discourse of textbooks on international law, making the implicit claim that it was the providence of European states to gradually, from the 15th century onwards, create a universal and ‘globalised’ world order. Attempts have been made to alter this discourse by alternatively highlighting the disruptive aspects of Western international law in the service of European imperialism and by pointing out the criticism offered by non-Western states and scholars against instances of European oppression. In light of these developments recent scholarschip has called for the creation of a ‘global’ history of international law which moves beyond the traditional Eurocentric paradigm and which also awards a voice to indigenous and non-Western histories of international law. This raises questions as to the methodology and the substance of a global history of international law.


In light of these questions, the IGHIL invites submissions from phd researchers and post-doctoral researchers within the fields of international law, history, legal history and politics on topics relating to:

a)      ‘histories’ of international law from a global perspective with an emphasis on the historical state practice and intellectual history of indigenous people and non-Western States relating to international law

b)      the historical relationship and interaction between non-Western and Western international law including stories of participation and confrontation with respect to, for example, human rights, humanitarian international law, international criminal law, etc.

c)      the methodological challenges of a global history of international law, including questions of periodisation, epistemology, narrative, etc.


Each submission should include:

a) An abstract of no more than 400 words;

b) The intended language of presentation;

c) A short curriculum vitae containing the author’s name, institutional affiliation, contact information and e-mail address.


Abstracts must be submitted no later than 15 January 2016 to  Shavana Musa ( on behalf of the Steering Committee of the Interest Group, which shall collectively supervise the peer-review process of the abstracts. Applicants will be notified on the outcome of the selection process by 15 February 2016.