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Imperialism, Sovereignty and the Making of International Law
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  • Page extent: 380 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.73 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 341
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: KZ3410 .A54 2005
  • LC Subject headings:
    • International law
    • Imperialism
    • Sovereignty
    • Indigenous peoples--Legal status, laws, etc

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521828925 | ISBN-10: 0521828929)

DOI: 10.2277/0521828929

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

 (Stock level updated: 17:01 GMT, 27 November 2015)


This book argues that the colonial confrontation was central to the formation of international law and, in particular, its founding concept, sovereignty. Traditional histories of the discipline present colonialism and non-European peoples as peripheral concerns. By contrast, Anghie argues that international law has always been animated by the 'civilizing mission' - the project of governing non-European peoples, and that the economic exploitation and cultural subordination that resulted were constitutively significant for the discipline. In developing these arguments, the book examines different phases of the colonial encounter, ranging from the sixteenth century to the League of Nations period and the current 'war on terror'. Anghie provides a new approach to the history of international law, illuminating the enduring imperial character of the discipline and its continuing importance for peoples of the Third World. This book will be of interest to students of international law and relations, history, post-colonial studies and development studies.

• Is the only book to offer an in-depth examination of the relationship between imperialism and international law and the enduring consequences of this for the peoples of the Third World • Suggests a new approach to the history of international law, seeking to displace established Eurocentric approaches that have prevailed for centuries • Covers different aspects of the history of international law, ranging from the fifteenth century and the League of Nations period to the current 'war against terror'


Acknowledgements; Table of cases; Table of treaties; Introduction; 1. Francisco de Vitoria and the colonial origins of international law; (i) Introduction; (ii) Vitoria and the problem of universal law; (iii) War, sovereignty and the transformation of the Indian; (iv) Conclusion; 2. Finding the peripheries: colonialism in nineteenth-century international law; (i) Introduction; (ii) Elements of positivist jurisprudence; (iii) Defining and excluding the uncivilized; (iv) Native personality and managing the colonial encounter; (v) Reconceptualizing sovereignty; 3. Colonialism and the birth of international institutions: the mandate of the League of Nations; (i) Introduction; (ii) Creation of the mandate system; (iii) The league of nations and the new international law; (iv) The mandate system and colonial problems; (v) The mandate system and the construction of the non-European state; (vi) Government, sovereignty, and economy; (vii) The mandate and the discussion of sovereignty; (viii) The legacies of the mandate system: toward the present; (ix) Conclusion; 4. Sovereignty and the post-colonial state; (i) Introduction; (ii) Decolonization and the universality of international law; (iii) Development, nationalism and the post-colonial state; (iv) Development and the reform of international law; (v) Permanent sovereignty over natural resource and the new international economic order; (vi) The 1962 resolution on PSNR; (vii) The 1974 charter of rights and duties among states; (viii) Colonialism and the emergence of transnational law; (ix) Sources of law and international contracts; (x) Overview and conclusions; 5. Governance and globalization, civilization and commerce; (i) Introduction; (ii) Good governance and the third world; (iii) Governance, human rights and the universal; (iv) International financial institutions, human rights and good governance; (v) International financial institutions and the mandate system; (vi) Conclusions and overview; 6. On making war on the terrorists: imperialism as self-defense; (i) Introduction; (ii) The war against terrorism (WAT); (iii) The United States and imperial democracy; (iv) Historical origins: war, conquest and self-defense; (v) Terrorism and the United Nations: a Victorian moment; (vi) Terrorism, self-defense and third world sovereignty; Conclusion.


'…a particularly important [book] for international lawyers, scholars and activists to read.' American Journal of International Law

'Anghie's narrative venture at reading the devastating histories of the making of the 'modern' and 'contemporary' international law, relations, and organization remains especially compelling. He brings home the roles of imperialism in full play, and war, in the contemporary remake of international law.' Leiden Journal of International Law

'Anghie makes an important contribution to the field of international law.' Law and Politics Book Review

'… much of this book will be of great interest beyond the discipline of international law - particularly to scholars of international relations, and post-colonial and development studies … an excellent and most welcome contribution' European Journal of International Law

'…argued meticulously and compellingly and should be required reading for all scholars of international law.' Modern Law Review

`Imperialism, Sovereignty and International Law is a work of expert scholarship that is simultaneously accessible and engaging. It inspires a questioning of our assumptions about international law about the motivations for our own work. It should be read by anyone interested in the future of international law.' Sydney Law Review

`…Anghie's book is a thoroughgoing account that gives voice to sentiments that seldom see the light of day, let alone are adjudged worthy of dissemination by a prestigious press. The rereading of international law is a useful corrective to conventional perspectives that normalize subjugation and its rationalization by any means necessary' Law and Society Review

`Anghie's book lays out an excellent argument for the colonial background of international law and its institutions, and it does so with numerous fresh insights and clear command of a wide range of materials' Law and History Review.

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