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Mestizo International Law
A Global Intellectual History 1842–1933

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Part of Cambridge Studies in International and Comparative Law

  • Date Published: January 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521763387

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About the Authors
  • The development of international law is conventionally understood as a history in which the main characters (states and international lawyers) and events (wars and peace conferences) are European. Arnulf Becker Lorca demonstrates how non-Western states and lawyers appropriated nineteenth-century classical thinking in order to defend new and better rules governing non-Western states' international relations. By internalizing the standard of civilization, for example, they argued for the abrogation of unequal treaties. These appropriations contributed to the globalization of international law. With the rise of modern legal thinking and a stronger international community governed by law, peripheral lawyers seized the opportunity and used the new discourse and institutions such as the League of Nations to dissolve the standard of civilization and codify non-intervention and self-determination. These stories suggest that the history of our contemporary international legal order is not purely European; instead they suggest a history of a mestizo international law.

    • The global history of international law offers an alternative to the mostly Europe-centric existing histories
    • Explores the history of international law in non-Western locations such as China, Japan, Latin America, Russia and the Middle East
    • Examines how non-Western lawyers used international legal rules and doctrines to resist Western domination and intervention
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    • Winner, 2016 European Society for International Law Book Prize

    Reviews & endorsements

    'A global history of international law on a grand scale.' Jus Gentium: Journal of International Legal History

    '… the book succeeds in its goal of unveiling an underdeveloped narrative in the history of international law. Lorca's core/periphery framework remains salient today, as Western countries continue to justifiably or unjustifiably intervene in peripheral states.' Richard Harris, Shixue Hu and Mattie Wheeler, The Yale Journal of International Law

    '… the book offers a wealth of knowledge, and a deep critique and reframing of our understanding of the system of international law, a perspective that should interest most of us involved in theorizing the international system.' Pierre-Alexandre Cardinal, Revue québécoise de droit international

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2015
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521763387
    • length: 420 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.73kg
    • contains: 6 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Mestizo International Law:
    1. Why a global intellectual history of international law?
    Part II. Universal International Law:
    2. Appropriating classical legal thought
    3. The imposition and negotiation of rules: hybridity and functional equivalences
    4. The expansion of nineteenth-century international law as circulation
    Part III. The Fall of Classical Thought and the Turn to Modern International Law:
    5. Sovereignty beyond the West, the end of classical international law
    6. Modern international law: good news for the semi-periphery?
    Part IV. Modern International Law:
    7. Petitioning the international: a 'pre-history' of self-determination
    8. Circumventing self-determination: league membership and armed resistance
    9. Codifying international law: statehood and non-intervention

  • Author

    Arnulf Becker Lorca, Brown University, Rhode Island
    Arnulf Becker Lorca is a member of the International Relations Program at Brown University, Rhode Island. His research traces the global intellectual history of international law focusing on the role non-Western international lawyers have played in the construction of the international legal order between the second half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century.


    • Winner, 2016 European Society for International Law Book Prize

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