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International Law in the Historical Present Tense


Since it is traditionally labelled the most neglected aspect of the field, different triggering factors might account for the so-called ‘historical turn’ in international law in the post-Cold War era. On the material side, the preconditions for professional work in this area have been met by a certain democratization of research brought about by the progressive incorporation of new technologies and a trendy rising demand for international lego-historically oriented work from the publishing side. The emergence of specialist journals, the consecration – as a matter of editorial policy – of special issues in reputed publications to key historical doctrinal figures of international law, and the appearance of a number of emblematic book-length works (which have, in their turn, contributed to feeding the industry of historical international legal commentary) feature both as cause and as nurturing ongoing effect of the contemporary ‘global surge of interest in the history of international law and its scholarship’. While admittedly receptive in its evolutionary dynamics to these favourable background material academic conditions, a number of intra-disciplinary rationales should be concomitantly examined so as to account for the accompanying scholarly spiritual drive that has made it possible that the history of international law might today claim a disciplinary status of its own.

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R. Lessafer , ‘The Grotian Tradition Revisited: Change and Continuity in the History of International Law’, (2003) 73 British Yearbook of International Law 103

P. Macalister-Smith and J. Schwietzke , ‘Literature and Documentary Sources Relating to the History of Public International Law: An Annotated Bibliographical Survey’, (1999) 1 Journal of the History of International Law, 136

R. St. J. Macdonald , ‘Editorial’, (1999) 1 Journal of the History of International Law 1

R. Cryer , ‘Déjà vu in International Law’, (2002) 65 Modern Law Review 931

G. Mettraux , ‘Review’, (2003) 3 International Criminal Law Review 79

I. Hueck , ‘Review’, (2003) 21 German History 425

M. Stolleis , ‘Review’, (2004) 73 Nordic Journal of International Law 265

F. R. Tesón , ‘The Kantian Theory of International Law’ (1992) 92 Columbia Law Review 53

I. J. Hueck ., ‘The Discipline of the History of International Law: New Trends and Methods on the History of International Law’, (2001) 3 Journal of the History of International Law 194, at 212–17

D. Cass , ‘Navigating the New Stream: Recent Critical Legal Scholarship in International Law’ (1996) 65 Nordic Journal of International Law 341

J. W. Singer , ‘Legal Realism Now’ (1988) 76 California Law Review 465, at 476

Duncan Kennedy , ‘The Paradox of American Legal Realism’, (1997) 3 European Law Journal 366

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Leiden Journal of International Law
  • ISSN: 0922-1565
  • EISSN: 1478-9698
  • URL: /core/journals/leiden-journal-of-international-law
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