Study of International Law

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Rousing from Dogmatic Slumbers

Editor’s Note:  Over the next week, EJIL:Talk! is running a Book Discussion, reflecting on Don Herzog’s Sovereignty RIP. Reviewers include Jack Goldsmith, Neil Walker, Heike Krieger and James Gathii. We begin today with Don Herzog's introduction. Thank you to all of the contributors.  I’m a political theorist, not an international lawyer. (I’m not even a lawyer.) So I’m especially grateful to EJIL: Talk! for letting me introduce my book on sovereignty to this community, and keen to hear what my interlocutors have to say about it. Other political theorists have written on the ontology of sovereignty, the metaphysics of sovereignty, even – trust Jacques Derrida to put things in overdrive – the “onto-theological metaphysics” of sovereignty. I’ll just say that’s not my approach. Still others have proceeded as intellectual historians, concerned with texts and discourses. I’m happy to consider texts, and with relentless unoriginality I conscript the likes of Bodin, Hobbes, and Grotius as articulating what I call the classic theory of sovereignty. To secure social order, goes the theory,…

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The Myth and Mayhem of ‘Build Back Better’: Human Rights Decision-Making and Human Dignity Imperatives in COVID-19

Human rights were already under siege everywhere around the world before COVID-19.  But there is also a dawning race now against reaching the ‘twilight of human rights law’, due to: 1) authoritarian regimes’ dismissal of the relevance of human rights while using this pandemic to expand and consolidate their power, such as to silence speech,…

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Concluding Rejoinder: The Art of International Law and Altruism of International Lawyers

In the introductory essay, I sought to apply The Art of Law in the International Community as a response not only to military force and other ills, but to the COVID-19 pandemic. Four colleagues have contributed on how they believe the book works and could work better. They have done so at a time of extraordinary challenge and…

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Aesthetic Philosophy and the Art of Law in the International Community

Inspired by Sir Hersch Lauterpacht’s writings, Mary Ellen  O’Connell, in the Art of Law in the International Community, provides a contemporary response to the ever increasing erosion by states –in the majority of  cases based on self-interest - of the most fundamental peremptory norm of the international legal order, the prohibition of the use of…

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The Nightmare and the Noble Dream: An International Law Edition

Mary Ellen O’Connell’s sweepingly ambitious The Art of Law in the International Community is fueled by a sense of urgency: in a world facing a “‘piecemeal’ World War III’, (p. 15), international law, which was intended as a tool to save mankind from itself, is itself in a state of crisis.

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