This course offers an introduction to the philosophy of international law. It begins with a survey of Aristotelian political theory, and its application in the work of influential scholars of international law, Francisco Vitoria (1483-1546) and Hugo Grotius (1583-1646). After fleshing out this “Scholastic” style of international law, we move to the heart of the course and a study of classical liberal international law. This examination begins with Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) and Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), and the inclusion of their ideas in Emerich de Vattel’s (1714-1767) influential Eighteenth Century treatise on international law, and decisions from Justices John Marshall (1755-1835) and Joseph Story (1779-1845). The study of classical liberalism then shifts to its darker sides, and in particular, international law’s deep association with Nineteenth Century imperialism. The course concludes with an introduction to early Twentieth Century perspectives on international law, including post-colonial theory, the rise of international institutions, human rights, and the functionalist critique of the sovereign state. This course is intended as an introduction to the field of international law, and has no pre-requisites.
Meeting Times & Locations:
||10:25 AM - 11:40 AM
Syllabus: ILO Syllabus 2010.pdf
Advice Info: The International Legal Order (“ILO”) is our gateway course for the international law curriculum. It is designed to introduce those students that have never had any study of international law or international relations to two broad themes: (1) the polar structure of “classical” international legal argument, and (2) the revolving relation between the idea that the international order consists of free and equal sovereign states, and the idea that the international order is arranged in an entrenched set of hierarchies. Through a study of the writings of international lawyers ranging from the early Sixteenth Century up to World War II, the course is as much about history and philosophy as it is about law. As such, it may not be suitable for every student, and so this is a recommended but not required course. I should also add that while this is an “introductory” class, I can say with a fair degree of certainty that even if you have had some international law or international relations courses in the past year, much of the material in the course will likely be new to you.
Where ILO goes very deep, painting very broad strokes that should resonate in every subsequent international law course, the class on 20th century International Law (LAWS 6400) is a more traditional survey course, covering the major developments in international law after the establishment of the League of Nations, and up to the present. This course does carry on with the same method of intellectual history I have used in ILO, taking care to examine the major schools of thought that developed in the 1950s and after, along with a concentration on the massive efforts of the international system to decolonize the “third world.” Despite these similarities, this course feels much more like a typical law school class than ILO.
The International Law course picks up chronologically where ILO leaves off, and so there is no risk of redundancy in taking both; in fact, they are designed to be taken sequentially. Nevertheless, International Law is a stand-alone course, and it is fine to take this course without having been in ILO.
If you have any further questions about either class, feel free to contact me.