The Laws of War in International Thought
If you wish to participate in this (remote) seminar, RSVP is necessary. Please complete the *form before noon Wednesday 3 March (please note that if you register after noon, a link cannot be sent to you). Prior to the Thursday seminar, you will be sent a zoom link to join. Practitioners, academics and students from within and outside the University of Oxford are all welcome. PIL Discussion Group Convenors: Xiaotian (Kris) Yu and Natasha Holcroft-Emmes.
The Law of Armed Conflict is usually understood to be a regime of exception that applies only during armed conflict and regulates hostilities among enemies. It assigns privileges to states far beyond what they are allowed to do in peacetime, and it mandates certain protections for non-combatants, which can often be defeated by appeals to military necessity or advantage. The Laws of War in International Thought examines the intellectual history of the laws of war before their codification. It reconstructs the processes by which political and legal theorists built the laws’ distinctive vocabularies and legitimized some of their widest permissions, and it situates these processes within the broader intellectual project that from early modernity spelled out the nature, function, and powers of state sovereignty. The book focuses on four historical moments in the intellectual history of the laws of war: the doctrine of just war in Spanish scholasticism; Hugo Grotius’s theory of solemn war; the Enlightenment theory of regular war; and late nineteenth-century humanitarianism. By looking at these moments, it is shown how challenging and polemical it has been for international theorists to justify the exceptional and permissive character of the laws of war.
Pablo Kalmanovitz is research professor and head of the International Studies Division at CIDE (Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas) in Mexico City. He has held permanent or visiting positions at the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, the European University Institute, Yale University, McGill University, and the University of Ulster. His research focuses on historical and theoretical aspects of the international regulation of armed force, on which he has published numerous articles and book chapters. His book The Laws of War in International Thought was published by Oxford University Press in 2020.
The group typically meets each Thursday during Oxford terms.
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