Call for Papers: ASIL-ESIL-Rechtskulturen Workshop on International Legal Theory


Politics and Principle in International Legal Theory

Call for Papers

On November 14–15, 2013, the University of Michigan Law School will host the Second Annual ASIL–ESIL–Rechtskulturen Workshop on International Legal Theory. It is a collaboration between Michigan Law School, the Interest Groups on International Legal Theory of the American and European Societies of International Law, and the Rechtskulturen Program, an initiative of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin at Humboldt University Law School. The principal aim of this collaboration is to facilitate frank discussion among legal scholars from diverse backgrounds and perspectives on the fundamental theoretical questions that confront the discipline today.

American and European legal scholars often approach international legal theory with different assumptions about the relationship between law and politics, as well as the relationship between normative theory and positive jurisprudence. Positivist, realist, natural-law, critical, feminist, TWAIL and policy-oriented approaches are present in both American and European international legal scholarship, yet the prevalence and salience of these approaches for international lawyers on either side of the Atlantic differ. In an effort to both better understand and move beyond these regional dynamics, workshop participants will discuss the role of “politics” and “principle” in international legal discourse from a variety of perspectives. Examples of topics that might be relevant include:

  • How should scholars and practitioners of international law negotiate the competing demands of “politics” and “principle”? How do they actually negotiate such demands?
  • What role does politics (or the study of international relations) play in law and international legal scholarship? What role should it play?
  • How does law inform politics (or the study of international relations)?  What role should law play?
  • What role remains for principle(s) in an era of post-modern value-relativism and global legal pluralism?

We anticipate that the workshop will generate new perspectives on these enduring theoretical questions, as well as intensify transatlantic engagement on emerging debates within international legal theory. Addressing a variety of topics in constructive confrontations beyond comparison, we will seek to overcome transatlantic divides and to open new avenues in global international law scholarship.

Selection Procedure and Workshop Organization

Interested participants should submit an abstract (800 words maximum) summarizing the ideas they propose to develop for presentation at the workshop. Submissions of all proposals that engage the workshop’s theme are encouraged. Papers that have been accepted for publication prior to the workshop are in principle eligible for consideration, provided that they will not appear in print before the workshop. Papers will be chosen for presentation by peer review, taking into account not only the need for a balance of topics and viewpoints, but also for geographic diversity among the participants.

Although discussants will be assigned to introduce the papers at the workshop, all participants will be expected to read all of the contributions in advance and come prepared to contribute to the discussion. The organizers hope that the event will serve as a showcase for innovative research on international legal theory, while at the same time strengthening personal and professional ties between scholars on either side of the Atlantic, and beyond.

Abstract submissions should be sent to by July 21, 2013. Successful applicants will be notified by August 12, 2013. Papers must be fully drafted and ready for circulation by October 14, 2013. Applicants are strongly encouraged to assess all possible options with regard to receiving funding from the institutions with which they are affiliated. If funding cannot be obtained in this way, they should indicate as part of their submission whether they will require financial assistance to cover the costs of travel and accommodation for the event.

Questions regarding the workshop may be directed to:

Evan Criddle                

Jörg Kammerhofer      

Alexandra Kemmerer 

Julian Davis Mortenson

Kristina Daugirdas