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Seminar Series: International Law and Affairs Research Group (ILAG)
In this seminar I’d like to discuss two pieces of research: one past, one present. Both emanate from a research agenda which may be provisionally described as dealing with the act of writing international law, by legal scholars – and what that writing does for what we know to be (the) law. In a 2016 piece, I wrote about the use of footnotes in doctrinal legal scholarship and how assigning the names of scholars to particular knowledge claims may impact what we know and who we think is/are entitled to ‘represent’ in a footnote what we know. In other words, this is about the distribution of speaking power in the field. I am currently working on a piece which similarly focuses on those who write international law, but rather than ask what this does to doctrine (what we know to be the law) I want to see what this writing tells us about international law as an ‘object’. Scholars write phrases such as ‘international law needs to adapt to changing times’, or, ‘Article 51 authorizes the use of force in self-defense’. Here, international law is the acting subject, doing something. But there is a writer composing these particular phrases, and I’d like to scrutinize the claim (drawing on the work of Pierre Schlag) that by writing about international law in this way the legal subject – the one ‘doing and thinking’ international law, in Schlag’s words – disappears from the text as an active agent. I’ll briefly discuss these two ideas before moving on to a broader discussion of the particular research agenda underlying it.
Speaker: Dr Lianne J.M. Boer, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
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When and where
3.00pm - 5.00pmWednesday 21st March 2018
CLS Research Events