Monday, December 6, 2010

Lecture Series: Law in a Transnational Context, MPI Frankfurt

Law in a Transnational Context
Historical and Theoretical Perspectives
Series of Lectures from January to April 2011

The world of traditional legal theories has become too small. It seems too small for a law that is more and more losing its old territorial, political, and national bonds and that becomes part of worldwide social and economic processes. Law of this kind tends to statelessness. It is no more focussed on a territory, national state, or a local community, but constitutes itself through the communicative networks of highly specialised discourses. The production of law shifts from the nation state to the specific dynamic of social systems which conventional terms and criteria of politically orientated legal theories hardly touch upon. Terms like “constitution”, “legislation”, “unity”, “hierarchy”, “sanction” etc. become uncertain. Nowadays law is at home in a world that is fragmentary, that has no centre, no middle point, or unity. Legal pluralism dominates the scenery.

“Globalization” is the common word for this phenomenon, which is accompanied by a review of traditional concepts of law, of their premises and implications. Legal history is constantly confronted with phenomena of this kind, especially when processes of global interlacing beyond territorial and national boundaries are being examined, or when societies with a plurality of norms are being put into perspective.

The Max Planck Institute for European Legal History in cooperation with the Cluster of Excellence at the Goethe-University Frankfurt will start in the winter term 2010/2011 a series of lectures dedicated to historical paradigms and theoretical concepts of such processes. Scholars from different countries and with strong expertise in theory and history of law, in sociology and political sciences will hold lectures about chosen subjects.

Lecture: Wo bleibt der Dritte im Rechtspluralismus?
13. January 2011
Prof. Dr. Klaus Günther, Institut für Kriminalwissenschaften und Rechtsphilosophie der Uni Frankfurt

Lecture: Domesticating Modernities: Transfer of Ideologies and Institutions in Southeastern Europe
3rd February 2011
Prof. Dr. Diana Mishkova, Director of Centre for Advanced Study Sofia (CAS)

Lecture: International Law in a World of Empires: Constructing a Global Prohibition Regime in the Long Nineteenth Century
7th March 2011
Prof. Dr. Lauren Benton, History Department, New York University

Lecture: The New Global Law. A Historical Perspective
14th April 2011
Prof. Dr. Rafael Domingo Oslé, Faculty of Law, Universidad de Navarra

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

New Book on IR Theory and International Law by A Sincliar

Adriana Sinclair, International Relations Theory and International Law: A Critical Approach (Cambridge Univ. Press 2010).

International law is playing an increasingly important role in international politics. However, international relations theorists have thus far failed to conceptualise adequately the role that law plays in politics. Instead, IR theorists have tended to operate with a limited conception of law. An understanding of jurisprudence and legal methodology is a crucial step towards achieving a better account of international law in IR theory. But many of the flaws in IR's idea of law stem also from the theoretical foundations of constructivism – the school of thought which engages most frequently with law. Adriana Sinclair rehabilitates IR theory's understanding of law, using cases studies from American, English and international law to critically examine contemporary constructivist approaches to IR and show how a gap in their understanding of law has led to inadequate theorisation.

seven postdoctoral fellowships in Berlin

The Berlin-based Forum Transregionale Studien invites scholars to apply for seven postdoctoral fellowships for the research project


Please find the call for applications below, or as a PDF document attached to this message or via the following link:

The Forum Transregionale Studien is a new research platform of the Land of Berlin designed to promote research connecting systematic and region-specific questions in a perspective that addresses entanglements and interactions beyond national, cultural or regional frames. The Forum works in tandem with established institutions and networks engaged in transregional studies and is supported by an association of the directors of research institutes and networks mainly based in Berlin. It started its activities in 2010 by supporting three research projects in the fields of law, philology, and urban sociology.

For more information, please see our website (under construction)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Call for Papers - Global Constitutionalism (new journal)

Global Constitutionalism – World of Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law

A new journal – forthcoming in January 2012

Mattias Kumm, WZB Berlin, Germany and New York University, School of Law, USA
Anthony F. Lang Jr, University of St. Andrews, Scotland
Miguel Poiares Maduro, European University Institute, Florence, Italy
James Tully, University of Victoria, Canada (consulting editor)
Antje Wiener, University of Hamburg, Germany

Global Constitutionalism – World of Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law (GlobCon) seeks to promote a deeper understanding on the foundations, limitations and principles of political order and their dynamics over time on a global scale. The journal is interested in work that refers to constitutionalism as a template for empirical, conceptual or normative research on past, present and future political and legal practices, within and beyond the state.
Constitutionalism is understood here not as the study of a legal document, but as a reference frame for interdisciplinary research with a particular focus. Constitutionalism in a wide sense is associated with the study of the constitutive elements of legal and political practice that are central for the assessment of its legality or legitimacy. Constitutionalism does not presuppose the existence of a written constitution. It merely presupposes the interplay between social and institutional practices in which claims to legality and, therefore, legitimate authority, and democracy are central. Constitutionalism analyses the role of fundamental norms, the type of actors, and the institutions and procedures through which legal and political decisions are made. In a more narrow modern sense constitutionalism focuses on the basic ideas relating to justice (such as human rights), procedural fairness and participation (e.g. democracy) and the rule of law as they relate to institutional practices and policies in and beyond the state.
GlobCon invites submissions from scholars of International Law, Political Science, International Relations, Comparative Constitutional Law, Comparative Politics, Political Theory and Philosophy for its first issue to be published in January 2012. GlobCon is a peer-reviewed scholarly journal that seeks to develop interdisciplinary discourse about global constitutionalism. It welcomes submissions on a wide range of topics related to constitutionalism, human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

The Journal's editorial board is comprised of scholars from International Law, International Relations, International Political Theory and Philosophy: Mathias Albert, Richard Bellamy, Seyla Benhabib, Armin v. Bogdandy, John Borrows, Jutta Brunnée, Michael Byers, Carlos Closa, Gordon Christie, Jean L. Cohen, Grainne de Burca, Avigail Eisenberg, Michelle Everson, Ezzedine Choukri Fishere, Rainer Forst, Friedrich Kratochwil, Jürgen Neyer, Konrad Ng, Nicholas G. Onuf, Robert Post, Susan Rose-Ackerman , Kim Rubenstein, Joanne Scott, Rainer Schmalz-Bruns, Jo Shaw, Quentin Skinner, Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Stephen Toope, Neil Walker, Jeremy Webber and Michael Zürn.

Manuscripts for consideration should be submitted via email to the journal’s managing assistant Mr. Sassan Gholiagha. His E-Mail address is
GlobCon will review articles up to 15,000 words (including notes and bibliography), although authors will be encouraged to reduce their papers to fewer than 12,000 words before publication. Brevity is encouraged and shorter papers will be advantaged in acceptance decisions. Please include a word count with submission, along with an abstract of approximately 200 words which is not repeated from the paper itself. Please include up to five keywords for the article. Authors should submit both a complete version of the manuscript and an anonymous version, stripped of all identifying references to the author(s) that can be sent to reviewers. The citation style of the submission should either be Chicago or Harvard Style. Please do not use endnotes. Submissions are accepted now.

Any enquiries can be sent via email to the journal’s managing assistant Mr. Sassan Gholiagha. His E-Mail address is

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Frankfurt Conference on Justice and or Peace

Annual Conferences
Justice and/or Peace

November 18-20, 2010
Goethe-University Frankfurt/Main, Westend Campus

In ordinary language peace usually stands for "freedom from disturbance" or "a state or period in which there is no war". Justice, in turn, is generally associated with "the quality of being fair and reasonable". In ethical and moral discourse the two are often discussed together, suggesting an internal, if delicate relationship. Consider three different voices: When, in addressing the United Nations, Pope Benedict quotes the prophet Isaiah that "justice will bring about peace; right will produce calm and security" the mere invocation of peace and justice as mutually interdependent already portends that the realities of global life probably do not (yet) live up to Catholic normative standards.

more information

Monday, November 8, 2010

Jan Klabbers, Global Governance Colloquium at the Hertie School of Governance Berlin

November, 10th, Wednesday, 06:00 pm
Global Governance Colloquium

Global Governance Colloquium at the
Hertie School of Governance Berlin
Friedrichstr. 180
room 2.61.

Jan Klabbers is professor of International Organisations Law and Director of the Centre of Excellence in Global Governance Research at the University of Helsinki. He will speak on
“Rethinking Functionalism: Paul S. Reinsch and the Making of International Institutional Law“

In the law of international organizations, functionalism has attained near-paradigmatic status. Yet, over the last two decades or so, it has become clear that functionalism is ill-equipped to address the control of international organizations. On the twin assumptions that it might be useful to spell out what functionalism stands for and that it might be possible to re-think functionalism in order to integrate control, this paper discusses the ideas and methods developed by the auctor intellectualis of functionalism, Paul Reinsch (who wrote in the early 20th century). It discusses the comparative method, the inaptitude of the federal analogy, and the influence of colonial theory, and then aims to re-align functionalism and control by enriching legal thought through the introduction of virtue ethics.

For more information, see

Out NOW: Neyer, J and A Wiener, Political Theory of the European Union

Neyer, J and A Wiener, eds, 2010, Political Theory of the European Union, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Debate about the theory underpinning the nature, workings, and development of the European (EU) has in many ways been hampered in recent years by an intellectual divergence in the two main ways that the EU is conceptualized. On the one hand is a political science and comparative government oriented strand that sees the EU as a political system in its own right. On the other is the international relations tradition which conceptualizes it as another international organization. Alongside this, the EU itself has developed a significant constitutional dimension. Indeed, the debate surrounding the 'Constitutional Treaty' presented several challenges to our capacity to grasp the normative change of this non-state polity. Despite the eventual contestation of the EU's 'constitutional turn' through the French and Dutch no-votes and the cumbersome procedure of ratifying the Lisbon Treaty in their aftermath, debates about the EU's constitutional quality have not ceased. In the light of these developments, the editors of this volume, along with their distinguished contributors, have attempted to create a more decisively interdisciplinary theoretical approach to studying the EU within the wider world-political context. The volume brings together scholars in a range of disciplines across the social sciences to offer, not a complete theory, but rather a theoretical approach combining different stands of political and legal theory. The book's aim is to inspire further engagement with the central tenets of political authority and world order, sovereignty and constitutional change and democracy and justice, in the context of the EU's political development.

"This book is a welcome attempt to bring together a range of different disciplinary insights with a view to developing a political theory of the European Union. The attempt is animated by both empirical and normative concerns: to better understand what kind of entity the EU is and the nature of the authority it exercises, as well as to assess the EU's claim to legitimacy and the quality of its democracy and justice. There are excellent contributions from leading scholars across the fields of international relations, law and political theory which interrogate these and other questions. While not purporting to provide a fully-fledged political theory of the EU, the book helps to identify some of the building blocks for a political theory of the EU, as well as setting out a rich array of research questions for the future." - Gráinne de Búrca, Harvard Law School

Thursday, November 4, 2010

New book on "Beyond Constitutionalism" by N Krisch

Nico Krisch, Beyond Constitutionalism: The Pluralist Structure of Postnational Law (Oxford UP, 2010).

Under pressure from globalisation, the classical distinction between domestic and international law has become increasingly blurred, spurring demand for new paradigms to construe the emerging postnational legal order. The typical response of constitutional and international lawyers as well as political theorists has been to extend domestic concepts - especially constitutionalism - beyond the state. Yet as this book argues, proposals for postnational constitutionalism not only fail to provide a plausible account of the changing shape of postnational law but also fall short as a normative vision. They either dilute constitutionalism's origins and appeal to 'fit' the postnational space; or they create tensions with the radical diversity of postnational society.

more information at the OUP homepage

Thursday, September 30, 2010

IMPRS and ITLOS 2010

IMPRS and ITLOS present
"The Hamburg Lectures on Maritime Affairs"
Autumn 2010

The Research School established together with the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) an annual lecture series, the "Hamburg Lectures on Maritime Affairs" – giving distinguished scholars and practitioners the opportunity to present and discuss recent developments in the field of maritime affairs.
All lectures and panel discussions are open to the public. The events indicated below will be held in Hamburg at the International Max Planck Research School for Maritime Affairs, Mittelweg 187, 20148 Hamburg (IMPRS). Further events will take place at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. The events organized by ITLOS will be announced shortly.

The Schedule for the Hamburg Lectures 2010:

18 October 2010, IMPRS
“Maritime employment contracts in the conflict of laws”
Evening Lecture, 6 p.m.
Professor Wolfgang Wurmnest (University of Hanover, Germany)

27 October 2010, IMPRS
“Environmental pollution liability and insurance law ramifications in light of the 'Deepwater Horizon' oil spill"
Evening Lecture, 6 p.m.
Dr Kyriaki Noussia (Senior Associate, I. K. R. P., Rokas & Partners, International Law Firm, Athens, Greece)

10 November 2010, IMPRS
“Remedying of environmental damage caused by shipping”
Evening Lecture, 6 p.m.
Professor Peter Wetterstein (Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland)

more information

Les pratiques comparées du droit international en France et en Allemagne

 journées franco-allemandes
14-15 octobre 2010
(Université Panthéon-Assas, IHEI)
Les pratiques comparées du droit international en France et en Allemagne


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

IPS Forum on Intl L and International Political Sociology

The current issue of International Political Sociology (ISSUE 3, VOL. 4) contains an IPS FORUM (ed. by O Kessler) on "So Close Yet So Far Away? International Law in International Political Sociology" with contributions by W Werner, J Klabbers, F Kratochwil, N Onuf, and P Liste.

to the issue

Monday, September 27, 2010

CfP Political Practice and Third World/Feminist Approaches to International Institutions

At the "Colonial Legacies, Postcolonial Contestations: Decolonizing the Social Sciences and the Humanities", International Graduate Conference 2011, Frankfurt, 16th-18th June 2011 (see post below) we organize a panel on:

Political Practice and Third World/Feminist Approaches to International Institutions

While the two disciplines of International Relations (IR) and International Legal Scholarship (ILS) are in search of new impulses, recent "critical" debates in both fields seem to share common theoretical and methodological points of reference. Both refer to law and international institutions respectively by emphasizing what they have deemed "the political". Yet, one could also argue that these approaches have been upholding a kind of Western, male-dominated hegemony. Arguing in the traditions of post-colonialism and feminism, scholars in ILS and IR have criticized this and tried to introduce non-Western/feminist thought into the debate. We intend to build on the parallels observed in both fields and look for possible convergences within a framework of interdisciplinary thinking, aiming for a new critical perspective. One of the arenas could be international organizations, where this hegemony has been tangible.

more information

Katja Freistein/Philip Liste

CfP Colonial Legacies, Postcolonial Contestations: Decolonizing the Social Sciences and the Humanities

International Graduate Conference 2011
Goethe-University Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
16th-18th June 2011

In the past two decades postcolonial perspectives are increasingly influential in the Social Sciences and the Humanities. In particular, postcolonial-feminist interventions have contributed decisively by revealing the pivotal status and stubborn persistence of colonial gendering and racialisation processes for the structuring of the postcolonial late-capitalist world. The epistemic and material conditions that underpinned European colonialism continue to shape current socio-political constellations and global relations; so that the formal end of European colonial rule has not translated into decolonisation of the global North and the global South. If the Social Sciences and the Humanities seek to overcome this violent and exploitative historical legacy and contribute to the processes of decolonisation, they need to adopt a critical perspective that involves a reassessment of their disciplinary powers and responsibilities.

more information

Friday, September 24, 2010

Call for papers

International Law and Power Politics: Great Powers, Peripheries and Claims to Spheres of Influence in International Normative Order, European Society of International Law Research Forum, 27-28 May 2011, Tallinn, Estonia (organized by Tartu University)

International law as a field has a complex relationship with the reality of international politics. Usually, it is understood that international law is about legal rules and not about the sociological patterns one might observe in international relations. This view, often associated with legal positivism, juxtaposes the rule-based world of international law with the unpredictable world of international politics. read more...