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Dr. Rotem Giladi will identify, demonstrate, explain, and critique two historiographic types used in the writing of the past of international humanitarian law.

Event details of Two Types of International Law Historiography in International Humanitarian Law (ACIL Lecture)
Date 12 May 2016
Time 16:00 -17:30


There are two historiographic types used in the writing of the past of international humanitarian law (IHL). One tells of IHL’s ineluctable progress, the other of its timeless, culture-less, universal immanence. These appear at odds: one narrates the dynamic process of restraining of war through law; the other emphasises a constant and immutable idea of restraint that inheres in any human civilisation. Nonetheless, these two types share the same function: both are used to affirm, to exogenous and endogenous audiences, faith in the project to humanise war. Deconstructing these narratives as forms of social memory suggests, however, that both in fact allow IHL practitioners to come to terms with the present state of the project to humanize war by deferring the fulfilment of IHL’s promise to the indefinite future. Both types express and deal with epistemic anxieties about the present achievements of the project.

About the speaker

Dr. Rotem Giladi is a lecturer in International Law and researcher at the Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki. His research focuses on the history of international law, with a particular focus on the history, culture and ideology of the laws of war (international humanitarian law), human rights, international courts and other institutions. In addition, he is working on the political and ideological aspects of Jewish engagement with international law in the 19th and 20th Centuries.


Faculty of Law, University of Amsterdam

Oudemanhuispoort 4-6, Room A009


The ACIL regularly organizes ACIL Lectures at which external speakers present papers relevant to research carried out at the ACIL. ACIL Lectures are open to all; registration is not required.