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During this ACIL luncheon Ingo Venzke will introduce the book 'Situating Contingency in International Law: On the possibility of a different law,' which he co-edited with Kevin Jon Heller (forthcoming from Oxford University Press). The presentation will be based on the introductory chapter of the book (see download link below).

Event details of Situating Contingency in International Law: On the possibility of a different law
Date 31 August 2020
Time 12:00 -13:00
Organised by Ingo Venzke



This introduction situates thinking about contingency on the field of what possible, bounded by necessity, on one side, and chance on the other. It shows what makes the search for contingency in the path of international law so politically charged and so valuable—its link with human freedom. Expanding on the agenda behind the present volume, the chapter discusses how searching for contingency might facilitate change in the present for a different future. In contrast to other projects, asking about past possibilities offers an account for why something that may seem desirable has not materialised. Such an account must guide those on pathways of transformation in their sobering search for change. What would actually have made a difference in the path of international law, and what still can? Overall, the chapter highlights three sites of contingency: in the law’s contextualisation; the reading of its context; and the rendering of its history.


The Speaker

Amsterdam Center for International Law (ACIL). His teaching includes LL.M. courses on International Trade Law, International Dispute Settlement, and Research Methods. 

Ingo's work has focused on the theory and practice of interpretation in international law and on the different functions that international courts play in global governance. More recently, he has carried out research on contingency in the course of international law. He now places particular emphasis on international law’s role in the creating conditions of social (in)justice. Furthermore, he contributes to the research cluster on International Public Authority (anchored at the MPIL).

He is Editor-in-Chief of the Leiden Journal of International Law (together with Eric de Brabandere) and


Please register to participate in this online event, which will take place via Zoom. Confirmation and details will be shared with you nearer the event.