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The workshop will ask a question that is deceptive in its simplicity: How might international law have been otherwise?


The deadline for submission is 1 December 2017.


We want to question the present state of international law by challenging its pretence to necessity and by better understanding the forces that have shaped it. Put simply with Robert Musil: "If there is a sense of reality, there must also be a sense of possibility.” The overarching aim will be to expose the contingencies of international law’s development by inquiring into international law’s past. Such inquiries may be of systematic purport – asking, for example, how a different conception of the sources of international law could have emerged. Or they may focus on specific areas of the law, asking questions like whether the idea of state crimes could have taken hold or whether the NIEO could have achieved greater success. International law’s past is almost certainly ripe with possibilities that we have forgotten. The workshop will seek to reveal and remember them.


The workshop will be held from 14-16 June 2018 at the University of Amsterdam. Read more about the logistics of the event.

Abstract Submissions and Timeline

  • Submit abstracts of ca. 500 words and CV by 1 December 2017 by writing to; selection by 15 December 2017.
  • Extended outlines of ca. 3.000 words to be circulated by 31 May 2018.
  • Revised contributions (8-10.000 words, including footnotes) to be submitted by
    1 October 2018.
  • Limited funding is available to support travel expenses on a needs basis.