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Editorial #32: Inviting You to the Infinite Mirror of Reflections


Appreciating the (sometimes) necessary moment of pausing, hesitating, and dwelling in reflection, staying open to revisiting an argument and allowing oneself to look at a problem from different angles has always been at the heart of Völkerrechtsblog. Part of practicing this reflexivity always also included contemplating our role as a blog in the publication landscape of academia. Indeed, reflecting about one’s role and responsibility as a publication outlet appears ever-more timely in light of the growing number of global crises of which the heinous attack of Hamas on Israeli civilians of 7 October and the ongoing suffering of civilians in Gaza and Israel might only be the latest aggravation.

Reflecting – of course – can mean many different things and the outcomes of reflection processes are never predetermined. Sometimes we may even be forced to acknowledge that we will just have to continue pondering over what occupies our minds… However, during the past couple of months some of these reflections at Völkerrechtsblog have (re-)surfaced and taken more concrete shape and form.

Reflections Taking Shape

First of all, they took shape in deciding to expand and diversify our Team. Until 10 November you have the opportunity to join us and become part of the new generation of Völkerrechtsblog, shaping the face of Völkerrechtsblog for the future.

There are already some wonderful additions to the Team. Emma Eder and Carlotta Musiol will now be supporting us as student assistants. We are thrilled to welcome you on Board! Further, our Podcast Team was recently reinforced by Jan-Henrik Hinselmann.

In the past month’s episode, the Podcast Team and Andreas Kulick invited us to think with them about the consequences of states disregarding international courts. They explored if and how terming these developments as a “Backlash” provides an appropriate language to talk about the phenomenon and in how far insights from legal theory or disciplines adjacent to international law may prove (more) helpful. This month’s episode forthcoming episode on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Jan, Isabel and Erik have invited Lys Kulamadayil to reflect with them on ableism in the college of international lawyers.

Secondly, and reflecting on more personal aspects of living a life as an academic, Sissy, chatting with Tamsin Philippa Paige, Thoko Kaime and Angelika Nußberger provided us with no less than three more inspiring (and fun!) portraits of person(s) behind the academic.

Thirdly, with the carefully curated Symposium on the AjVR-DGIR Conference “Progress and International Law – A Cursed Relationship?”, our brilliant guest editors led us into yet another rabbit hole of reflections. The stimulating conversations we were able to read and listen to throughout the symposium quickly distracted us from initial feelings of unsettling and discomfort that the question of the conference theme may evoke.

And there is still more to come. In the weeks to come you will have the chance to enjoy reflections on Panos Merkouris’, Jörg Kammerhofer’s and Noora Arajärvi’s book “The Theory, Practice, and Interpretation of Customary International Law” and Patryk I. Labuda’s  “International Criminal Tribunals and Domestic Accountability – In the Court’s Shadow” in two Book Review Symposia on Völkerrechtsblog.

From Reflections to ReflectiÖns

This month, finally, the outcome of another long reflection process about how to make Völkerrechtsblog an even more lively forum for scholarly debate eventually took shape. We are delighted to be able to introduce reflectiÖns, a novel open-ended review format on the blog. The aim of reflectiÖns is to explore together how different publication formats can best complement each other. Instead of conflating them and/or pitting them against each other we wish to highlight how blog posts can function as a prism and junction of scholarly debate – making visible and connecting scholarship of the past with ideas of the future.

For reflectiÖns we invite you to either submit proposals for scholarly pieces to be featured and discussed on the blog or respond to calls for reflectiÖns that we will be issuing.

For our first edition of reflectiÖns are going to invite you to reflect on ideas on Ordering / Disordering International Law, taking on Michelle Staggs Kelsall’s “Disordering International Law”, published in the European Journal of International Law (EJIL) last year, as our starting point.

Stay tuned for this first Call for reflectiÖns, which will be published soon!

Anna Sophia Tiedeke

Anna is a PhD candidate at Humboldt University Berlin and holds a scholarship from the Heinrich Böll Foundation. She is currently working as a Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law with the humanet3 research project, which is based in Berlin at the Centre for Human and Machines at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development.

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