Book Review

Hard times for voices from the Global South

Decolonization and the validity of existing treaties

For a long time, international legal scholars did not devote much attention to protagonists from the Global South as relevant actors in the field. The focus of the discipline – at least in continental Europe – was on contributing to the systematization of the international legal order. The few studies on particular national or regional approaches to international law largely focused on the perspectives of the Soviet and US American …

READ MORE →

Semi-ColonialismSymposium

Semi-colonialism and international legal history: the view from Bhutan

As simply a matter of history, the Kingdom of Bhutan’s experience with Occidental powers could not be more different than that of the colonial experience of Bhutan’s neighbor and closest ally, India. Bhutan proudly – and for all intents and purposes, rightly – claims that it has never been conquered or colonized, either by a European power or by an Asian neighbor. Furthermore, consequences of geography and geology make comparisons …

READ MORE →

Semi-ColonialismSymposium

The a-historicity of Preah Vihear and the space for inter-disciplinarity in international law

Of International Law, Semi-colonial Thailand, and Imperial Ghosts is wide-ranging in research, nuanced in analysis, and replete with archival nuggets and food for thought. Prabhakar makes a number of important and interesting contributions in this paper. First, he convincingly substantiates a practical and theoretical distinction between colonies and semi-colonies. He goes on to demonstrate the continuing relevance of this distinction to the engagement of former colonies and semi-colonies with international law. …

READ MORE →

Semi-ColonialismSymposium

The Gods and Demons of the Preah Vihear Temple

The Churning I finally visited the Temple of Preah Vihear on 22 December 2018. Strikingly, the makers of the ancient temples of Cambodia appear infatuated with a particular Indian mythic leitmotif, the churning of the milk ocean. In order to churn the milk-ocean, Vishnu, a Hindu god, turns into a turtle to allow the planting of the Mount Mandhar, the churner, on his shell. Next, Vasuki, the serpent, is wrapped …

READ MORE →

South and East Asian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Multiperspectivism in and on international law

The symposium on “South and East Asian perspectives on international law” postulates that perspectives matter for the understanding, interpretation, and application of international law. I agree, but would like to caution against throwing out the baby with the bathwater by giving up the never-ending struggle for a bottom-up universalisation of the international legal discourse. Our scholarly approaches, arguments and assessments are value-loaded and connect to underlying political and theoretical preferences …

READ MORE →

South and East Asian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Backlash against international law by the East?

How the concept of ‘transplantation’ helps us to better understand reception processes of international law

The symbolic metaphor of ‘Eastphalia’ that has been referred to in the opening post of this symposium, which is a wordplay around ‘Westphalia’, is very loaded in its curious terminological choice. Westphalia is a myth that plays a central role in the linear narrative on the development of international law from West to East. The analogy is not very flattering – as it is another ‘orientalist’ labeling that creates an impression …

READ MORE →

South and East Asian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Are We Living in an Eastphalian Moment?

It is indisputable that economic and geopolitical power has shifted east and that the core-semi periphery-periphery symbolism, a common reference for liberal, socialist and postcolonial states, increasingly mischaracterizes the complexities of relations at play, as do voices who proclaim the beginning of the post-liberal world order. True, in liberal strongholds, nationalistically-minded authoritarianism is on the rise again, more subtle than in the first half of the 20thcentury, but with similar …

READ MORE →

South and East Asian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

From Liberal and Equal to Fraternal International Legal Order?

Eastphalian Synthesis of Sovereignty and Governmentality

  A quarter half of a century has passed since Francis Fukuyama declared in The End of History the ultimate triumph of Western liberal democracy. Contrary to this prophecy, we are witnessing the sunset of the Western liberal international legal order. It has been revealed in several critical momentathat liberal internationalism has militant, interventionist character that causes paradoxical consequences of ‘illiberal liberalism’: in order to protect what a liberal State perceives …

READ MORE →

South and East Asian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

The Ecological Atlas of International Law

A Chinese Reading of Three Celebrated Works in the Comparative International Law Discourse

In an effort to “identify, analyze, and explain similarities and differencesin how international law is understood, interpreted, applied, and approached by different national and international actors”, comparative international law as a research area has recently received more scholarly attention, at a time when faith in international law’s universality seems to be declining. In light of the dynamics of international power, especially the rise of China, “multiperspectivism” is expected to facilitate …

READ MORE →

South and East Asian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

The ‘Standard of Civilization’ in international law

Intellectual perspectives fom pre-war Japan

Any history of international law in Japan and the discourse on Japan’s semi-civilized status begin with nineteenth-century European encounters. Although there is thick literature on the ‘pre-modern’ international order in the Far East, the normative connection between Japan’s various responses to this order, on the one hand, and its engagement with the nineteenth-century European notion of the standard of civilization, on the other, is not adequately spelled out. I argue …

READ MORE →