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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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South and East Asian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Are We Living in the “Eastphalian” Moment?

South and East Asian Perspectives on International Law

Diverging views and perspectives on international law are unavoidable. The global span of this body of law and the different geographical, cultural, religious and educational backgrounds of those who work with it contribute importantly to the understanding of its normative frameworks. Multiperspectivism and situatedness thus somewhat seem to be inherent to the DNA of international law (see e.g. here; see also this recent book). The fact that scholars from different countries and continents …

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Cultural Heritage in a Post-Colonial WorldSymposium

Zwischen Recht und Politik

Die Rechts- und Eigentumsverhältnisse an Kulturgütern der Kolonialzeit nach deutschem Zivilrecht und Völkerrecht

Bisher „ungedachte juristische Konstruktionen“ wünscht sich Bénédicte Savoy, wenn sie in ihrem jüngsten Werk über die Zukunft des (kolonialen) Kulturerbes nachdenkt. Doch wie ist eigentlich die Rechtslage an kolonialen Kulturobjekten? Bestehen Ansprüche zur Rückforderung solcher Güter? Diese Fragen hat unlängst der Deutsche Museumsbund in einem „Leitfaden zum Umgang mit Sammlungsgut aus kolonialen Kontexten“ aufgegriffen (S. 65 ff.). Befund der Analyse: Ansprüche auf Rückforderung kolonialer Kulturgüter bestehen weder nach deutschem Zivilrecht noch nach …

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Cultural Heritage in a Post-Colonial WorldSymposium

Artefact or heritage?

Colonial collections in Western museums from the perspective of international (human rights) law

“One of the most noble incarnations of a people’s genius is its cultural heritage. The vicissitudes of history have nevertheless robbed many peoples of this inheritance. They .. have not only been despoiled of .. masterpieces but (were) also robbed of a memory .. These men and women have the right to recover these cultural assets which are part of their being…“ [Secr.Gen. UNESCO M’Bow, 1978] Forty years after this …

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Cultural Heritage in a Post-Colonial WorldSymposium

Ambivalent Futures

On the restitution of objects and white innocence

The legacies of colonialism and imperialism are keeping the European museum scene busy. At first glance, it seems that colonial amnesia is overcome and museums are paving the way for postcolonial restorative justice. A second glance, though, might reveal inconsistencies and shortcomings structuring present museum work. The current debate mainly focuses on objects being looted, exchanged, extorted or bought under colonial rule, and considers the restitution of objects to former …

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