The development of international law is conventionally understood as a history in which the main characters (states and international lawyers) and events (wars and peace conferences) are European. Arnulf Becker Lorca demonstrates how n-Western states and lawyers appropriated nineteenth-century classical thinking in order to defend new and better rules governing n-Western states' international relations. By internalizing the standard of civilization, for example, they argued for the abrogation of unequal treaties. These appropriations contributed to the globalization of international law. With the rise of modern legal thinking and a stronger international community governed by law, peripheral lawyers seized the opportunity and used the new discourse and institutions such as the League of Nations to dissolve the standard of civilization and codify n-intervention and self-determination. These stories suggest that the history of our contemporary international legal order is t purely European; instead they suggest a history of a mestizo international law.
Arnulf Becker Lorca is a member of the International Relations Program at Brown University, Rhode Island. His research traces the global intellectual history of international law focusing on the role non-Western international lawyers have played in the construction of the international legal order between the second half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century.
Arnulf Becker Lorca
Cambridge University Press
Date of Publication
International Law: Professional
Cambridge Studies in International and Comparative Law