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The Oxford Handbook of the Theory of International Law edited by Orford, Anne; Hoffmann, Florian (2nd June 2016)

Part I Histories, Ch.1 Theorizing the Turn to History in International Law

Matthew Craven

From: The Oxford Handbook of the Theory of International Law

Edited By: Anne Orford, Florian Hoffmann

Subject(s):
Responsibility of international organizations — Customary international law — General principles of international law — Relationship of international law & host state law — Sources of international law

This chapter focuses on the question of what was required for the productive representation of the past of international law as ‘history’ to become a meaningful activity, given the need for historical discourse and practice to be organized in temporal terms, and its past ‘found’ or ‘uncovered’. This historical consciousness fundamentally reshaped the conceptualization of what would become known as ‘international law’, and placed at centre-stage the problem of the historical method. Furthermore, not only did the emergence of this historical consciousness have specifiable theoretical and practical dimensions, it would become, as Foucault puts it, a ‘privileged and dangerous’ site, both providing theoretical sustenance to the discipline, and a space for critical engagement.

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