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Part I Histories, Ch.12 Hannah Arendt and International Law

Deborah Whitehall

From: The Oxford Handbook of the Theory of International Law

Edited By: Anne Orford, Florian Hoffmann

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 13 June 2024

Customary international law — General principles of international law — Sources of international law

This chapter reconsiders the arc of Hannah Arendt’s (1906–1975) writings about international law. Her scattered remarks present a careful pattern of demands upon international law, announced at the discipline’s key formative turns, for the resolution of the Jewish Question or rather, the series of issues problematizing Jewish-ness as uncertainty about citizenship, nation, and race from the eighteenth century onward. But international law was an important site for her attention even where law was adjuvant or ancillary to the broader sweep of her analytical project. Arendt repeatedly returned to international law expecting answers as a political thinker: for the working out of tensions within the idea of nation for the sake of humankind and the plural life of politics.

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