State Socialism, Legal Experts and the Genesis of International Criminal and Humanitarian Law after 1945
November 24-26, 2016
Humboldt University of Berlin
Unter den Linden 6
The programme for our international collaborative conference with the Leipzig Centre for the History and Culture of East-Central Europe (GWZO), and the Humboldt University of Berlin is now available. It will take place on the 24-26 November, 2016 at Unter den Linden 6, Room 2249a, Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany.
It brings together 3 research projects – 1989 after 1989, Processes of Juridification in International Relations since 1850 based at Leipzig and Jurists in International Politics Practice and Practitioners of International Law in the 19th and 20th Century based in Berlin.
In the history of international law, the socialist bloc has been generally relegated to the role of roadblock in fulfilling the ideals of Western liberalism. This conference seeks to question established narratives that have ignored or downplayed the role of state-socialist governments and legal experts in shaping the evolution of international criminal and humanitarian law after the end of the Second World War. With a geographic scope covering the Soviet Union, the Eastern Bloc, Africa, and China, the conference explores the socialist world’s doctrines and international engagements concerning the codification of different international crimes (including crimes against peace, the crimes of aggression, Apartheid, terrorism, slavery, narcotics trafficking and more), approaches to humanitarian intervention, and the relationship between state sovereignty and international law. The conference advances the idea that rather than simply block progress, socialist initiatives played a vital role in the production of norms and ideas that continue to be relevant for the current international criminal and humanitarian legal system.
The conference commences at 14:00 on the 24 November with a welcome address and introduction from the conference organisers – Marcus Payk, Humboldt University of Berlin; Dietmar Mueller and Stefan Troebst, GWZO Leipzig; Raluca Grosescu, University of Exeter and Ned Richardson-Little, University of Exeter. Papers will then be presented that deal with International Criminal Law and International Humanitarian Law in socialist legal doctrines.
Panels on the following day will include papers on state socialist contributions to and critiques of the Geneva Conventions; decolonisation, gender, and International Humanitarian Law, state socialist contributions to International Criminal Law; and Transnational Criminality. The final day will debate International Criminal Law in state socialist national settings and will include case studies from China and Hungary.
More information on the conference can be found on our conference pages.
Humboldt University of Berlin
The University of Exeter, the Leipzig Centre for the History and Culture of East-Central Europe (GWZO), and the Humboldt University of Berlin
24 – 26 November 2016
Call for Papers Deadline: 15 June 2016
State Socialism, Legal Experts and the Genesis of International Criminal and Humanitarian Law after 1945
In the history of international law, the socialist bloc has been generally relegated to the role of roadblock to the fulfillment of the ideals of Western liberalism. Scholars of international criminal law (ICL) and international humanitarian law (IHL) have often dismissed the contributions of socialist legal initiatives as little more than Cold War propaganda and thus irrelevant to understanding the historical evolution of judicial norms and the modern international system. The establishment of different international tribunals since the collapse of the Soviet Union has only reinforced the notion that the socialist world was little more than an impediment to progress. Nevertheless, the American-led global war on terror has done much to call into question Western commitment to the laws of war.
This conference seeks to explore the role of state-socialist intellectuals, experts and governments in shaping the evolution of ICL and IHL since the end of the Second World War. Actors from Eastern Europe, the USSR, and East Asian and African socialist states actively participated in international debates regarding international legal norms, the meaning of state sovereignty, and in the negotiation of all major ICL and IHL conventions after 1945. In various cases the socialist bloc was often more enthusiastic, and timely, in supporting and ratifying international legal agreements than Western governments, even if these initiatives were inseparable from political agendas. Although they systematically opposed the creation of international tribunals, experts from socialist countries led the way in many areas, such as the codification of crimes against peace and Apartheid or the elimination of statutory limitations for major ICL offences. The socialist world participated also in debates over the international legal status of drug conflicts and revolutionary groups funded by narcotics trafficking. Deliberations on the criminalization of terrorism and the regulation of armed conflicts were closely linked to the politics of “wars of liberation” by socialist forces in Africa, South-East Asia, and Latin America. Socialist legal experts were active participants in transnational epistemic communities and engaged in broader global projects, initiatives, and mobilizations across the Cold War divide.
We encourage proposals on the following topics, and from scholars working on socialist regimes, experts and movements across the world. You are welcome to submit proposals on other themes related to this topic.
- The contributions of the socialist countries and experts to debates on the general principles of ICL and IHL (the relationship between municipal and international law; the sources of ICL; the relationship between state sovereignty, ICL and IHL etc.).
- Socialist challenges to western liberal humanitarian doctrines and conventions (i.e. Peace proposals as alternative to new Geneva conventions, rejection of equality of nations before the law in cases of aggressive war, etc.)
- The role of socialist elites, legal experts, and courts in the development of specific fields of international crimes such as war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity, and to acts of transnational criminality, such as terrorism, illicit drug trafficking, the arms trade, smuggling of nuclear materials, and trafficking in persons and slavery. The evolution of ICL and IHL discourse, ideas, and initiatives in state-socialist countries.
- The role of the Red Cross and other humanitarian NGOs in the socialist world (i.e. North Vietnamese rejection of ICRC protection for US POWs, the creation of local Red Cross organizations in the Eastern Bloc, etc.)
- Assessments of the continuing legacies and contributions of state socialist traditions of engagement with ICL and IHL on justice processes after 1989/91.
Abstracts of 300-500 words, together with an accompanying short CV should be submitted to Natalie Taylor (N.H.Taylor@exeter.ac.uk) by 15th June 2016.
The selected participants will be notified by 1st July 2016. They are then expected to submit their papers by 1st November 2016.
Funding opportunities for travel and accommodation are available, but we ask that potential contributors also explore funding opportunities at their home institutions.
The conference is organized by the University of Exeter, the Leipzig Centre for the History and Culture of East-Central Europe (GWZO), and the Humboldt University of Berlin.
This event is kindly supported by Exeter University’s Leverhulme Trust-funded project 1989 after 1989: Rethinking the Fall of State Socialism in Global Perspective, and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).[Top]
Alternative Global Geographies, Imagining and Re-Imagining the World Late 19th Century – Present Day
Call for Papers for the Conference of the Research Network Socialism Goes Global
12 – 14 November 2015
Call for Papers Deadline: 27 July 2015
In contrast to public claims of the early 1990s, space and geographies have not lost their central role in defining an ever more globalized world. We still live in territorialized spaces: not only in the narrow sense of states and societies that reside within their borders, but also geographies and spatial formats on regional and world scales. Research in the aftermath of the spatial turn in the humanities and social sciences is increasingly drawing our attention to the importance of understanding large-scale spatial dynamics for global history.
Many influential paradigms, often emerging from metropolitan cores or centres of the Cold War, have emerged to make sense of an increasingly interconnected world. These have included Euro- and other ‘centric’ centre-periphery models, the idea of the Anglophone or Francophone worlds, the tricontinental model, World Systems Theory, or the division of the globe into the First, Second, and Third Worlds, or the ‘Global North and South’. Such ideas came not only from the academy (in e.g. geography, area studies, history, economics, anthropology) but also from the work of political, economic and cultural actors. This conference will explore such attempts to make sense of the world on a regional or global scale, and explore how such ideas have been used to make sense of, and organize, power relations, cultural encounters and economic connections.
We wish in particular to encourage papers focussing on the ‘view from the periphery’. Despite the recent turn to studying global history from non-western perspectives, there is still little research done on visions of world order from other actors outside metropolitan cores or the West- from e.g. Latin America, South and Eastern Asia, Eastern Europe, and Africa. We invite contributions dealing with ways of conceptualising the world from areas that thought of themselves as peripheral (or semi-peripheral) on a global scale, or, indeed, challenged their definition as such. We wish to emphasise that we do not set an a priori definition of ‘periphery’ – the definition of where the periphery is located, how it is defined and who belongs to it shall be rather an element of the analysis. We also encourage contributions on those who conceptualised alternative visions of world orders, from a variety of political, religious, cultural or economic movements – regardless of their geographical location (i.e. also from critical or peripheral standpoints within the metropole/ core).
The event aims to bring together scholars from multiple disciplines (e.g. history, sociology, geography, anthropology and others), working on various topics (colonialism, post-colonialism, socialism and radicalism), on different world regions or on a world scale. The time frame may range from the late 19th century – as an era in which global imaginations and political projects of a politico- and cultural-spatial organization of the world powerfully emerged in relation to late colonial regimes – through the transformations of the interwar, the Cold War and decolonisation, and up until the present day.
Papers might address:
– conceptualizations and spatializations of the world: how have actors accepted or critiqued dominant visions of global spatial visions; what ‘alternative visions’ have been proposed e.g. ‘socialist world’, ‘anti-imperialist world’, ‘Afro-Asian world’, ‘global South’, ‘majority world’; how have actors worked to make such reconceptualisations authentic, or new interconnections a reality?
– the relation between political projects and practices to these conceptualizations – either as producers of these or through instrumentalizing them.
– the clashes between such conceptualizations and practices, paying attention to the web of power relations inherent in these conflicts.
– the roles of expert cultures (e.g. area studies institutes, agricultural specialists, economists, sociologists, fiction writers) and non-academic actors (e.g. activists); institutionalisations based on spatial imaginaries; the intellectual production of spatialized knowledge; the role of trans-regional exchange in the production of spatial models.
– the production of authenticity in new geographical imaginaries (how have these new imaginaries been made real? How have imagined distances between world regions been collapsed, or new borders and frontiers between world regions produced? How and why have alternative visions failed in the face of dominant models?).
– the conceptualisation of the periphery and semi-periphery (how did actors relate themselves to the concept? How did internal peripheries within regions or countries shape how actors conceptualised peripheries on a global scale?).
– relations between ideological camps and geographical spaces (e.g. imperialism, anti-imperialism and spatialized visions; shifting and rival definitions of the globe as a set of large geocultural units by the Cold War powers; contested visions of world mapping).
– the role of world mapping in domestic cultures in different ideological systems and regional settings (e.g. political uses; global spatial mappings as ‘disciplining tools’ for home populations; representations of world orders in e.g. maps, culture, political discourse; the political and cultural interpreters of spatialized visions for popular audiences).
Please send a brief abstract of 300-500 words, as well as a brief CV, by 27 July 2015, to Catherine Devenish at the University of Exeter (C.Devenish@exeter.ac.uk ). The conference will take place in Leipzig from 12 to 14 November 2015. Some funding opportunities for travel and accommodation are available, but we ask that potential contributors explore funding opportunities at their home institutions.[Top]