Between Communal Survival and National Aspiration: Armenian Genocide Refugees, the League of Nations, and the Practices of Interwar Humanitarianism

While the cause of the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire had played an important role in shaping Western attitudes and ideas about humanitarian intervention and national self-determination, the collapse of efforts to create an Armenian state in the wake of genocide and World War I led the nascent League of Nations to elaborate efforts within the repertoire of humanitarianism to preserve the Armenians as a distinct community. Those efforts bring into relief evolving interwar thought and policies about refugees, human trafficking, and the place of international institutions in the protection of civilians. The practical failures of the League’s projects provided a field in which “rights talk” could take place and the modern refugee régime emerge. Continue reading →

The Shifting Meaning of War and Peace

This post is an advance version of a review essay that will appear in Humanity volume 10. It will be posted in five parts: one each day this week. This is part 5. The interwar period was a time of heightened confusion about the boundary between war and peace. The meaning of both terms became thoroughly destabilized by political events. In this context the legal effort to end war through outlawry had unexpected and counterproductive effects.[1] For by removing war from the realm of acceptable Continue reading →

Trade, Statehood, and Conquest

This post is an advance version of a review essay that will appear in Humanity volume 10. It will be posted in five parts: one each day this week. This is part 4. Hathaway and Shapiro claim that “the outlawry of war in 1928—and the broader legal transformation that it unleashed—made it safer to trade” (344). By introducing a safeguard against conquest, Kellogg-Briand released the energies of free trade and colonial nationalism, resulting in a globalized world economy and a quadrupling of the number of Continue reading →

Neutrality, Sanctions, and Outcasting

This post is an advance version of a review essay that will appear in Humanity volume 10. It will be posted in five parts: one each day this week. This is part 3. The Internationalists compellingly shows how the multi-layered nature of Old World Order made it difficult to undo all its principles at once. One of these principles was neutrality. Hathaway and Shapiro are not fans of it. They regard it as an “excuse” not to take action against aggressors and as a way Continue reading →

Outlawry and its History

This post is an advance version of a review essay that will appear in Humanity volume 10. It will be posted in five parts: one each day this week. This is part 2. Hathaway and Shapiro announce in their introduction that “this book is, at its core, a work of intellectual history” (xx). I am not sure that this does justice to the ambition of their project, which is much larger. In their conclusion, they summarize its essential point as the insight that “the choice Continue reading →

The Rise and Fall of Euro-American Inter-State War: Introduction

This post is an advance version of a review essay that will appear in Humanity volume 10. It will be posted in five parts: one each day this week. The Internationalists: How a Radical Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World Oona A. Hathaway and Scott J. Shapiro New York: Simon & Schuster, 2017. xxii + 430 pp. If one asked a group of historians, political scientists, and lawyers what they would consider the most important single treaty or international agreement of the last two Continue reading →

Capitalists and Climate

A number of the world’s political leaders are currently making a lot of fuss about their business credentials. The President of the United States is a “dealmaker.” The Prime Minister of Australia tells him on the phone that because they are both “businessmen” they understand each other and their “transactional” instincts. In other words, political exchange is not driven by any underlying ideal, but merely a quid pro quo. Although, to tell the truth, Malcolm Turnbull is less a businessman, and more, like the President Continue reading →

CFP: Human Rights Working Paper Series

Dedicated to interdisciplinary and critical dialogue on international human rights law and discourse, the Rapoport Center’s Working Paper Series (WPS) publishes innovative papers by established and early-career researchers as well as practitioners. The goal is to provide a productive environment for debate about human rights among academics, policymakers, activists, practitioners, and the public. Authors from all disciplines and institutions are welcome to submit papers on any topic related to human rights. For the 2017-2018 series, we particularly encourage papers that explore the relationship between labor, Continue reading →

The Transformative Occupations of Palestine

This post appears in conjunction with a dossier on transformative occupations in Humanity issue 8.2 There are two schools of thought on transformative occupations. Adam Scheffer narrowly contrasts it with the international humanitarian law (IHL) concept of belligerent occupation, whose main hallmark is its temporary character.[1] Nehal Bhuta offers a broad historical version, running the gamut from the occupatio bellica of the post-Napoleonic settlement to transformative humanitarian interventions both in the post-WWII and the post-Cold War era, and more recently in Iraq. The 20th century Continue reading →

The Meaning of the 1967 War

This post appears in conjunction with a dossier on transformative occupations in Humanity issue 8.2 In any attempt to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the 1967 war, it is inevitable to reflect on the meaning of Israel’s phenomenal victory and the transformations it brought about to the Middle East. In this regard, much has been written about the profound implications of the 1967 war on Arab world; the fall of Arab nationalism; the rise of Islamic politics; and the consolidation of authoritarian regimes as a way Continue reading →