Events

The Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights
Faculty of Law
P.O. BOX 4 (visiting address: Yliopistonkatu 3)
FI-00014 UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI
Tel: +358 (0)29 4123140

intlaw-institute(at)helsinki.fi







 

Erik Castrén Brown Bag lecture of Dr. Rotem Giladi

Warm welcome to this autumn's first Brown Bag seminar by Dr. Rotem Giladi on
RITES OF AFFIRMATION: PROGRESS AND IMMANENCE IN INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW HISTORIOGRAPHY
on Wednesday 14 October, at 3.15pm in P669 (Porthania, 6th floor).

Coffee will be served!

Paper by request from intlaw-institute@helsinki.fi

Abstract
In this article, I identify, demonstrate, explain, and critique two historiographic types used in the writing of the past of international humanitarian law (IHL). One tells of IHL’s ineluctable progress, the other of its timeless, culture-less, universal immanence. These appear at odds: one narrates the dynamic process of restraining of war through law; the other emphasises a constant and immutable idea of restraint that inheres in any human civilisation. Nonetheless, these two types share the same function: both are used to affirm, to exogenous and endogenous audiences, faith in the project to humanise war. Deconstructing these narratives as forms of social memory suggests, however, that both in fact allow IHL practitioners to
come to terms with the present state of the project to humanize war by deferring the fulfilment of IHL’s promise to the indefinite future. Both types express and deal with epistemic
anxieties about the present achievements of the project. I conclude by sketching the role of a much-needed different history of IHL.