Intellectual History of International Law: Empire and Religion


The research project “Intellectual History of International Law: Empire and Religion” was funded by the Academy of Finland through a research grant awarded for Academy Professor Martti Koskenniemi.

The first stage of the project ran from 2012 until 2014. A second stage spanned the years 2015–2016.

The project focused on two dimensions of the history of international legal thought, namely the role of religion in the formation and application of legal concepts and institutions from early modernity (16th century) to the present, and the way those concepts and institutions have contributed to specifically imperial ideas about how the world ought to be governed. The project was divided into two “streams”, one on “religion” and the other on “empire”. Each researcher worked broadly focusing on either one or the other of the streams. These streams also lent themselves to the organization of seminars and workshops with the eventual objective of producing collective works on the relations of international law to religion and empire.

A sizeable part of the project’s work materialized in two internationally constituted working groups, one on International Law and Empire and the other on International Law and Religion. The “Empire” group was coordinated by Rech and Jiménez Fonseca, and the “Religion” group by García-Salmones Rovira and Amorosa.