Episode 14: Legal Imagination and the History of International Power

In this episode of the EuroStorie Podcast we talk to Martti Koskenniemi about legal imagination and how it relates to the formation of international law as a discipline. Additionally, we discuss the different ways the basic structures of international power – sovereignty and property – have been conceptualized, and how the history of legal imagination can help us better understand the nature of these concepts and their uses.

You can also listen to the episode on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Overcast, Pocket Casts, and Radio Public.

Transcription of the episode.


Martti Koskenniemi

Martti Koskenniemi is an emeritus professor of International law and the director of the Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights. He has held visiting professorships at New York University, the University of Cambridge, the University of Utrecht, Columbia University, The University of Sao Paulo, the University of Toronto, and several different Universities in Paris, and has been a centennial professor at the LSE. In addition to this, he was also a member of the Finnish diplomatic service (1978-1994) and the International Law Commission (UN) (2002-2006).

During his academic career, Martti Koskenniemi has published widely on the history and politics of international law. His main publications include From Apology to Utopia: The Structure of International Legal Argument (1989), The Gentle Civilizer of Nations: The Rise and Fall of International Law 1870-1960 (2001), The Politics of International Law (2011), and The Cambridge Companion to International Law. In this episode, we discussed his latest book: To the Uttermost Parts of the Earth: Legal Imagination and International Power 1300–1870.

Aada Pettersson

Aada Pettersson is the host of the EuroStorie Podcast. She is a doctoral candidate in Subproject 2, Discovering the Limits of Reason – Europe and the Crisis of Universalism. Aada has a background in Classical Greek and European studies. Her doctoral dissertation focuses on the notion of civil strife in European political thought. @aadapettersson

Ka­ro­lina Sten­lund

Dr. Karolina Stenlund is a post-doctoral researcher in subproject 1, Law and the Uses of the Past. She holds a Doctor of Laws from Uppsala University and has been a visiting researcher at Harvard Law School. Her interests lie within the field of legal history, human rights, EU constitutional law, CLS/Crit, and civil law. She is currently working on a project where she critically analyzes the uses of Holocaust memory in EU lawmaking. @karolinastenlund


Koskenniemi, Martti. (2021). To the Uttermost Parts of the Earth: Legal Imagination and International Power 1300–1870. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 


Episode no: 14 (series 3, episode 2)
Date recorded: 23 September 2022
Release date: 25 October 2022
Episode production, recording, and editing: Viljami Salo, Liina Aulanko, and Aada Pettersson
Music: Antonio Lopez Garcia
Web Content: Liina Aulanko and Viljami Salo
Banner: Tuomas Heikkilä
Banner photo: Unsplash/Jakob Braun