Towards Utopia – Rethinking International Law Call for Papers: Walther Schücking Workshop for Young International Lawyers Kiel, 19-20 August 2017

We welcome submissions that engage with utopian thought and international law – either in form of substantive suggestions or recursively on utopian approaches in general and the possibility of rethinking international law. Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • The role(s) of utopianism: Which role(s), if any, does utopianism play in current international legal theory and political morality? Which should it play? Are some areas of law (e.g. human rights, ius cogens) particularly relevant – or troublesome?
  • Moral and legal progress: How, if ever, can we reach or work towards utopia? How should progress be measured? What are the implications for conceptualising time, morality, and law?
  • Existing structures: How do current structures of international law (e.g. certain dogmatic approaches, formalism, supposed objectivity or neutrality of law) relate to utopian thought? How, if ever, can these be overcome? Should they?
  • Critical approaches revisited: Can primarily critical and deconstructive approaches (feminist, queer, anti-colonialist, critical race or disability studies, etc.) be given positive and utopian formulations?
  • Practical implications: What should utopian proposals actually look like? What are their implications for structural reforms of international law and international organisations? What would such reforms entail?

Interested scholars should submit an abstract of around 750 words to the organising committee ( by 8 May 2017. Abstracts must include a title and the name and affiliation of the author; preference will be given to those at an early stage of their career (PhD students or post-docs). We encourage scholars with different backgrounds to apply – interdisciplinary submissions are welcome.

If your abstract is accepted, you will be expected to submit a paper of around 8,000 words (including footnotes) by 7 August 2017. The papers will be circulated among the workshop participants in advance to facilitate an in-depth discussion. Selected papers may, subject to peer review, subsequently be published in the German Yearbook of International Law


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