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date: 21 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter problematizes the Hartian perspective in international law’s historiography and explores how it may compound a narrow understanding of international law that concentrates on states and their practices as the main actors of relevance to international law (hereinafter: the statist bias). It begins with a brief sketch of the state of the field and its main historiographical debates. It then revisits the statist bias and how this has been confronted through competing visions of the international lawyer and the institutional and social arenas in which he or she operates. Next, it attempts to unravel how these novel conceptions of agency correspond with key theoretical developments of the post-Cold War era: transnational and global historical writing and international legal theories on global governance. Drawing on the literature from these wide-ranging perspectives, the chapter argues for a broader scope for international legal history.

Keywords: legal history, international law, H. L. A. Hart, legal historiography, statist bias, historical writing, legal theory

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