A searching dialogue between two leading legal scholars exploring the place of law in global affairs.
The modern world is legalized: legal language, institutions, and professionals are everywhere. But what is law’s power in global life? What does all this legality have to do with hegemony, with hierarchy and inequality, and with the diversity of human experience? What is its history and how does that history matter in world affairs? Above all, what does it mean to think “critically” about law and global affairs? In this poignant and iconoclastic book, two leading scholars take us to the heart of the matter, examining law’s relationship with history, power, and political economy.
David Kennedy and Martti Koskenniemi have often inspired each other and are both considered “critical” voices in international law, but they have never explored their similarities and differences as deeply as they do here. Of Law and the World takes the form of a conversation, as the authors reflect on the study of international law, the motivations underlying their research, and the payoffs and limitations of their investigations into law’s role in global affairs. They revisit and renew debates about the past and future of the many legalities that shape our world.
Erudite, open-minded, and informed by decades of experience and observation, Of Law and the World is an unflinchingly honest confrontation with humanity’s struggle to live together.
Over the last four decades, David Kennedy and Martti Koskenniemi have occupied a unique space that was, simultaneously, at the top of the international law world and on its cutting edge. This book offers an enthralling tour of the intellectual and professional world they inhabited and sought to disrupt. A front-row seat to a fireside chat about how to plot critique.
In their engrossing exchanges about the deepest problems in their field, David Kennedy and Martti Koskenniemi continue to exemplify international legal theory in the least pretentious and most productive sense. Though entitled to review their accomplishments, they realize they are just at the start of making sense of what international law is and what it does—and generously take the reader with them on a journey that matters to everyone.
Rich and revealing dialogues between two grand figures of North Atlantic international legal scholarship who have been friends and colleagues for almost four decades. Kennedy and Koskenniemi illuminate their separate trajectories, common projects, and intellectual and personal influences. Their lively conversations are also disarming as a chronicle of a critical generation in international law.
An exhilarating gaze across the world—uniquely insightful, challenging, and provocative.
The conversation you’ve always hoped to overhear. Of Law and the World offers the followers and critics of Martti Koskenniemi and David Kennedy, two of the most influential international legal scholars of our time, the rare experience of being a fly on the wall of their virtual living room.
This is revelatory stuff, chock-full of insight, inspiration, humanity, and rage.
- 320 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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