Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Haskell on Modern Anglo-American Approaches to the History and Politics of International Law

John D. Haskell (Mississippi College School of Law/Durham University) has posted "The Scandal of Disenchantment: Blind Spots in Modern Anglo-American Approaches to the History and Politics of International Law." The article appeared in Volume 44 of the University of Memphis Law Review (2013). Here's the abstract:
From the “War on Terror” initiated during the Bush administration to the European conflict over the right to wear Islamic headscarves, the return of religion is a central challenge to inter-national law and policy in the post-Cold War. The legitimacy of international law is based on the claim that the normative foundations of modern sovereignty are agnostic to transcendental truth and political agendas. A sensibility of disenchantment, in other words, sustains the promise of international law’s emancipatory character. This article challenges the disenchantment thesis within international law through a historical and discursive analysis that draws upon diverse literature from legal theory, socio-political history, and theology. First, the article provides a revisionist history to the mainstream characterization that international law is a liberal cosmopolitan scheme of governance born through the slow divorce from a natural law and/or Christian orientation (e.g., the secularization thesis). Second, the article analyzes how the disenchantment thesis structures the options within international legal argument today, and in doing so, seeks to demonstrate that these options represent a set of false distinctions that hide the distinctly Christian core of modern international law. In conclusion, the article raises and considers the possibilities and limits of emancipation through international law in relation to its Christian orientation. 
Read on here.