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War, The State and International Law in Seventeenth Century Europe

International Conference at the German Historical Institute, London
PD Dr. Olaf Asbach (Hamburg) and Dr. Peter Schröder (London) in co-operation with Prof. Andreas Gestrich, German Historical Institute London

This international conference aims to explore the history of early modern Political Thought of International Relations. Despite the fact that public debate about international relations refers increasingly to the “end of the Westphalian era” or talks about “the recurrence of just wars”, it is still a regrettable fact that the history of political thought has not paid much attention to this area of research.

Given that with the discoveries of the New World and the Reformation the complexity of international relations increased considerably, it is no surprise that the attempt to react to this new scenario resulted in a range of practical and theoretical responses that are still found in current debates. The emergence of “modern” international law (Vitoria, Grotius, Pufendorf, Vattel), the equation of international relations with the state of nature (Hobbes) and the idea of the balance of power are just a few cases in point. These various theories were intended to address the inherent contradictions and conflicts of the anarchical society of states. They were accompanied by the emergence of diplomatic procedures and commercial customs which in their turn shaped the emerging international state system. The conference will deal with significant aspects of international relations theory and practice to explore the methodological and theoretical achievements of the early modern period.

Conference programme (PDF file)

The proceedings of this conference have now been published:

War, the State and International Law in Seventeenth-Century Europe / Ed. by Olaf Asbach and Peter Schröder
Farnham : Ashgate, 2010. - XI, 273 p.
ISBN: 978-0-7546-6811-4

Read more about this publication (this link will take you to Ashgate).