Sunday, February 5, 2012

Go, 'Grrls! 2 books hot off the presses

Delighted to take note that 2 IntLawGrrls have just published books that contribute significantly to international legal studies:
► This week Oxford University Press will release War Time: An Idea, Its History, Its Consequences, by IntLawGrrls contributor Mary L. Dudziak (below left), who's the Judge Edward J. and Ruey L. Guirado Professor of Law, History and Political Science at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, and the founder of Legal History Blog (prior posts). Here's a summary:
When is wartime? On the surface, it is a period of time in which a society is at war. But we now live in what President Obama has called "an age without surrender ceremonies," as the Administration announced an "end to conflict in Iraq," even though conflict on the ground is ongoing. It is no longer easy to distinguish between wartime and peacetime. In this inventive meditation on war, time, and the law, Mary Dudziak argues that wartime is not as discrete a time period as we like to think. Instead, America has been engaged in some form of ongoing overseas armed conflict for over a century. Meanwhile policy makers and the American public continue to view wars as exceptional events that eventually give way to normal peace times. This has two consequences. First, because war is thought to be exceptional, "wartime" remains a shorthand argument justifying extreme actions like torture and detention without trial. Second, ongoing warfare is enabled by the inattention of the American people. More disconnected than ever from the wars their nation is fighting, public disengagement leaves us without political restraints on the exercise of American war powers.
(And see here.) Having read and heard Mary present an earlier essay on this topic, am looking forward to a careful study of this important book.
► Meanwhile, a few weeks ago OUP released The Slave Trade and the Origins of International Human Rights Law. The author is Jenny S. Martinez (below right), Warren Christopher Professor in the Practice of International Law and Diplomacy at Stanford Law School in Palo Alto, California (prior posts). Here's a summary excerpt:
[A]s Jenny Martinez shows in this novel interpretation of the roots of human rights law, the foundation of the movement that we know today was a product of one of the nineteenth century's central moral causes: the movement to ban the international slave trade. Originating in England in the late eighteenth century, abolitionism achieved remarkable success over the course of the nineteenth century. Martinez focuses in particular on the international admiralty courts, which tried the crews of captured slave ships. The courts, which were based in the Caribbean, West Africa, Cape Town, and Brazil, helped free at least 80,000 Africans from captured slavers between 1807 and 1871. Here then, buried in the dusty archives of admiralty courts, ships' logs, and the British foreign office, are the foundations of contemporary human rights law: international courts targeting states and non-state transnational actors while working on behalf the world's most persecuted peoples – captured West Africans bound for the slave plantations of the Americas.
(And see here.) As did Mary, Jenny published an article on the subject a while back.
Heartfelt congratulations to you both!

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