International Law in the Historical Present Tense

Leiden Journal of International Law, Vol. 22, 2009

21 Pages Posted: 14 May 2010 Last revised: 17 May 2010

Date Written: May 12, 2010


Since it is traditionally labeled the most neglected aspect of the field, different triggering factors might account for the so-called ‘historical turn’ in international law in the post-Cold War era.On the material side,the preconditions for professional work in this area have been met by a certain democratization of research brought about by the progressive incorporation of new technologies and a trendy rising demand for international lego-historically oriented work from the publishing side.

The emergence of specialist journals, the consecration – as a matter of editorial policy – of special issues in reputed publications to key historical doctrinal figures of international law, and the appearance of a number of emblematic book-length works (which have, in their turn, contributed to feeding the industry of historical international legal commentary) feature both as cause and as nurturing ongoing effect of the contemporary ‘global surge of interest in the history of international law and its scholarship’. While admittedly receptive in its evolutionary dynamics to these favourable background material academic conditions, a number of intradisciplinary rationales should be concomitantly examined so as to account for the accompanying scholarly spiritual drive that has made it possible that the history of international law may today claim a disciplinary status of its own.

Suggested Citation

de la Rasilla del Moral, Ignacio, International Law in the Historical Present Tense (May 12, 2010). Leiden Journal of International Law, Vol. 22, 2009 , Available at SSRN: or

Ignacio de la Rasilla del Moral (Contact Author)

Wuhan University - Institute of International Law ( email )


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