Turntablism in the History of International Law

20 Journal of History of the International Law (2020) (Forthcoming)

25 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2020

See all articles by Jean d'Aspremont

Jean d'Aspremont

Sciences Po Law School; University of Manchester - School of Law

Date Written: May 11, 2020


This article uses the metaphor of turntablism to shed light on how international lawyers’ engagement with history has remained confined to the same terms, vocabularies, and categories of the very historical narratives they seek to evaluate, disrupt, or displace. In this article, turntablism is understood as the art of creating new music and sound effects by using one or several turntables on which a record is placed. This article argues that twenty-first century international lawyers engaging with the history of international law are talented turntablists. The many historiographical works produced by such lawyers, since the so-called ‘historical turn’, have remained confined to the very terms, categories, and vocabularies of the histories whose creation they discuss and theorise. This article ultimately shows that turntablism is not the inevitable fate of international lawyers engaging with history, and that a radical historical critique is possible and should be promoted.

Keywords: History of International Law, Critical History, Radical Critique, Hayden White, Turntablism, TWAIL

Suggested Citation

d'Aspremont, Jean, Turntablism in the History of International Law (May 11, 2020). 20 Journal of History of the International Law (2020) (Forthcoming), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3598573

Jean D'Aspremont (Contact Author)

Sciences Po Law School ( email )

13 rue de l'université
Paris, 75007

HOME PAGE: http://www.sciencespo.fr/ecole-de-droit/en/profile/daspremont-jean

University of Manchester - School of Law ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester M13 9PL, M139PL
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.manchester.ac.uk/research/Jean.daspremont/

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