Perspective and Scale in the Architecture of International Legal History

30 European Journal of International Law (2019) 53-71

Posted: 16 Nov 2021

Date Written: January 23, 2019


Recent trends such as the turn to the history of international law, the parallel turn to the international law of history and the resulting emergence of international legal history as a field of study have encouraged an unprecedented interest in methodological questions in international legal history. Should international legal historians focus on the specific or the general? Should their narration be accessible to the many or should it be academic and addressed to the few? This article contributes to these emerging debates by focusing on the perspective and scale of analysis and investigating whether micro-historical approaches can help international legal historians to bridge the gap between the academic realm and the public, unveil unknown or little known international legal histories and contribute to the development of the field. This article aims to start a discussion on perspective and scale in international legal history and argues for inclusive and pluralist approaches by drawing out the advantages and potential of micro-history in relation to, and in combination with, the prevalent doctrinal, institutional and diplomatic macro-histories of international law.

Keywords: history and theory of international law, microhistory, methodology, methods, international law

Suggested Citation

Vadi, Valentina, Perspective and Scale in the Architecture of International Legal History (January 23, 2019). 30 European Journal of International Law (2019) 53-71, Available at SSRN:

Valentina Vadi (Contact Author)

Lancaster University ( email )

School of Law
Bowland North
Lancaster, Lancaster LS14YN
United Kingdom

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