The Places in Between

10 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2022

See all articles by Daniel Bodansky

Daniel Bodansky

Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Date Written: December 29, 2021


Should international lawyers care about history and, if so, why? What is history for? In her new. book, International Law and the Politics of History (Cambridge 2021), Anne Orford frames the possible answers in Manichean terms. On one side are professional historians, who believe that history can “answer once and for all in some determinate, objective manner” questions about the “meaning and understanding of international law.” On the other side are critical scholars, like Orford herself, who believe that history is “inevitably partisan and political” and provides lawyers only with arguments, not answers. In presenting only these two extremes, Orford does not consider that there might be places in between – that history might be able to answer some questions but not others; that historians might be more or less objective and more or less partisan; that history might be neither neoformalism nor politics, but simply history.

Keywords: International law, history

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Bodansky, Daniel, The Places in Between (December 29, 2021). Forthcoming in Temple International & Comparative Law Journal, Vol. 36, No. 2, Available at SSRN: or

Daniel Bodansky (Contact Author)

Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law ( email )

111 E Taylor St
Phoenix, AZ 85004
United States

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics