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ODEC 8070 - International Legal Theory and Global Governance

Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Autumn 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

Theory is constitutive of the law as well as the world to which it is applied. In that sense, theory is everywhere when one comes to think of the problems of the world, international law, and global governance. And yet, theory has never been the object of as many disagreements as today. Indeed, there is an unprecedented variety of ways in which international law and global governance are theorized today. Long articulated along the reductive divide between naturalism and legal positivism, theoretical debates about international law and global governance have witnessed the rise of a wide range of new but distinct critical projects, each of them coming with different conceptual, methodological, investigational, and functional choices. This course is premised on the idea that, whatever their respective areas of expertise, 21st century lawyers cannot be indifferent to the politics of conceptualisation that is inherent in these variety of understandings of international law and global governance. This course will allow student to develop critical skills to unravel the “politics” of legal arguments about international law and the problems the latter is meant to resolve. It will train students to decipher the methodological choices, genealogies, and agendas informing the most dominant approaches to international law and global governance.


D'ASPREMONT, Jean (Professeur à l'Ecole de Droit de Sciences Po)

Pedagogical format

Interactive seminars where all students are expected to participate based on their reading of the materials prescribed for each seminar.

Course validation

Students will write an essay (4000 words) on a topic of their choice. The topic must relate to one of the specific or cross-cutting questions discussed in the course and must be preliminarily approved by the lecturer.


Weekly reading (in English). Approx 3 hours of preparation per week.

Required reading

For each seminar, students will be expected to read approx. 2-3 pieces of scholarship.

Additional required reading

  • General optional reading:
  • A. Orford and F. Hoffmann (eds), The Oxford Handbook of the Theory of International Law (OUP, 2016)
  • Every week, a list of additional readings will be provided with a view to allowing students to deepen their knowledge and understanding of the topics they are the most interested in.