Accueil > Theory and international law


Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Autumn 2018-2019

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

This course will engage with a dozen of key (Western and non-Western) philosophers of the 19th and 20th centuries with a view to revisiting international law from a philosophical perspective. Some of these philosophers' main ideas as well as the controversies they brought about will be applied to international law and contemporary international legal problems. In other words, use will be made of some of the major philosophical works of the last two centuries to provide new tools and perspective to think about international law and the most pressing international legal issues. For each session, works of these key philosophers will be the starting point of the discussion. The key philosophers that will be discussed in the course include: Hegel, Marx, Schmitt, Benjamin, Butler, Saussure, Levi-Strauss, etc. Some of the central questions addressed in this course include but are not limited to: Is international law a tool of emancipation or domination? What are the theoretical constructions that International law is repeatedly built on? Is international law a mere regulatory instrument or is it playing a bigger performative role in our societies? What can philosophers teach us as to the foundations, limitations, agendas, or projects of international law? Can philosophical tools empower those who want to change international law? The course aims at developing students' critical and analytical skills while also enabling them to handle and use philosophical tools and concepts. It simultaneously seeks to increase students' mastery of some of the most significant philosophical works of the 19th and 20th centuries.


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

Continuous assessment : 100 % of the final grade. 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. This essay is the primary basis of evaluation for this course. Students will write a 1-page synopsis every week about the main questions addressed in the readings. The quality of the weekly synopsis as well as participation during the sessions will be taken into account in the final evaluation.


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

Required reading

au minimum 1 lecture obligatoire, 5 maximum qui seront affichées dans le recueil des enseignements). For each seminar, students will be expected to read approx. 2-3 pieces of scholarship. Readings will be provided for the students on Google drive.

Additional required reading

(facultatif, ces lectures seront affichées sur le site Web)