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The Battle for International Law – South-North Perspectives on the Decolonization Era - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Battle for International Law: South-North Perspectives on the Decolonization Era

Jochen von Bernstorff and Philipp Dann


The so-called ‘decolonization era’ witnessed a fundamental challenge to (legalized) Western hegemony through a new vision of the institutional environment and political economy of the world. It is during this era, arguably couched between classic European imperialism and a new form of US-led Western hegemony, that fundamental legal debates took place over a new international legal order for a decolonized world. These debates consist in essence of a battle that was fought by diplomats, lawyers and scholars over, in particular, the premises and principles of international law. In a moment of rel ... More

Keywords: decolonization, international legal transformations, bandung, hegemony, boundary drawing, sattelzeit, law of the sea, use of force, humanitarian law, human rights law

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2019 Print ISBN-13: 9780198849636
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2019 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198849636.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Jochen von Bernstorff, editor
Chair of International Law and Human Rights, Law Faculty, University of Tübingen

Philipp Dann, editor
Chair of Public and Comparative Law, Faculty of Law, Humboldt University Berlin

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The Battle for International Law

Jochen von Bernstorff and Philipp Dann

Part I Sites of Battle

A. Concepts—Kampfbegriffe

1 The Common Heritage of Mankind

Surabhi Ranganathan

4 Colonial Fragments

Matthew Craven

7 The Battle Continues

Muthucumaraswamy Sornarajah

8 (De)colonizing Human Rights

Florian Hoffmann and Bethania Assy

9 Picking Battles

Rotem Giladi*

B. Institutions

Part II Individual Protagonists and Regional Perspectives

A. Individual Protagonists

14 Taslim Olawale Elias

Carl Landauer

B. Regional Perspectives

17 Literal ‘Decolonization’

Christopher Gevers


Martti Koskenniemi