20 May
12:30 - 18:00
Students and Academics Workshop

Narratives of International Law


International law is, in both scholarship and practice, a largely doctrinal exercise in which legal norms and texts are drafted, discussed, debated, challenged and reconsidered along the lines of a few ground rules governing their sources and interpretation. At the same time, a growing body of scholarship has emerged which attempts to uncover the wider context in which this exercise happens, in the form of critical approaches to international law. Critical scholars have tackled the societal context in which international law is practiced – the legacy of colonialism, the patriarchy, and other structural inequalities. They have drawn attention to the importance of historical analysis, the individual biases derived from the background of the scholar and/or practitioner, where they were trained, their identities and their allegiances. They have even deconstructed the methods of practicing international law themselves, unearthing logical challenges inherent in the doctrine.


As a result of all of this, the illusion of international law as a unified and possibly universal legal system has been shattered, as it has become clear that there are many narratives of what international law is, where it has come from, what its purpose is and where it is supposed to lead. Is international law an outdated, eurocentric collection of rules that has entrenched established interests and stands in the way of societal progress? Or is it rather a vehicle for that progress, a way for actors from around the world to work together and achieve important aims such as the attainment of peace and justice? Is it an inherently flawed regulatory system which only serves for lack of something better? Or can this system slowly but steadily be transformed into what its proponents have always aspired for it to become?


To explore these and related questions, the Maastricht University Study Group for Critical Approaches to International Law is hosting an online workshop featuring presentations from academics and students from across the globe. There will be three panels, each featuring a series of short presentations followed by a panel discussion with the possibility for audience members to pose questions.



Welcome by the workshop organisers

Panel 1: Historical Narratives and International Law

Chair: Sarah Thin, Maastricht University/University of Hasselt
Discussant: Matthew Windsor, University of Reading

Alejandro Ortega, Maastricht University
Zhuo Zenghua, Tsinghua University Law School
Agnata Kleczkowska, Institute of Law Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences
Nizamuddin Ahmad Siddiqui, Jindal Global University and Tarique Faiyaz,
Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law, Indian Institute of Technology
Henrique Marcos, Maastricht University/São Paolo University


Panel 2: Narratives of Humanity: Human Rights and International Criminal Law

Chair: Wim Muller, Maastricht University
Discussant: Sarah McGibbon, Maastricht University

Daniel Arboleda, Aix-Marseille University
Shaimaa Abdelkarim, Hague Academy of International Law
Ciara Laverty, Leiden University
Laetitia Wilms van Kersbergen, Maastricht University
Jana Trifunović, Maastricht University


Panel 3: Narratives of Space and Time

Chair: Sarah Thin, Maastricht University/University of Hasselt
Discussant: Liesbeth Lijnzaad, Maastricht University

Tommaso Soave, Central European University
Valerie Oosterveld, Western Law, Western University
Fernanda Araújo Braga, Maastricht University
Peter Pelzer and Carmen Enciso, Maastricht University
Apostolos Tsiouvalas, Norwegian Center for the Law of the Sea/University of Tromsø

Closing remarks

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