Nov. 9: Territoriality in the History of International Law

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Territoriality in the History of International Law

IILJ Mini Workshop

November 9, 2017, 9:00am – 12:00pm

22 Washington Square North, 1st floor conference room

 Twenty-first century international law holds that territory is a fundamental characteristic of a state. Indeed, the Montevideo Convention of 1933, which articulated the most widely-cited modern definition of the state, lists territory as the second of four vital characteristics of a state under international law: a population, a territory, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other states. Yet, territory was not always essential to the conception of statehood. As little as a century ago, territory was a more contested characteristic than the Montevideo Convention implies, particularly in the colonial world, but also elsewhere. It was argued that people, rather than territory, formed the basis of statehood. Cadastral mapping, the Torrens system, the movement of peoples, and legal protection, for example, all bespoke alternative modes of “being a state,” in which territory was either secondary or absent. This IILJ fall 2017 mini-workshop rereads historical state practices to problematize the unquestioned relationship between territoriality and the state.


Professor Benedict Kingsbury 



Christopher A. Casey (UC Berkeley/NYU): The Act of State Doctrine, Diplomatic Protection, and International Remedies at the Turn of the Twentieth Century 

Prabhakar Singh (Jindal Global University): Life of Imperialism: Thailand, Territory and State Transformation

Robert Howse (NYU) & Ruti Teitel (NYLS/LSE/HU): Intergroup Conflicts over Sovereignty and Property: Extending the Normative Universe through Human Rights Adjudication

Karin Loevy (NYU): The Balfour Declaration’s Territorial Landscape: Between Protection and Self Determination



Eyal Benvenisti (University of Cambridge); Nathaniel Berman (Brown University)Daniel Hulsebosch (NYU)Peter Szigeti (NYU/Alberta). 


Breakfast will be served from 8:30 in the 1st floor conference room.

Lunch will be served from 12-1pm in the 1st floor lounge.

Please RSVP by email to