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Book launch: 'The Hidden History of International Law in the Americas: Empi...

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UCL Institute of the Americas

51 Gordon Square

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WC1H 0PN

United Kingdom

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Juan Pablo Scarfi (CONICET, Argentina) - International law has played a crucial role in the construction of imperial projects. Yet within the growing field of studies about the history of international law and empire, scholars have seldom considered this complicit relationship in the Americas. The Hidden History of International Law in the Americas offers the first exploration of the deployment of international law for the legitimization of U.S. ascendancy as an informal empire in Latin America. This book explores the intellectual history of a distinctive idea of American international law in the Americas, focusing principally on the evolution of the American Institute of International Law (AIIL). This organization was created by U.S. and Chilean jurists James Brown Scott and Alejandro Alvarez in Washington D.C. for the construction, development, and codification of international law across the Americas.

The book examines the debates sparked by the AIIL over American international law, intervention and non-intervention, Pan-Americanism, the codification of public and private international law and the nature and scope of the Monroe Doctrine, as well as the international legal thought of Scott, Alvarez, and a number of jurists, diplomats, politicians, and intellectuals from the Americas. It argues that American international law, as advanced primarily by the AIIL, was driven by a U.S.-led imperial aspiration of civilizing Latin America through the promotion of the international rule of law. By providing a convincing critical account of the legal and historical foundations of the Inter-American System, this book will stimulate debate among international lawyers, IR scholars, political scientists, and intellectual historians.

Juan Pablo Scarfi completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge in 2014. He is currently a Research Associate at the Argentine National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET), and an Assistant Professor of International Relations & International Law at the School of Politics and Government at the National University of San Martín, Argentina. He was a Visiting Scholar at University College London (Institute of the Americas), UK and Columbia University, US. He is the author of The Hidden History of International Law in the Americas: Empire and Legal Networks (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017), El imperio de la ley: James Brown Scott y la construcción de un orden jurídico interamericano (Buenos Aires: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2014) and co-editor of Cooperation and Hegemony in US-Latin American Relations: Revisiting the Western Hemisphere Idea (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).


Attendance is free of charge but registration is required. IMPORTANT NOTE on access to 51 Gordon Square: in order to ensure the smooth delivery of the lectures or presentations, and for ease of logistics, access may be restricted after the start of the event. We will endeavour to accommodate late arrivals within our possibilities, but an early arrival is recommended to avoid disappointment.

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UCL Institute of the Americas

51 Gordon Square

London

WC1H 0PN

United Kingdom

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