Lecture FS 2018: History of International Law

Subject Matter

This course aims to enhance your understanding of contemporary international law by exploring the historical context within which its rules and institutions emerged. During the first part of the course, we will discuss core elements of the modern international legal order and their genealogy such as the law of diplomatic relations, colonialism and international law, the rise of the territorial State, the concept of sovereignty, and the development of the ius ad bellum. In the second part, participants will give presentations on a topic relating either to the two World Wars and collective security or to the emerging age of human rights (see list of topics here (PDF, 190 KB)). In addition to their presentation, students are expected to hand in a paper of c. 2000 words on the respective topic by May 28th. The slots for students’ presentations are awarded on a first-come first-served basis ; please send an e-mail with three choices (in order of priority) to felicitas.kuehn@rwi.uzh.ch by February 26th. Your application for a presentation is binding.

Course Materials

All you need to follow the lecture is the reader. The first chapter (PDF, 316 KB) is already freely available. You will receive a password in the first lecture to download the rest of the reader.

Additional Course Materials (Int’l Criminal Law)

The additional course materials can be found here


If the number of students exceeds the number of presentation slots, those students unable to present will instead take an oral exam at the end of May.

Lecture Hall


Slides Student Presentations