A Less Elevated Cosmopolitanism: Victor Hugo, Francis Lieber and the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71

Ville Kari, University of Helsinki

Guest lectures

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Ville Kari is a postgradate student working on a doctorate thesis on The classical doctrine of civil war in international law under the supervision of professor Jan Klabbers. He's the research assistant of professor Martti Koskenniemi.

This chapter, published in Towards Responsible Global Governance (J. Klabbers, M. Varaki and G. Vasconcelos Vilaça eds., Helsinki 2018), was the product of an opportunity to exercise creativity and innocent curiosity in the context of legal academic writing.

The chapter begins by noting how international lawyers love stories about old men. By contrast, the chapter explores the thoughts of two such ‘great men’ on the long term, when they were not always at their best. The two cosmopolites in question are Victor Hugo and Francis Lieber, both remarkable figures in the intellectual landscape from which the Institut de droit international emerged. The simple aim was thus to remind that ‘great men’ were not always that great.

By accident, the research then stumbled upon a historical story which seemed also meaningful beyond its original aims. It became a study not only about the ethical limits of two old men, but also a view into the old schism of Europe between the French and German nations, and the ideas of war, peace, revolution and unification in Europe. That story remains as meaningful as ever in the year 2019.

The book and the chapter are open access at Helda Helsinki.

Contact: Alberto Rinaldi

Event details
Mardi, 2 Avril, 2019 - 12:30 - 14:00
Sciences Po Law School, 13 rue de l’université, 75007 Paris, Room 410T (4th floor)
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