Eurocentrism in the History of International Law

Arnulf Becker Lorca

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of International Law

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199599752
Published online December 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Law

Eurocentrism in the History of International Law


This chapter examines the intellectual history of international law and the rise of Eurocentrism; the Western origin and nature of international law in 1950s–1980s; the histories of international law in the non-Western world in 1980s–2000s; the global histories of international law; and the problem of Eurocentrism today. Disagreement regarding the Western nature and origin of international law, and regarding the relationship between international law and colonialism, have brought into the foreground the conflicting standpoints from which history is written. But claims about pure origins and histories based on a narrative of progress obscuring international law’s dark past still abound. The field is lively because these controversies have not been settled.

Keywords: Eurocentrism; international law; colonialism; Western law

Article.  10840 words. 

Subjects: Law ; History of Law ; International Law

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