Marked Absences: Locating Gender and Race in International Legal History

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This article was sparked by a critical reading of Henri de Waele's article 'A New League of Extraordinary Gentlemen? The Professionalization of International Law Scholarship in the Netherlands, 1919-1940', and aims to offer an alternative perspective on this period in the history of Dutch international legal scholarship. While it appreciates the author's examination of Dutch international law scholarship during the interwar period and concurs with the idea that this scholarship needs to be examined more closely, it argues that doing history today requires us first to raise 'the woman question', especially in the context of the so-called 'professionalization' of international law in the 1920s and 1930s, and second to include Dutch colonialism as an important backdrop to the work of the interwar international law scholars. I will give some pointers and illustrations to support this argument. The specific Dutch material brought to bear aims to show more generally the importance of questioning rather than reproducing traditional historiography, within which 'the woman question' and 'the colonial question' were left unmentioned. As such this article also deals with the issue of expanding and remaking international legal history as an issue of present and future purport.




Marked Absences: Locating Gender and Race in International Legal History. (2020). European Journal of International Law, 31(3), 1025–1050.

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