Call for Papers

Call for Papers: The Paths of Change in International Law
Workshop, 6 and 7 June 2019
Geneva, Switzerland


Nico Krisch, Professor, International Law, Graduate Institute
Ezgi Yildiz, Postdoctoral Researcher, Global Governance Centre, Graduate Institute

This workshop is a part of the European Research Council funded PATHS project, where we investigate the ways in which international law changes informally (through reinterpretation or shifts in custom).

International law is traditionally seen to erect high hurdles for change – typically unanimity or a uniformity of practice of states – and this high threshold has provoked much criticism for hindering the pursuit of justice, the provision of public goods, and the democratic revision of political choices. Yet in different areas, such as international criminal law or the law of international organizations, international law has in recent times undergone more rapid change than the traditional picture would allow, and often in informal ways that do not fit classical categories. However, this greater dynamism has found little sustained attention in scholarship so far. The PATHS project seeks to fill this gap and understand when and how international law changes, how this change is registered among participants in legal discourses and how the pathways of change differ across issue areas and sites of international legal practice.

In the workshop, we seek to bring together leading and rising scholars from different disciplines – law, international relations, and political sociology – to explore these issues in a small and interactive format. We are particularly interested in sharpening the contrasts between different theoretical and methodological approaches, and invite participants to develop distinctive arguments rather than ecumenical accounts.

We invite submissions that tackle the following questions:

– What are the factors behind change (and stasis) in international law?
– How does political change translate into legal change in the international realm?
– What role do powerful and less powerful states, international institutions, and courts play?
– When is international legal change rapid, when incremental?
– Who can block change in international law?

Submission procedure:

We invite interested scholars to submit an abstract of no more than 300 words by 10 January 2019 at

Proposals will be selected based on their quality, originality and engagement with the workshop themes. Accepted submissions will be notified by 10 February 2019.

We expect to receive a draft of your papers by 30 May 2019. We do not expect fully-developed papers, but rather short, crisp pieces of 10 to 15 pages that speak directly to some of these questions on the basis of your theoretical and empirical expertise.

Practical information:

The workshop will be held at the Graduate Institute of International and Development in Geneva, Switzerland. We will cover your travel expenses (economy airfare) and accommodation in Geneva.

A pdf version of the call can be found here.