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07.01.2018 15:07 Alter: 12 days

The Public Uses of Coercion and Force

Conference Announcement

Theme: The Public Uses of Coercion and Force
Subtitle: From Constitutionalism to War
Type: International Conference
Institution: Centre for European Legal Studies, Programme Group
'Challenges to Democratic Representation' and Amsterdam Centre for
Political Thought, University of Amsterdam
Location: Amsterdam (Netherlands)
Date: 1.–2.2.2018

The Kantian project of achieving perpetual peace among states seems
(at best) an unfulfilled hope. The wider category of global justice
may not fare much better. Modern states' authority claims and their
exercise of power and sovereignty span a spectrum from the most
stringently and explicitly codified--the constitutional level – to the
most fluid and turbulent – acts of war. However, the nexus between
internal and external security – be it pursued through war or law
enforcement – is still undertheorised. Inter alia, that suggests a
specific connection between constitutionalism and just war theory, as
both concern the justifiability of state action vis-à-vis individuals
as well as states. This conference aims to explore that connection
through the lens of the relationship between law and just war theory.
Arthur Ripstein's new book manuscript on those themes will provide a
focal point for the discussion, and we are honoured to be able to
share it among our participants.

Some of the questions to be considered by the speakers are the
following: what, if any, are the normatively salient differences
between states' internal coercion and external use of force? Is it
possible to isolate the constitutional level from other aspects of
the political? How could that be done while at the same time
guaranteeing a robust conception of human rights and adherence to the
rule of law? Likewise, is war an extension of political practice or
an alternative to it? New forms and technologies of warfare raise
further fundamental questions about due process, individual
responsibility, fairness and broader questions pertaining to justice
and the responsibility to protect. From a constitutional perspective,
questions may concern the justification for state action, the human
rights framework, and the question of judicial review and
proportionality reasoning in “emergency” contexts.

Draft programme

1 February 

11 am
Kant and war
Chair: Enzo Rossi
- Theme paper: Arthur Ripstein, Perpetual War or Perpetual Peace?
 (title TBC)
- Comments: Thomas Mertens, Johan Olsthoorn, Jonathan Yovel


Just war theory and global constitutionalism
Chair: Wolfgang Wagner
- Mattias Kumm, The global constitutional moment after WWII: The use
of force after the end of war
- Malcolm Thorburn, Justifying the legal equality of combatants in IHL
 on grounds of state authority Comments: Alon Harel


The limits of just war
Chair: Ester Herlin-Karnell
- Johan Olsthoorn, Pacifism and Duties not to Exercise Rights to Wage
- Massimo Renzo, Why Colonialism is Wrong
- Daniel Statman,  Unreliable Protection: Proportionality Judgments in
- Comments: Enzo Rossi

Conference dinner (Restaurant TBC)

2 February

9 am
War, Justice and Constitutionalism 
Chair: Ester Herlin-Karnell
- Alon Harel, Why I am not a Revisionist
- Katja Ziegel, Parliamentary involvement in the decision to go to war
- Comments: Malcolm Thorburn


Cosmopolitan right(s)
Chair: Enzo Rossi
- Luigi Corrias & Bertjan Wolthuis, Humanity and Human Rights:
 Phenomenological, Not Political
- Aravind Ganesh, Wirtbarkeit: Cosmopolitan Right and Innkeeping
- Comments: Mattias Kumm 


Reform and justification
Chair: Mattias Kumm
- Kai Moller, Justifying the culture of justification
- Hadassa Noorda, Law Reform as a Response to Terrorist Threats
- Comments: Ester Herlin-Karnell 


Chair: Arthur Ripstein

From 6pm: Informal drinks, dinner

Seminar Room A3.01, University of Amsterdam REC-A Building, Nieuwe
Achtergracht 166, 1018 WV Amsterdam

Organized by the VU Centre for European Legal Studies, the UvA
Programme Group ‘Challenges to Democratic Representation’, and the
Amsterdam Centre for Political Thought. Kindly hosted at Paul
Scholten Centre for Jurisprudence, University of Amsterdam.

Ester Herlin-Karnell (VU), Enzo Rossi (UvA)

Registration arrangements TBC. Check Amsterdam Centre for Political
Thought website for updates:


Enzo Rossi 
Department of Political Science
University of Amsterdam
Roeterseiland Campus, Rm B10.5
PO Box 15578
NL-1001 NB Amsterdam
Email: E.Rossi(at)