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07.01.2018 15:49 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, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  Programme Group 'Challenges to Democratic Representation', University of Amsterdam
  Amsterdam Centre for Political Thought
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 

1. Kant and war
Chair: Enzo Rossi

Theme paper:
Arthur Ripstein
Perpetual War or Perpetual Peace?

Comments: Thomas Mertens, Johan Olsthoorn, Jonathan Yovel 


2. 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


3. The limits of just war
Chair: Ester Herlin-Karnell

Johan Olsthoorn
Pacifism and Duties not to Exercise Rights to Wage War

Massimo Renzo
Why Colonialism is Wrong

Daniel Statman
Unreliable Protection: Proportionality Judgments in War

Comments: Enzo Rossi

Conference dinner (Restaurant TBC)

2 February

3. 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


4. 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 


5. 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 18:00: 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)

Check Amsterdam Centre for Political Thought website for updates:


Enzo Rossi, Associate Professor
Department of Political Science 
University of Amsterdam
Roeterseiland Campus, Rm B10.5
PO Box 15578
NL-1001 NB Amsterdam

Email: <>