University of Technology Sydney

76109 History and Theory of International Law

Requisite(s): ( 70108 Public International Law OR ((70108c Public International Law OR 76006c Public International Law OR 76110c Introduction to Public International Law) AND 70110 Introduction to Law) OR ((94 credit points of completed study in spk(s): C04236 Juris Doctor OR 142 credit points of completed study in spk(s): C04250 Juris Doctor Master of Business Administration OR 94 credit points of completed study in spk(s): C04363 Juris Doctor Master of Intellectual Property OR 94 credit points of completed study in spk(s): C04364 Juris Doctor Graduate Certificate Trade Mark Law and Practice) AND 70106c Principles of Public International Law AND 70107c Principles of Company Law) OR (70106 Principles of Public International Law AND 94 credit points of completed study in spk(s): C04320 Juris Doctor Graduate Certificate Professional Legal Practice))
The lower case 'c' after the subject code indicates that the subject is a corequisite. See definitions for details.
These requisites may not apply to students in certain courses.
There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject covers selected topics in the history and theory of public international law. It provides students with an introduction to current key theoretical debates in international law through a range of topics including: human rights and citizenship; international economic law and development; use of force and terrorism; minority rights and self-determination; and international law, race and gender. Students gain an appreciation of the recurrence of and changes in these themes through the course of modern international law from the 19th century to the present day. Through analysing international law with reference to historical debates, developments and perspectives, students develop a deeper understanding of how key areas of international law present themselves today and how legal theory informed past practices and contributes to current debates in the discipline.

Students engage in the reading and discussion of key texts by leading legal, political and moral philosophers. Using select case studies, students consider contemporary global legal problems that test the limits of existing law and question their political, economic, social and cultural effects. Students develop their comprehension, analysis, critical thinking and writing skills as part of these inquiries to inform their thinking on key, perennial international law questions: Is international law 'international'? Who belongs and who is excluded in international legal regimes? How is legality defined and determined? How is justice defined and determined? What values does international law promote?

Students develop their theoretical and historical understanding of law by focusing on the dynamic and contested field of international law.

Detailed subject description.

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