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Author: Jenny Benham

"It is the contention of this book that there was a notion of international law in the medieval period, and more specifically in the period 700 to 1200. It examines and analyses the ways and the extent to which such as system of rules was known and followed in the Middle Ages by exploring treaties as the main source of international law, and by following a known framework of evidencing it: that it was practised on a daily basis; that there was a reliance upon justification of action; that the majority of international legal rules were consistently obeyed; and finally, that it had the function to resolve disputed questions of fact and law.

This monograph further considers problems such as enforcement, deterrence, authority, and jurisdiction, considering carefully how they can be observed in the medieval evidence, and challenging traditional ideas over their role and function in the history of international law. This monograph then, attempts to make a leap forward in thinking about how rulers, communities, and political entities conducted diplomacy and regulated their interactions with each other in a period before fully fledged nation states.

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The introduction explains the outline of the monograph, its methodology, the usage of some of the terminology, and further sets the topic into its historiographical context. In addition, it explores the possibilities and problems of approaching the medieval period and its primary sources through the methodology adopted in this book.

in International law in Europe, 700–1200
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Law, responsibility, and deterrence

In the modern period, no states claim to be above the law or that international law does not bind them. This chapter argues likewise that, in the medieval period, rulers and political entities justified their actions in legal terms when they departed from a legal norm. In the later medieval period, the issue of justification has been explored mainly through the development of the ‘just war’ doctrine and canon law. The chapter builds on that historiography by examining how in the period before 1200, treaties, diplomatic documents and narratives often give evidence of such justifications, thereby providing strong indications that rulers followed the rules of international law as a matter of obligation and not only as a matter of choice or on moral grounds. To explore this fully, the chapter returns to familiar questions about violence and peace, e.g., how and in what circumstances violent action was justified, and who had the authority to carry out such violence. It further identifies what constituted breaches of international law and how parties dealt with such breaches, thereby revealing medieval conceptions of responsibility and liability. Examining justifications hence demonstrates something of how deterrence worked in the medieval period and the effectiveness of this.

in International law in Europe, 700–1200
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"Arbitration, mediation, and third- party intervention"

"This chapter investigates how medieval entities and rulers resolved disputed questions of fact and law through one particular method: arbitration. It was, and continues to be, one of the most common ways to resolve conflict, secure peace and deter future violence. Its frequent and sustained use as a method to settle disputes at lower levels of society during the whole of the medieval period and across most geographical areas has often been acknowledged by scholars, but, in an international context, it has been seen primarily as a late-medieval phenomenon, involving the papacy or merchant towns, e.g., those of the Hanseatic League.

The chapter argues that in the period before 1200, arbitration was a relatively rare method for determining disputes between rulers, yet it was one that had a clear process with specific terminology, procedure, and expectations. More commonly, the evidence show that parties used arbitration panels, drawing an equal number of men from each side, to discuss, determine, and decide disputes over individual stipulations in treaties. This chapter hence demonstrates the involvement of both individuals and communities in conflict resolution, their authority and ability to make decisions on matters in dispute, and how they encouraged, coerced, or reinforced obligations and responsibilities agreed in treaties. In short, there were well-developed strategies for resolving international disputes, employing judicial institutions that were widely used and known to all parties.

in International law in Europe, 700–1200
"Redress, amnesty, and transitional justice"

The extent to which the international legal rules may have been consistently obeyed is the most difficult part to assess, both in the medieval period and in the contemporary world, and it is a notion that goes right to the heart of the question about effectiveness or enforcement. This chapter argues that the effectiveness or enforcement of international law in the medieval period can be best seen through an exploration of the use of compensation, sanctions and mechanisms of transitional justice (e.g., international shaming) in treaties, their link to domestic laws and institutions, and how they functioned in different situations. By perceiving of enforcement as something exercised through and linked to cultural values, e.g., honour, loyalty, masculinity, it is possible to point to certain enforcement procedures in the medieval period.

in International law in Europe, 700–1200
Treaties

"In the modern period, treaties are not only one of the main sources of international law but also the only way in which states can consciously create international law. Medieval treaties have not previously been considered in this particular way and this chapter aims to do this. It explores a full range of different treaties from medieval Europe, drawing out similarities and dissimilarities in purpose, form, and terminology, while at the same time considering issues of provenance and categorisation. The chapter further explores the extent to which medieval treaties were intended to be legally binding in the sense of creating rights and duties that were enforceable.

In short, this chapter considers treaties as a corpus of primary sources, drawing out the problems and possibilities of this for international law, and explores the extent to which some treaties can be described as contracts and others as law-making."

in International law in Europe, 700–1200
Displacement of people

This chapter argues that one of the best ways to see that international law was practised on a daily basis in the medieval period is to look at displacement of people and in particular expulsion, e.g., exile, banishment, outlawry. Expulsion of individuals who had committed reprehensible acts was one of the ways in which medieval rulers and communities dealt with law and order. Expulsion from a political entity was reserved for the most serious offences; those which could not be atoned for with compensation. However, while expulsion was intended to ensure law and order on a domestic level, it could result in becoming a threat to peace and security on an ‘international’ level. This was because, once expelled, such individuals, shorn of their social and economic status, often committed further reprehensible acts and/or engaged in conflict against the entity from whence they had come. Consequently, one of the foremost purposes of concluding treaties between rulers was to ensure that those who had been expelled from one political entity did not find shelter in another and almost every treaty contains a clause about not harbouring each other’s enemies. The chapter examines the evidence available in treaties, putting it into a wide legal context of expulsion at both a domestic and international level. It further explores the strategies for dealing with expulsion and the extent to which there was enforcement of the clauses found in treaties by using a range of complementary evidence available in laws, letters and narrative sources.

in International law in Europe, 700–1200
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A must-have accessory of the moment?
Sara Callahan

The introduction sets up the premises and aims of the book. Modified views of history and knowledge meant that archives were gradually becoming of more interest in different disciplines in the second half of the twentieth century. No longer viewed as a neutral site housing historical documents, the archive instead became a concept and structure that needed to be scrutinised and critiqued in its own right. The introduction situates the surge in archival references in art writing and artistic practice within this broader historical and theoretical context, and formulates the book’s main questions: why is archival terminology used with such frequency in art discourse in the years around the turn of the twenty-first century, and what does this pervasive referencing indicate? These questions feed into the book’s overarching aim of analysing the function and meaning of the concept of the archive in contemporary art c. 1995–2015. The introduction ends with an outline of the book’s structure and summaries of each of its eight chapters.

in Art + Archive
Sara Callahan

Chapter 1 provides a chronological outline of the most important books, articles and other publications that define and promote archive art as a sub-genre of contemporary art from the mid-1990s to c. 2015. The outline is followed by a discussion of points of commonality between the different texts. This discussion is organised around ten thematic headings that include the political and critical associations of archive art; the most common theories and texts referenced; notions of the unreliable archive; the relationship between archive and photography; the archival notion as a curatorial connective idea; the contrast between archive as a material and metaphor; as well as intertextual and self-reflexive aspects of the archive. Many of the discussions in subsequent chapters are elaborations of issues identified and briefly outlined here.

in Art + Archive
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Sara Callahan

Although there is no such thing as a coherent ‘archive theory’, several key texts and conceptualisations are frequently enlisted in discussions of archives at the turn of the twenty-first century (by Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Pierre Nora, Jorge Luis Borges, Wolfgang Ernst and others). The chapter outlines the most frequently referenced theorisations of the archive and suggests several socio-historical reasons why the archive became so important during the last decades of the twentieth century. The fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent opening up of the old Stasi archives, the end of the apartheid regime in South Africa and the discussion of the role of archival practices in implementing the country’s racial politics as well the use of archival practices to heal the nation, all brought the archive to the forefront. Postcolonial and feminist scholars interested in forms of archival exclusion also contributed in making the archive a point of interest at this time. And in addition to these factors, the shift to digital technology resulted in renewed attention to the technological basis of history writing in general, and of archives in particular. The chapter argues that the meshing of such historical events and the broad cluster of theories about archives contributed to an increasing visibility and interest in both physical archives and the archive as a concept.

in Art + Archive