Course Description



This course covers the foundations and historical evolution of public and private international law and institutions. The course is organized around a study of the core principles of international law, and how they have evolved over time. We will focus on the challenges to the post-World War II global order associated with populist and other domestic political movements, automation and other changes in the labor markets, the rise of China as a manufacturing center and the world’s second largest economy, economic protectionism, mass migration, unresolved international conflicts, human rights violations, the climate crisis, and other select international geopolitical developments. The subject matter areas that we will study include: sources of international law, decolonization and the rights and duties of nation-states, human rights protection, international criminal law, free trade principles, protection of foreign investments, the law of armed conflicts, international environmental, labor and intellectual property law, the constitutional framework of the European Union, and other foundational principles of the international order. We will study important institutions that have been tasked with implementing international law, and the tension between international and domestic rule of law. These institutions include: the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, international arbitral tribunals, and the principal institutions of the European Union. This is a survey course designed to give students a broad understanding of the current state of international law, as it has evolved in the 20th and 21st century.