Gerry Simpson is a Professor of International Law at LSE. He is the author of Great Powers and Outlaw States (Cambridge, 2004) and Law, War and Crime: War Crimes Trials and the Reinvention of International Law (Polity 2008). Gerry is currently co-authoring (with Matt Craven and Sundhya Pahuja) a book on the Cold War and writing a meditation on nuclearism entitled The Atomics: Life, Love and Death at the End of the World.
At his GCILS event in Glasgow, Gerry will talk about his new book “The sentimental life of international law”. It is about our age-old longing for a decent international society and the ways of seeing, being, and speaking that might help us achieve that aim. In particular, this book asks how international lawyers might engage in a professional practice that has become, to adapt a title of Janet Malcolm’s, both difficult and impossible. It suggests that international lawyers are disabled by the governing idioms of international lawyering, and proposes that they might be re-enabled by speaking different sorts of international law, or by speaking international law in different sorts of ways.
In this methodologically diverse and unusually personal account, Gerry Simpson brings to the surface international law’s hidden literary prose and its redemptive enclaves. He does so in a series of chapters on international law’s bathetic underpinnings, its friendly relations, the neurotic foundations of its underlying social order, its screened-off comic dispositions, its anti-method, and the life-worlds of its practitioners, and, finally, in a chapter in which international law is re-envisioned through the practice of gardening. All of this done as a contribution to the project of making international law, again, a compelling language for our times.
To join us for this in-person event on Monday 9 May, at 5.00pm in the Melville Room, Main Building, please register on our Eventbrite page here.