10 May 2021
Speaker: Professor Naz Khatoon Modirzadeh, Founding Director of the Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict
In this lecture, I will explore how international legal scholarship about war, written at a time of war, ought to be read. Can and should we demand doctrinal rigor and analytical clarity, while also expecting that scholarship makes us feel something, that it connects us to the author, that it captures the intimacy and emotion that human beings experience in relation to war? I use two eras of international legal scholarship on war, namely, the Vietnam era and the War on Terror to illustrate key moments in the field that were typified by very different kinds of writing and the corresponding differences in thinking and feeling. I argue, in part, that in contradistinction to Vietnam era scholarship a particularly influential strand of contemporary scholarship on the United States’ War on Terror adopts a view that is aridly technical, a contextual, and a historical. In short, it lacks passion. This lecture will draw upon my article, Cut These Words: Passion and International Law of War Scholarship.
You can watch the recording on Youtube.