Monday, December 31, 2012

At the AALS: The Concept of Peace in Law, Culture and Society

If you are contemplating Peace on Earth this holiday season, you might be interested in a panel on the concept of peace at this year's AALS meeting.  With the recent suggestion that we have reached a "tipping point" in the war with al Qaeda, the question of what comes after war is more timely than ever.  Is peace the absence of violence?  Or instead is peace accomplished by force, as with militarized peacekeeping?  Is peace a transitional state?  Or is peace an anachronism in an era of endless conflict?  And how does law figure in?

An AALS Cross-cutting Panel on The Concept of Peace in Law, Culture and Society was organized by Matteo Taussig-Rubbo and me. It will be Saturday, January 5, from 3:30 to 5:15 pm in Fountain, Third Floor, Hilton New Orleans Riverside.

Here's the line-up and the panel description:
Moderator:  Mary L. Dudziak, Emory University School of Law

Petra Goedde, Temple University Department of History 
John N. Moore, University of Virginia School of Law 
Kim Lane Scheppele, Princeton University Mateo 
Taussig-Rubbo, University at Buffalo Law School 
Ruti G. Teitel, New York Law School 

Legal scholars often focus on the impact of war on law and democracy.  But what about war’s assumed opposite: “peace”?  The flip side of war, peace is a concept that is more often assumed than interrogated.  As military conflict seems to ebb and flow, lacking sharp breaks between wartime and peacetime, perhaps the concept of peace is an anachronism.  This interdisciplinary round-table will take up whether peace is a coherent concept, and the ways the idea of peace figures in domestic and international law. 

Serious study of the nature of war, peace and security is underway in other disciplines.  This panel seeks to illuminate the way perspectives from other fields can bring deeper critical inquiry to the legal study of war, peace and security.  Panelists will include scholars of international law and the law of armed conflict; legal scholars with expertise in history, anthropology, social science, and critical race theory; and a historian who studies peace. 

The panel will address:

  • What is peace?
o   an idea?

o   an aspiration?

o   a material state of existence? 
  • How does peace (its existence or nonexistence) affect domestic or international law?     

  • If contemporary war is less bounded, has the legal and conceptual need for peace dissipated? 
Cross-posted from Balkinization.


  1. Will this panel be uploaded to YouTube? I'd love to see it and share it with my family and friends.

  2. An audio tape was made of the panel. I believe that it will be possible to download podcasts, but I wasn't able to find info on that on the AALS website. You might check this (awkward) website for info in the future.