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Research Canons

Books and articles that are essential to a new academic in various areas of legal inquiry as suggested by contributors to PrawfsBlawg.

International Law Books

  1. David J. Bederman, International Law in Antiquity (2001) (this book does a wonderful job of tracking analogies as well as continuities between practice in antiquity and modern IL; suggested by Vik Kanwar).
  2. Bradley & Goldsmith, various works (if specializing in foreign relations law, they should know the work of the major players in recent debates starting with Bradley & Goldsmith and going forward from there) (suggested by Peter Spiro and David Zaring). 
  3. Allen Buchanan, Justice, Legitimacy, and Self-Determination: Moral Foundations for International Law (2004) (it's surely too new to count as "canonical" but the best philosophical book on the subject for several years is probably  Justice, Legitimacy, and Self-Determination: Moral Foundations for International Law; suggested by Matt). 
  4. Ian Brownlie, Principles of Public International Law (2003) (In terms of canons, I'd say you need to have Ian Brownlie's Principles of Public International Law (6th ed. 2003), not because it's an easy read (it's not), but because all other English-speaking international lawyers have it and will look at it; suggested by Duncan Hollis). 
  5. Allen Buchanan & David Golove, Philosophy of International Law in The Oxford Handbook of Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law (Jules Coleman and Scott J. Shapiro eds., 2004) (a shorter version of the argument of Buchanan's book; suggested by Matt).
  6. Antonio Cassese, International Law (2d ed. 2005) (suggested by Duncan Hollis).
  7. Abram Chayes & Antonia Handler Chayes, The New Sovereignty: Compliance With International Regulatory Agreements (1995) (suggested by Peter Spiro).   
  8. Wilhelm G. Grewe, The Epochs of International Law (2000) (Prof. Michael Byers translated this classic one-volume edition into English. It contrasts with Koskenniemi in its broad focus on world-historical events and hegemonic powers of the various periods. It is inclusive of a great number of notions and epistemic shifts in what it means to call law "law."; suggested by Vik Kanwar).
  9. H. L. A. Hart, The Concept of Law (1994) (Chapter X  is also still a much clearer discussion than is often found of international law; suggested by Matt).
  10. Louis Henkin, Law & Foreign Policy (1968) (everyone should have Henkin (1st edition, not 2d) on their shelf; suggested by Peter Spiro). 
  11. Hans Kelsen, Principles of International Law (1966) (there is a lot that seems to me outdated in Hans Kelsen's classic  but it's still pretty useful in some ways and was a basic text; suggested by Matt). 
  12. Harold Koh, various works (I think anyone on the job market or a junior IL prof should be familiar with the work of Harold Koh and Anne-Marie Slaughter, and best have at least passing familiarity with some IR theory; suggested by Peter Spiro.)
  13. Martti Koskenniemi, Gentle Civilizer of Nations: The Rise and Fall of International Law 1870-1960 (2004) (Hersch Lauterpacht Memorial Lectures) (this is the first account of international law as a collective endeavor among professional practitioners (though many of these names-- Martens, Lauterpacht, Kelsen-- are cited primarily as theorists today); suggested by Vik Kanwar).
  14. Randall Lesaffer, Peace Treaties and International Law in European History: From the Late Middle Ages to World War One  (2004) (this book follows the Grewe approach bit with a narrower focus on bi-lateral treaty practice; suggested by Vik Kanwar). 
  15. Peter Malanczuk, Akehurst's Modern Introduction to International Law (1970), (in terms of introductory texts, I usually turn to Akehurst's Modern Introduction to International Law first, and then supplement with Antonio Cassese, International Law (2d ed. 2005) or Malcolm Shaw's International Law (4th ed. 1997); suggested by Duncan Hollis).
  16. Lassa Oppenheim & H. Lauterpacht, Oppenheim's International Law (8th ed. 1962) (I'm also fond of Oppenheim's International Law, [but actually prefer the magisterial 8th edition by Sir Hersh Lauterpacht, although the Jennings and Watts 9th edition is quite useful as well; suggested by Duncan Hollis). 
  17. Malcolm Shaw, International Law (4th ed. 1997) (suggested by Duncan Hollis).
  18. A. W. Brian Simpson, Human Rights and the End of Empire: Britain and the Genesis of the European Convention (2001) (an ambitious undertaking. An almost too-detailed account of the beginnings of the universal and European human rights systems in the 20th century. Very relevant in its coverage to continuing debates about states of emergency, human rights law, humanitarian law, and lex specialis. Suggested by Vik Kanwar).
  19. Anne-Marie Slaughter, various works (I think anyone on the job market or a junior IL prof should be familiar with the work of Harold Koh and Anne-Marie Slaughter, and best have at least passing familiarity with some IR theory; suggested by Peter Spiro and David Zaring). 
  20. Richard Tuck, The Rights of War and Peace: Political Thought and the International Order from Grotius to Kant (2001) (focus on the Scholastics, Grotius, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Kant. Very much an intellectual history, but a nice interdisciplinary starting point for IR and IL theorists as well as historians; suggested by Vik Kanwar). 
  21.  J. H. W. Verzijl, International Law in Historical Perspective (1968) (this is a multi-volume set available in most law libraries, sticking close to traditional doctrinal materials; suggested by Vik Kanwar). 
  22. Randall Lesaffer, Peace Treaties and International Law in European History: From the Late Middle Ages to World War One (2004) (this book follows the Grewe approach bit with a narrower focus on bi-lateral treaty practice; suggested by Vik Kanwar).