Scott Shapiro ’90 presented his inaugural lecture as the Charles F. Southmayd Professor of Law on February 25, 2013. His lecture was titled “The Law of the World.”
Of his lecture, Professor Shapiro said, “Critics of international law frequently cite the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928 as clear evidence of its folly. That the Great Powers attempted to rid the world of war by means of a piece of paper is taken as a sign of the naive idealism that has discredited international law for so many. I take issue with this skeptical view by arguing that the Kellogg-Briand pact inaugurated a revolution in our thinking about war. The treaty has, in fact, been so successful that we no longer remember the world before it, when war was a well-established legal institution and, thus, a legitimate method for enforcing rights and resolving disputes. I attempt to recover this once dominant but now-forgotten conception of war by returning to its first formulation by Hugo Grotius and the strange confluence of events that led to its creation.”
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