Call for Applicants: Summer Seminar on “Populism and the New Foreign Relations Law” (Heidelberg, June 8-10, 2022)

March 23, 2022

Doctoral, Post-Doctoral researchers and graduate students are invited to apply for an intensive three-day seminar in Heidelberg, June 8 - 10, 2022 on “Populism and the New Foreign Relations Law: Between Public International Law, ‘External Public Law,’ and Conflict of Laws”. The seminar will be co-directed by Prof. Anne Peters (Director at MPIL Heidelberg), Institute Director Prof. Ralf Michaels and Prof. Karen Knop (University of Toronto and Max Planck Law Fellow). Application deadline: April 24, 2022.

The Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law (Heidelberg) and the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law (Hamburg) are pleased to announce an intensive three-day seminar on “Populism and the New Foreign Relations Law: Between Public International Law, ‘External Public Law,’ and Conflict of Laws.”

This seminar will engage with the new dynamics between international and domestic law catalysed by populism. States exit in protest from international institutions, courts and agreements. At the same time, sub-state governments like cities step up on climate change, human rights and other global issues to compensate for their state’s opposition or inaction.

Populism has flipped the relationship of international and domestic law from inward-facing to outward-facing: Constitutional requirements for treaty-making now slow exit rather than entry: a South African court held that the executive could not withdraw from the International Criminal Court without the legislature’s approval, for example. Federalism now helps rather than hinders implementation: thus, California has a climate-change agreement with the Canadian province of Québec.

The seminar will develop broader historical, analytical and critical perspectives on the relationship between public international law, “external public law,” and conflict of laws. It will cover a range of particular issues, including democratic participation of parliaments in the production of soft law, the roles of indigenous peoples in the making and implementation of treaties, the corporate legal person created by domestic law as an actor in public and private international law, the renewed importance of comity as a tool between doctrine and diplomacy, the role of courts in foreign relations, and the assertion of state interests in private international law cases. The seminar will include a variety of discussion formats.

The seminar will be co-directed by Prof. Anne Peters, Director, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg; Prof. Ralf Michaels, Director, Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, Hamburg; and Prof. Karen Knop, University of Toronto and Max Planck Law Fellow.

Costs for transportation (economy train or flight in Europe, lump sum for overseas), accommodation and meals in Heidelberg will be provided.

The seminar will host 20 Doctoral, Post-Doctoral and graduate researchers in law or other related fields.

Application deadline: April 24, 2022

Applications should be submitted by e-mail to the following address with “Application Summer School Populism” in the subject line: bewerbungen@mpil.de.

Applications must include the following documents in one single pdf-file:

  • Letter of interest (including any background relevant to the topic of the seminar)
  • CV with publications/research work
  • Brief description of doctoral/post-doctoral research project, if applicable
  • Indication (yes/no) of interest in the position as doctoral researcher, advertised separately on the websites of MPIL, MPIPRIV and Max Planck Law.

Successful candidates will be notified on a rolling basis and no later than May 15, 2022.

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