A handbook for international law and the humanities? Yes, please!
Associate professor Matilda Arvidsson and Professor Gregor Noll at the Department of Law, School of Business, Economics and Law at University of Gothenburg, have published two chapters in the book Routledge Handbook of International Law and the Humanities, edited by Shane Chalmers och Sundhya Pahuja. The book brings together leading scholars in international law examining law from a variety of theoretical perspectives.
Matilda Arvidsson is an Associate professor in International Law researching interdisciplinary in AI and law, philosophy of law, and international law. Gregor Noll is a Professor in International law and holder of the Torsten Söderberg research chair at School of Business, Economics and Law at University of Gothenburg. His research includes questions concerning international migration and asylum law, and how technological advances such as AI are affecting the law more widely.
- Dr Arvidsson, you have authored the chapter ”Who, or What, is the Human of International Humanitarian Law?” What made you interested in this question? What are your most important conclusions? What can society learn from your research?
- I am interested in law and the human. As part of my postdoc project on the targeting process in international humanitarian law (IHL), which I conducted at the Department of Law in 2017–2019, I encountered advanced technologies used to identify what and who is a lawful target. I found that those identified as targets during armed conflicts and the technologies used to identify them could not be completely distinguished from each other. The boundary drawn in IHL in between, on the one hand, the human and, on the other hand, technology is in a sense arbitrary, contingent, and constantly changing. The same applies to the question of accountability for targeting decisions: what, or who, is the responsible human and what is the technology that s/he is relying on in her/his decision? The implications of my chapter extend beyond the question of targeting and IHL. The emergence of new technology imply two pressing questions for society, law and its scholarship: what does emerging technologies do and mean in the world, and what is and does it mean to be human in our time, given the technological development we live with and are part of?
Listen to Matilda Arvidsson talk about her chapter published in the Routledge Handbook of International Law and the Humanities titled 'Who, or What, is the Human of International Humanitarian Law?'.
- Professor Noll, what are the most important conclusions in your chapter ”Life in the Ruins: International Law as Doctrine and Discipline?” What made you interested in this question? What can society learn from your research?
- Well, I had wondered for quite some time how it was that international law as a research discipline had found its current form. So I went all the way back to the monastic order as a kind of historical predecessor to better understand what has shaped the discipline of international law. Unavoidably, I ran into how my discipline attempted to become more secular, a process that is still ongoing. I argue that we should pursue a type of research which emphasises the process of secularisation in its practice, empirical as well as theoretical. Such an approach to research will not be able to limit itself to one area of knowledge but will be an interdisciplinary practice that simultaneously examines its disciplinary pre-conditions as well as the research matter. On this basis, I interpret the originality criterion as relating to the researcher’s ability to let the origin – Latin’s origo – emerge, rather than a display of personal creativeness. That, I would say, has implications for how we regard research as large in societal debates.