Announcement: FCIL-SIS (Informal) Book Discussion Group at AALL Annual Meeting

By Dan Wade

disarray_0The FCIL-SIS Book Discussion Group will meet at the Annual Meeting on Monday between 12:15 and 2:00p.m. We are gathering at the AALL Annual Meeting Registration Desk at 12:15p.m.

The book under discussion this year is A World in Disarray, by Richard Haass (New York: Penguin, 2017). Haass has been President of the Council of Foreign Relations since 2003. After graduating from Oberlin and receiving his M.Phil and D.Phil from Oxford, Haass worked for the Department of State and the Department of Defense. Between 2001 and 2003 he served the George W. Bush Administration by assuming the dual role of Director of Policy Planning at the State Department, where he became a close adviser to Secretary of State Colin Powell, and United States Special Envoy for Northern Ireland, for which he received the Department of State’s Distinguished Service Award. The book under discussion is Haass’ twelfth book, and it very much follows the line of thinking set out in probably his best known work, The Reluctant Sheriff,  in which he writes, “what will prove crucial is the ability of the United States to persuade others to adopt and abide by its preferences—and the will and ability of the United States to act as sheriff, to mobilize itself and others to insist on them when resistance emerges.” (p.44). In the present book he mellows some and invokes the principle of sovereign obligation, where a state works towards meeting the interests of other states. In the final chapter he addresses the issue of our country in disarray. (No, it is not about Donald Trump’s foreign policy.) Here he calls for more military spending. You can imagine how that analysis sits with this Connecticut Yankee and ordained minister (emeritus) of a historic peace church, e.g., Friends and Mennonites. The book does have value. I thought the discussion of R2P and United States debt were two of the high points.

I believe our group will be smaller this year, and if you are interested in foreign policy, world order, and international relations, please feel free to join us, even if you haven’t read the book. I will reserve a couple of extra places at the lunch table.

Recap: FCIL-SIS Book Group

By Jennifer Allison

ewstSpearheaded by Dan Wade of the Yale Law School Library, the FCIL-SIS Book Group met again this year at the AALL annual meeting. Of the two finalists, the book chosen by the participants was East West Street: On the Origins of “Genocide” and “Crimes Against Humanity”, by Philippe Sands (published in 2016 by Knopf, ISBN 978-0385350716).

The participants in the book group included:

  • Dan Wade, Yale
  • John Wilson, UCLA
  • Lyonette Louis-Jacques, University of Chicago
  • Loren Turner, University of Minnesota
  • Jennifer Allison, Harvard
  • Daniel Donahue, University of Houston
  • Marilyn Raisch, Georgetown
  • Evelyn Ma, Yale

After a bit of a location mix-up, the group settled on meeting at the conference hotel’s American Craft  Kitchen & Bar.  Over delicious food and drinks, the conversation about this interesting and unexpected book flowed.

Most of the group’s participants gave the book a thumbs-up, although there were definitely mixed reviews regarding the book’s somewhat unusual format.  Although it was a non-fiction account of the development of the crime of genocide, Sands wove this information into the stories of four people from an Eastern European city, that, throughout its history, has had a number of names, including Lemberg, Lwów, Lvov, and as it is known today, Lviv.

One of the four people whose story was told was Sands’ maternal grandfather, a Jew who left his hometown for Vienna in the early 20th century, and then fled Vienna for Paris in the late 1930s.  The book featured extensive descriptions of the grandfather’s early life, the fate of his family in what was, during the war, the Polish city of Lwów, and his later years in Paris, where the author spent time with him.

Sands also told the stories of two men who had studied at the law faculty of the University of Lwów:

  • Raphael Lemkin taught at Duke Law School and worked with the American lawyers who were involved in the Nuremberg trials. In his book Axis Rule in Occupied Europe, he offered the first definition of the word “genocide.”
  • Hersch Lauterpacht was an international lawyer who taught at the London School of Economics and Cambridge University. He worked with the Nuremberg Trials’ team of British lawyers.

The book’s fourth biographical figure was the German lawyer Hans Frank, who served the Nazi regime as both a lawyer and the Governor General of occupied Poland.  He was a defendant in the Nuremberg Trials, where he was convicted of the murder of Polish Jews.  He was sentenced to death and executed.

Although biographical information of these four figures was woven throughout the book, the main focus of its second half was the Nuremberg Trials, from the preparation (in which the allies’ legal teams debated whether to use the newly-introduced crime of “genocide” in their prosecution of the Nazi defendants), through the trial proceedings and the outcome.

Some of the members of the book group were not enamored of the book’s extensive use of biographical narrative, and would have preferred that the book focus merely on the earliest development of genocide of a legal norm that could be used by lawyers to prosecute war criminals.  In fact, a few people said that, if they were to read the book again, they would skip its first half entirely.  However, other members of the group felt that the inclusion of the biographical stories made the work more accessible to non-scholars; specifically, “it made it a serious book about genocide that I could recommend to my mom, or sister, one that they would actually read.”

There were other concerns about the book among the group.  As Dan Wade pointed out, “This book likely would not have passed a law school preemption check.”  Perhaps he is correct.  Ana Filipa Vrdoljak, a law professor at the University of Western Australia Faculty of Law, published an article that covered a remarkably similar topic in 2009: Human Rights and Genocide: The Word of Lauterpacht and Lemkin in Modern International Law (20 Eur. J. Int’l L. 1163 (2009)). The article tracked the life paths of these two figures, from their education at the University of Lwów Faculty of Law, through their lives and careers in the United States and England, to their participation in the Nuremberg Trials, in similar detail to Sands’ book.  Of course, Vrdoljak’s article discussed neither Sands’ grandfather nor Hans Frank in any detail, and the presence of the content of those two individuals added a level of narrative complexity and interest to the book that is not present in the article.  Still, Dan’s was a valid point.

Overall, it was a very successful and enjoyable book group meeting.  Hopefully this is a tradition that has been firmly established and will continue at AALL meetings into the future.

AALL 2015 Recap: FCIL Book Group – A Reading and Discussion of Bill Hayton, The South China Sea: The Struggle for Power in Asia (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014). xviii, 298 pages.

By Marylin Raisch

south china seaFor the second consecutive year, one of our most engaging and inspiring FCIL colleagues, Dan Wade, suggested that a group of SIS members get together informally to read and then discuss a book relevant to our field of librarianship, international law. He put forward the title above and several of us joined in on the read and discovered that doughnuts, coffee and other perks awaited us in our efforts. Hard work this, am I right? In any case, Dan put forward The South China Sea: The Struggle for Power in Asia, a “hot topic” book, as confirmed by the appearance just days before our meeting of an ASIL Insight essay: J. Ashley Roach, China’s Shifting Sands in the Spratlys, ASIL Insights (July 15, 2015), http://www.asil.org/insights/volume/19/issue/15/chinas-shifting-sands-spratlys.

On Tuesday, July 21, 2015 at 9:30 a.m., the group met at the at the Philadelphia Convention Center and embarked on a lively discussion, provoked by several of us remarking on the journalistic style of the book, in contrast to the monographs many of us buy, use, and recommend to students for research. Dan asked us what we thought of this approach. Responses were mixed; the clear and simpler style kept many of us more engaged with the recitals of colonial and post-colonial history that were crucial to understanding the nature of this international dispute. The narrative and maps presented effectively a narrative about tiny islands, coral and guano, that dot the “South China Sea.” (These quotations started to seem necessary after reading that this area of the sea goes by other names depending upon whether one’s perspective is Philippine, Vietnamese, etc.). After guano was harvested, rumors in more recent times have arisen to the effect that more valuable resources lie beneath some of the islands: oil and/or natural gas. So far, no discoveries have confirmed this.

South China Sea attendeesMany of us are familiar with the classical international law views of the sea as well as the more recent regime, made formal after the Second World War, articulated in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). One of our participants observed that the rumored oil and gas would likely fall within national boundaries and not in the disputed areas, given that the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), an area not more than 200 nautical miles from a country’s coastal baseline (UNCLOS, art. 57). The 12-mile limit of a territorial sea is therefore much smaller and part of the sovereign territory. Our author described in detail the efforts of competing jurisdictions to build up tiny islands, install airstrips and the like, asserting evidence of control. Author Bill Hayton contrasted the “freedom of the seas” championed by Grotius in the 17th century with the more restrictive view of his contemporary John Selden, who believed some measure of restriction and control may be exercised by a coastal state. The compromise reflected in UNCLOS was put into an interesting light by Hayton, who describes a “mandala” view of power among southeast Asians at the beginning of the 19th century that contrasted with Europeans. A ruler’s power in their view diminished as one moved away from the center of a kingdom near the sovereign. The Westphalian view has been that rulers have the same degree of power throughout a territory and its limit is the boundary (Hayton, 46). Hayton seems to suggest that the western view is now one source of the tension and counterclaims in the South China Sea.

bagelAnother important question one of us posed to the group was to ask, what are the real current disputes and the role played by the hypothetical value of the resources there? The assertion of sovereignty by China PRC is the principal one of concern to the United States, even though claims and concerns have been asserted, over time, by Vietnam, the Philippines, and Taiwan. It was noted in our group that it was very unfortunate that this territorial dispute had become so fraught within China-U.S. relations. Just as in the days of Selden and Grotius, sovereignty disputes sometimes serve to promote social cohesion, and the audience for the dispute (from a government’s perspective) may be an internal one as well. In military terms, any future success in asserting control of the South China Sea by China could prevent mobilization of the U.S. military in the area. Closing the sea in that way to U.S. maneuvers could be a game-changer, since only trade and marine exploration are protected in the EEZ (Article 56 (1) (b), UNCLOS), although this is precisely where ambiguity has arisen. Participant John Wilson contributed his knowledge of some theories of international relations as well, and this enhanced our perspective on the issues as did Gabriela Femenia’s work with a faculty member who studies this dispute.

This group book discussion would make a great annual meeting activity going forward, and thanks from all to Dan Wade for once again inaugurating what may become a deeply valued tradition. Thanks to Gabriela, our Philly local, who thought globally but acted locally to bring us the super-special, amazing doughnuts from Federal Donuts with flavors like red velvet cake, curry (saw this one on the web site) and more. This is one international debate that ended with lots of sugar and smiles! The duty may fall to Lyo to find us doughnuts like this in Chicago. No pressure…. see you next year!

south china sea with donut

Schedule of FCIL Events in San Antonio

by Daniel Wade

FCIL-SIS EVENTS

2014 AALL ANNUAL MEETING, SAN ANTONIO

Sunday, July 13th

7:00 a.m. Subject Groups—Mariott Rivercenter-Salon C

  1. Customary and Religious Law Interest Group (CARLIG)
  2. European Law Interest Group
  3. Indigenous Law Interest Group
  4. Latin American Law Interest Group
  5. Strategic Planning Committee

7:15 a.m. African and Asian Law Interest Groups—Mariott Rivercenter-Conference 13

7:30 a.m. Translation Tools for the Law Librarian (Electronic Research Interest Group)—HBGCC-Room 206A

11:45 a.m. Global Law Resources Fair (Teaching FCIL Research Interest Group)—Mariott Riverwalk-Alamo Ballroom Salon D

5:30 p.m. Foreign Law Selectors Interest Group—HBGCC-Room 207A

Monday, July 14th

7:00 a.m. FCIL-SIS Outreach Groups—HBGCC-Room 207A:

  1. Internships and International Exchanges Committee
  2. Nominations Committee
  3. Newsletter Committee
  4. Publicity/Membership Committee
  5. Website Committee

7:45 a.m. FCIL-SIS Business Meeting—HBGCC-Room 207A

11:45 a.m. Executive Committee Presents: Envisioning the World’s International Criminal Law Library at the International Criminal Court—Mariott Riverwalk-Alamo-Ballroom Salon E

2:30 p. m. Hot Topic: Land Grabbing: Accessing Information to Protect Property Rights of Indigenous People—HBGCC Room 217D

5:30 p.m. International Attendees Joint Reception (AALL/FCIL/IALL) (sponsored by Bloomberg BNA, LexisNexis, Thomson Reuters & Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)—Mariott Rivercenter-Salon K

Tuesday, July 15th

7:15 a.m. FCIL-SIS Education Committee Meeting—HBGCC-Room 213B

7:15 a.m. FCIL-SIS Schaffer Grant for Foreign Law Librarians Fundraising and Selection Committee Meeting—HBGCC-213A

7:30 a.m. Coffee Talk “Beyond Your Boundaries: What Ancient Legal Systems Can Tell Us About Working Globally” (Roman Law Interest Group)—HBGCC-Parkview Concourse Level

8:30 a.m. Program E6: Mexican Law and Legal Research: Overcoming the Challenges—HBGCC-006AB

10:00 a.m. Social Event; discussion of The Crisis in Ukraine—meet in HBGCC-006AB

 

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