Ever since 1648, European international law has had at its core the formal recognition of states as sovereign and independent political units. Minority groups such as the Jews did not have a voice within the political and legal framework established at the treaty of Westphalia. As the ‘other within’, Jews were not central participants within the history of international legal discourse. So far, little to no research has been undertaken on the Jewish conceptions of international trade and criminal law. This Action entitled ‘A Jewish Contribution to the Historiography of International Law (JIL)’ will address the topic of anti-Jewishness in the history of international law. The aim of the project is to examine the international trade network of the 18th-century Portuguese Jewish community in Amsterdam in order to uncover its contributions to the history and development of international law. It will do so through an interdisciplinary and innovative approach in combining various disciplines and research methods: archival research, legal anthropology, case-studies analysis, rabbinic legal analysis, intellectual history, politics, Christian theology, material culture, and urban governance. The project offers to make a change in the historiography of international law by highlighting Jewish men and women who were active in international business in the 18th century. In bringing the relevant cases to the foreground, the researcher aims to open emancipatory space for other marginalized groups that participated in the periphery.
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