University of Notre Dame

Law and Justice Among Nations

Course Number: POLS 13181-5
Instructor: Emilia Powell

Is there law among nations? How did it evolve? How do different societies understand concept of international justice? In order to answer these questions, this seminar will analyze the history and main principles of the law among nations. We will consider the meaning of international law and justice, their execution on the international arena, and the way that these concepts have evolved historically. We will examine how the Holocaust and World War II have shaped the development of international law and interstate peace. This seminar embraces an interdisciplinary approach to teaching: we will study international law and justice through visiting historical landmarks in Poland (Auschwitz concentration camp, Jewish ghetto in Warsaw), focusing on classic texts, documentary films, and pieces of art. Upon completion of this course, students should be familiar with main principles of international law and justice and crucial concepts of interstate cooperation. This course includes an overseas pre-semester (2 weeks) component in Poland. Poland was at the heart of World War II and Hitler’s invasion of Poland on September 1st 1939 marked the beginning of this horrific war. Students will visit Auschwitz, the Warsaw Ghetto and other important historical landmarks as well as meet with local leaders and diplomats who carry out international negotiations and work in the realms of diplomacy and international law. Students will also visit Sopot, a seaside resort town, and other historical sites in and around Warsaw.