Institute of Historical Studies
Institute of Historical Studies

Edward James Kolla's new book 'transforms our view of the French Revolution's importance for international law'

Thu, September 21, 2017
Edward James Kolla's new book 'transforms our view of the French Revolution's importance for international law'
Prof. Eddie Kolla, author of "Sovereignty, International Law, and the French Revolution"

Congratulations, Eddie Kolla! Professor Kolla's new book Sovereignty, International Law, and the French Revolution was published by Cambridge University Press in October 2017. Read about his book, which Dan Edelstein, of Stanford University, called “a brilliant and thoughtful study of international law during the French Revolution,” here.

"Sovereignty, International Law, and the French Revolution demonstrates how, starting in 1789, a people’s choice became the basis not only of politics in France, but also for the status of territory," said Kolla. "Revolutionaries argued that legal title derived from the will of the people, instead of dynastic inheritance or conquest in war—an idea that, by the twentieth century, came to be called national self-determination."

“Kolla's bold and thought-provoking study transforms our view of the French Revolution's importance for international law,” writes Hamish Scott, University of Oxford. “Kolla persuasively argues for positive advances, rooted in the doctrine of popular sovereignty, and for an indirect 'ripple' effect which provided an important foundation for the decisive nineteenth-century advance in international law.”

Dr. Kolla wrote the book in part while an IHS Fellow in 2012-2013, when the institute examined the “Rethinking Diplomacy” theme. This IHS project was part of a broader cross-campus initiative that included the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law, the Department of Government, the Center for European Studies, and British Studies. Together, the IHS and the campus-wide initiative sought to interrogate, stretch, and ultimately re-shape the ways the relations between societies and their representatives are conceptualized.

His colleagues that year, Drs. Christopher J. Lee and Stephen R. Porter, have also produced book publications from their fellowships while at IHS. Porter, an Associate Professor of History at University of Cincinnati, published Benevolent Empire: U.S. Power, Humanitarianism, and the World's Dispossessed (University of Pennsylvania Press, October 2016) , and Lee, an Associate Professor of History at Lafayette College, published Unreasonable Histories: Nativism, Multiracial Lives, and the Genealogical Imagination in British Africa (Duke University Press, Nov. 2014) and A Soviet Journey A Critical Annotated Edition (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017).

Eddie is currently an Associate Professor of History in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service in Qatar, Georgetown University. In fall 2017, he received a grant to study at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg, Germany. Read more about Eddie and his work here.

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