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Announcement of the JILP Peer Review Award

It is our plea­sure to announce the win­ner of the Jour­nal of Inter­na­tion­al Law and Pol­i­tics Peer Review Award for Vol­ume 44: Har­lan Grant Cohen, for his piece Find­ing Inter­na­tion­al Law, Part II: Our Frag­ment­ing Legal Com­mu­ni­ty. The award rec­og­nizes the most sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion by an emerg­ing schol­ar (an author under the age of thir­ty-five) pub­lished in JILP this aca­d­e­m­ic year. It was select­ed by a pan­el of three Inter­na­tion­al Law schol­ars who reviewed the qual­i­fy­ing arti­cles for form, con­tent, and con­tri­bu­tion to the field of Inter­na­tion­al Law. While the pan­el admit­ted the deci­sion was not easy, Cohen’s arti­cle stood out for its “ambi­tious and cre­ative argu­ment with very strong analy­sis and per­sua­sive writ­ing.”

The inspi­ra­tion for the Award came from our real­iza­tion that in the flur­ry of arti­cle selec­tion promis­ing young authors can be eas­i­ly over­looked. The Award was also moti­vat­ed by JILP’s larg­er desire to increase fac­ul­ty involve­ment in the arti­cle selec­tion process and oper­a­tion of the Jour­nal. Although stu­dents work close­ly with fac­ul­ty in the class­room and in research set­tings, the Award was a unique oppor­tu­ni­ty to dis­cuss new devel­op­ments in inter­na­tion­al law and pol­i­tics with experts in the field in rela­tion to this new schol­ar­ship. The effort proved valu­able to the edi­tors involved in arti­cle selec­tion and the fac­ul­ty who served on the pan­el for the Peer Review Award—we hope you find the results reward­ing as well.

Cohen’s new arti­cle Find­ing Inter­na­tion­al Law, Part II: Our Frag­ment­ing Legal Com­mu­ni­ty builds on his 2007 piece, Find­ing Inter­na­tion­al Law: Rethink­ing the Doc­trine of Sources.[1] Both arti­cles con­sid­er the impact of a rise in human rights and relat­ed devel­op­ments in inter­na­tion­al legal the­o­ry. The 2007 arti­cle focus­es on the sources of inter­na­tion­al law to argue for a new doc­trine of inter­pre­ta­tion favor­ing opinio juris rather than treaty law in order to can­on­ize new norms. The cur­rent arti­cle moves beyond sources of inter­na­tion­al law to the com­mu­ni­ties invok­ing the law in an attempt to bridge the gap between the the­o­ry of legal plu­ral­ism and the prac­tice. Here, too, Cohen finds frag­men­ta­tion result­ing from changed cir­cum­stances, a real­i­ty that urges us to recon­sid­er our notions of legit­i­ma­cy. Although the con­flict Cohen iden­ti­fies runs deep, his analy­ses serve as a use­ful start­ing point from which to rec­on­cile the over­lap­ping author­i­ty in inter­na­tion­al law.

The author admits that “a solu­tion to these dis­putes is beyond [the article’s] scope.”[2] Thus, we look for­ward to the prospect of Cohen writ­ing a Part III—just as we look for­ward to select­ing future JILP Peer Review Award win­ners and to emerg­ing schol­ar­ship in the field of inter­na­tion­al law and pol­i­tics.


1 Har­lan Grant Cohen, Find­ing Inter­na­tion­al Law: Rethink­ing the Doc­trine of Sources, 93 IOWA L. REV. 65 (2007).

2 Har­lan Grant Cohen, Find­ing Inter­na­tion­al Law, Part II: Our Frag­ment­ing Legal Com­mu­ni­ty, 44 N.Y.U. J. INT’L L. & POL. 1049, 1063 (2012).

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