International Law at Babson

Public International Law and World Order (LAW 3601) at Babson College can count for credit towards Wellesley's Political Science and International Relations-Political Science majors.

Offered Fall 2018.  Professor David Nersessian.

Course Description:

Public international law evolved rapidly in the latter half of the 20th century from its exclusive domain of “law among sovereigns” into an interdependent process of global governance, largely managed by intergovernmental and non-governmental institutions. We will consider the implications of global interdependence and the increasingly robust international judicial system for the principles and practice of public international law. Does international law actually create global order, or does it merely reflect political order that exists in other settings? When should national sovereignty and domestic prerogatives yield to international law and the desires of the global community? What is the proper role of non-state actors (multinational businesses, NGOs, advocacy groups) in this global legal regime?

These questions (and many others) have been at the center of the quest to create global order in a rapidly changing world where the pace of technological innovation, personal and business entrepreneurship, and the increasingly free movement of people, capital, and ideas often far outpace the capacity of any legal regime (domestic or international) to keep up. We will study these issues and related themes throughout the semester. Special emphasis is placed on the application of public international law to international institutions, human rights (including the intersection of human rights with transnational business), the legal regulation of warfare (including “humanitarian” intervention and responses to global terrorism), the global environment and high seas, transnational dispute settlement, and business ethics in the global setting.