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Deborah Whitehall

Hannah Arendt was a German-Jewish witness of the grand infamies of the twentieth-century, a classicist, a political theorist, a social commentator and a cartographer of time. In that last capacity, she presents the international lawyer with a set of concepts to gauge the meaning of international legal time, its relationship to international history, and the part of international law in triggering new historical cycles. Three concepts developed by her stand out for how an international lawyer might reconceive the part of international law in international history and importantly, against catastrophic world tragedies that ask for innovative regulatory response, its redesign. The concepts of a time-gap, time-sequence and historical-cycle and repetition of revolution present possible coordinates for drawing different time-maps for international law. The question raised here follows Arendt to ask: what might a time-map for international law look like if international lawyers notice the gaps, rhythm and sequences that set and reset their part in international historical time? Starting at Potsdam, in 1945, settles the question of a time-map on a series of lines and boundaries that restarted time then under the auspice of international agreement.