International Investment Law and History
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International Investment Law and History

Edited by Stephan W. Schill, Christian J. Tams and Rainer Hofmann

Historiographical approaches in international investment law scholarship are becoming ever more important. This insightful book combines perspectives from a range of expert international law scholars who explore ways in which using a broad variety of methods in historical research can lead to a better understanding of international investment law.
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Chapter 3: The first investor-state arbitration? The Suez Canal dispute of 1864 and some reflections on the historiography of international investment law

Jason Webb Yackee

Abstract

The use of history in international investment law (IIL) scholarship is a work in progress. IIL scholarship already relies on history to a significant extent, but IIL scholarship can also ‘do’ history better than it currently does. IIL scholarship’s use of history sometimes seems methodologically unselfconscious and incomplete. To improve, historically minded IIL scholars need to have a better sense of the issues, both epistemological and practical, that professional historians wrestle with, and they need to be more comfortable engaging in the sine qua non of the modern historical method – the use of primary-source (and typically archival) materials to illuminate both how IIL was understood and experienced in earlier eras and how those earlier conceptions and applications of IIL may or may not remain relevant today.

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