International Law and American Exceptionalism

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Ashgate Series: Controversies in American Constitutional Law

Proposal: International Law and American Exceptionalism

International Law and American Exceptionalism
Edited by

Professor Julian Killingley and Dr Jon Yorke

BCU Centre for American Legal Studies
Call for Contributors
President Barack Obama,
I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being. But what makes us exceptional is not our ability to flout international norms and the rule of law; it’s our willingness to affirm them through our actions,”

The President’s Address to the US Military Academy, West Point, May 28, 2014.

This edited collection engages with the controversies surrounding the relationship of international law and American domestic law. It deals with a variety of approaches to the use/restriction/rejection of international law by Congress and the American courts through engaging with international legislation (in both “hard” and “soft” forms) and the increasingly important discourse on international judicial dialogue. It will analyse the processes of constitutional cross-fertilization in judicial constitutional-to-constitutional court dialogue and constitutional-to-regional court dialogue. The overarching theme of the collection is to investigate to what extent America is part of/abstaining from/contributing to, the globalization of legal principles. The perpetual pressures upon the various global agendas necessitates that the concept of “American exceptionalism” requires further critique to determine the boundaries of American sovereignty.

The collection will bring together scholarship from different disciplines in analysing this issue, and we encourage contributions from both sides of the American political spectrum. We want to provide a platform for both conservative and liberal approaches to the issue of the utility of international law. The critique supplied can be multidisciplinary, including: legal, sociological, political, psychological and philosophical enquiry.
All areas of law will be considered for inclusion within the collection, from, inter alia, interpretations of Congressional powers under U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Sec. 8, “[t]o punish…Offences against the Law of Nations,” through to the consideration of the U.N. Convention Against Torture in immigration proceedings, to Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights in patent cases, to the consideration of the status of the fetus in the Organization of American States, and to the use of international climate change law.
We give discretion to contributors to identify your area of interest in the intersection of international and American law.

Submissions information:
To submit, please send your proposed title and a short synopsis of up to 400 words to: Dr. Jon Yorke, Director of the Centre for American Legal Studies, BCU Law School, Birmingham City University, UK, at:
Submissions decisions will be made by 25 July 2014.
Chapter submissions are between 10-12,000 words, including footnotes. Bluebook citations are used for footnotes.
The deadline date for chapter submissions is 31 January 2015. Author proofs checking will be March 2015, and publication will be July 2015.
If you have any questions, please contact Jon Yorke at the above email address.

About the Ashgate Series: Controversies in American Constitutional Law
Series Editors: Dr Jon Yorke and Dr Anne Richardson Oakes, Centre for American Legal Studies, BCU Law School
Controversies in American Constitutional Law presents and engages with the contemporary developments and policies which mould and challenge U.S. constitutional law and practice. It deals with the full spectrum of constitutional issues, publishing work by scholars from a range of disciplines who tackle current legal issues by reference to their underlying legal and political histories and the philosophical perspectives that they represent. Its cross-disciplinary approach encourages analysis of past, present and future challenges to the idea of U.S. constitutionalism and the power structures upon which it rests. The series provides a forum for scholars to challenge the boundaries of U.S. constitutional law and engages with the continual process of constitutional refinement for the protection of individual rights and liberties, within an evolving framework of legitimate government. 

CALS promotes research, scholarship, and educative programs in all areas of U.S. law, and is the home of the British Journal of American Legal Studies. Faculty members have extensive experience in submitting amicus curiae briefs to the United States Supreme Court and lower federal courts, and advising on criminal justice issues in many states. CALS coordinates the largest British law undergraduate internship program to the United States. Through this program, and members’ research, CALS has created relationships with over one hundred partners in over twenty-five states. CALS faculty advise public bodies, provide professional training, and speak at conferences across the USA.


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