Koskenniemi, Martti

1.8.2005-31.7.2010 and 1.1.2012-31.12.2016
University of Helsinki

Martti Koskenniemi (b. 1953) is a law researcher, widely recognised as one of the world’s leading experts in international law. His work has inspired generations of international law researchers and changed the way in which international law is taught and researched. Professor Koskenniemi has been Director of the Erik Castrén Institute since 1997. He served as Academy Professor in 2005–2010.

The main focus of Professor Koskenniemi’s research interests is international law and the rethinking of its role in world history. During his term as Academy Professor, he will turn his attention to researching those periods in the history of international law that so far have been seriously neglected. Koskenniemi’s research plan makes an exceptional connection between international law and the history of ideas, which has been described as a pioneering perspective. His aim is to produce the first-ever history of ideas in international law. It is expected that this research will contribute to a deeper understanding of international law and how it ties in with the histories of nationalism, racism and capitalism. The project will bring together scholars from different disciplines and different countries.

Koskenniemi has a long and impressive list of publications that comprises 236 titles. His reputation was cemented with the publication in 1989 of his monograph From Apology to Utopia: The Structure of International Legal Argument and a string of articles that followed. These publications have significantly contributed to develop this field of research. His latest work entitled The Gentle Civilizer of Nations: The Rise and Fall of International Law 1870-1960 was an epoch-making contribution to international law research. Both of these works are widely cited and discussed in this field. The Politics of International Law and The Cambridge Companion to International Law are currently in print and will make a significant addition to Koskenniemi’s extensive list of publications.

During his term as Academy Professor, Martti Koskenniemi will continue his active role in teaching and postgraduate training. He is committed to raising a new generation of researchers and will run international courses for doctoral students. He has 16 doctoral students under his supervision. 

Last modified 25 Feb 2015
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