New Books Network

Juan Pablo Scarfi

The Hidden History of International Law in The Americas

Empires and Legal Networks

Oxford University Press 2017

New Books in Caribbean StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Latin American StudiesNew Books in LawNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Political ScienceNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network July 30, 2020 Steven P. Rodriguez

In his book The Hidden History of International Law in The Americas: Empires and Legal Networks (Oxford University Press, 2017), Juan Pablo Scarfi shows...

In his book The Hidden History of International Law in The Americas: Empires and Legal Networks (Oxford University Press, 2017), Juan Pablo Scarfi shows the central role of a coterie of elite Latin American jurists and intellectuals in constructing a Pan-American inflected conception of international law.

In exploring the rise of so-called “American” international law, Scarfi’s monograph contributes to the now burgeoning literature on the rise of global governance, by showing how many of the legal ideas that came to serve as the foundation of organizations like the United Nations were first experimented with in Latin America.

While much previous work on international law during the twentieth century has often left Latin America out of the picture or given it a peripheral role, this important monograph positions Latin America at the center of the development of modern ideas about international law and highlights the global legal networks that allowed for spirited exchanges between Latin American, North American, and European legal elites.

Juan Pablo Scarfi is a Research Associate at the Argentine National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET), and teaches international relations and international law at the School of Politics and Government at the National University of San Martín, Argentina.


Steven P. Rodriguez is a PhD candidate in history at Vanderbilt University. His research focuses on the history of Latin American student migration to the United States during the first half of the twentieth century. You can reach him at steven.p.rodriguez@vanderbilt.edu and follow his twitter at @SPatrickRod.