Mark Somos and Anne PetersOct 11, 2021
The State of Nature
Histories of an Idea
The phrase, “state of nature”, has been used over centuries to describe the uncultivated state of lands and animals, nudity, innocence, heaven and hell, interstate relations, and the locus of pre- and supra-political rights, such as the right to resistance, to property, to create and leave polities, and the freedom of religion, speech, and opinion, which may be reactivated or reprioritised when the polity and its laws fail. Combining intellectual history with current concerns, Mark Somos and Anne Peters's book The State of Nature: Histories of an Idea (Brill, 2021) together fourteen essays on the past, present and possible future applications of the legal fiction known as the state of nature.
Mark Somos, Ph.D. (2007 Harvard, 2014 Leiden), holds the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft’s Heisenberg position. He wrote Secularisation and the Leiden Circle (Brill, 2011) and American States of Nature: The Origins of Independence, 1761–1775 (Oxford, 2019).
Anne Peters, Ph.D. (1994 Freiburg), is Director at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg, a Professor at Heidelberg, Freie Universität Berlin, and Basel, and L. Bates Lea Global Law Professor at the University of Michigan.
Alexandra Ortolja-Baird is Lecturer in Digital History and Culture at the University of Portsmouth. She tweets at @timetravelallie.