Mary Ellen O'Connell
The Law School, University of Notre Dame
International Law, Religion and Beauty
International law restricts resort to war, protects the environment, and promotes human dignity. Plainly, international law could do better in all respects. The proposed project will focus on this desideratum by continuing prior research into the interconnections between international law and religion. International law has roots in religion, but from the Enlightenment forward, international law, like other law, was separated from religion, in a move that paralleling the separation of Church and State. Rediscovering the interconnections, while appreciating the distinctions could advance the capacity of both. The project will also undertake a new, almost unprecedented investigation, going beyond the examination of international law and religion. The philosophy of aesthetics is contributing to theological studies and may hold promise for the study of law. Aesthetics focuses on beauty and why beauty attracts. Understanding attraction may lead to insights toward enhancing the attraction of international law and its capacity for good.
Mary Ellen O’Connell is the Robert and Marion Short Professor of Law and is also Research Professor of International Dispute Resolution at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame. Professor O’Connell earned a BA in history with highest honors from Northwestern University. She was a Marshall Scholar, and earned an MSc in international relations from LSE and an LLB with first class honors and the PhD under special regulations from Cambridge University. She received a JD from Columbia University with honors and the Berger Prize in international law. She has received a fellowship for the 2014-2015 academic year to co-lead an inquiry on law and religious freedom at the Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton, New Jersey. Her research interests are in general international law, international legal theory, international law on the use of force, and international dispute resolution. She has published widely on these subjects and is at work on a new book, The Beauty of Peace through International Law..