The Life and Death of States: Author Meets Readers – Law School: Events The Life and Death of States: Author Meets Readers – Law School: Events

The Life and Death of States: Author Meets Readers

The Life and Death of States: Author Meets Readers

In-person event

Natasha Wheatley’s bold new book The Life and Death of States: Central Europe and the Transformation of Modern Sovereignty (Princeton University Press 2023) rediscovers the multinational Habsburg polity as a hothouse for ideas that still shape our understanding of the sovereign state. The radical mismatch between theories of singular sovereignty and the empire’s plural, layered legal order pushed politicians as well as scholars like Hans Kelsen toward bold new conceptions of the state and the nature of law. The book follows a recurring set of questions about the juridical birth, death, and survival of states through the creative experiments of Austro-Hungarian constitutional order and into the domain of international law following the empire’s collapse in 1918. These ideas would echo around the globe in the era of global decolonization that followed the Second World War, suggesting new ways of understanding Central Europe in the world.

About the speakers
  • Natasha Wheatley is an historian of modern European and international history, with broad interests in intellectual and legal history, Central Europe, and the history of international law. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Sydney before joining the Princeton faculty as an assistant professor in 2017. She is the co-editor of the volumes Power and Time and Remaking Central Europe, and her writing has appeared in Past & Present, History and Theory, Law and History Review, and the London Review of Books, among other places. The Life and Death of States is her first book.
  • Professor Lisa Ford is the prize-winning author of three monographs: Settler Sovereignty: Jurisdiction and Indigenous People in America and Australia, 1788-1836 (Harvard UP, 2010); Rage for Order: The British Empire and the Origins of International Law, 1800-1850 (Harvard UP, 2016), co-authored with Professor Lauren Benton; and The King’s Peace: Law and Order in the British Empire (Harvard UP, 2021). She recently co-edited The Cambridge Legal History of Australia (Cambridge UP, 2022). Her current project, on emergency in the British Empire is funded by an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship.
  • Professor Lea Ypi is Professor in Political Theory at the London School of Economics and Political Science and an Honorary Professor in Philosophy at the Australian National University. A native of Albania, she has degrees in Philosophy and in Literature from the University of Rome La Sapienza, a PhD from the European University Institute and was a Post-Doctoral Prize Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford University. She is the author of Global Justice and Avant-Garde Political Agency, The Meaning of Partisanship (with Jonathan White), and The Architectonic of Reason. Her latest book, a philosophical memoir entitled Free: Coming of Age at the End of History, won the 2022 Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize and the Slightly Foxed First Biography Prize and is being translated into more than twenty languages. Her academic work has been recognised with the British Academy Prize for Excellence in Political Science and the Leverhulme Prize for Outstanding Research Achievement. She coedits The Journal of Political Philosophy and occasionally writes for The Guardian.


Thursday 10 August 2023

Time: 5.30-7pm

Venue: University of Sydney, Level 4, Common Room, New Law Building (F10), Eastern Avenue, Camperdown

This event is being held in-person at Sydney Law School.


This event is proudly presented by the Julius Stone Institute at the University of Sydney Law School.

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Aug 10 2023


5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

More Info



Common Room, Level 4, Sydney Law School
New Law Building (F10), Eastern Avenue, The University of Sydney (Camperdown Campus)


Professional Learning & Community Engagement
02 9351 0248

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