Previous Events

Conference “Still a Cold Monster? Rise and Decline of Modern State” (2021)


Conference “Still a Cold Monster? Rise and Decline of Modern State?” will focus on the notion and the fact of modern State and its legitimacy. The conference will especially discuss topics as State, religion and the secular society, State, markets and welfare, State, borders and nationalism, and the State’s integration into a supranational project such as paradigmatically the one of European Union, as well as the possible taming of State’s main traditional prerogative, and pride, sovereignty, within a thickest web of international rules and governance.

Could we still repeat and approve Nietzsche’s assessment of State as a “cold monster”? Is State irremediably a coercive practice and mostly referable to it? Or is it rather better understood as the public sphere, a collective deliberative dimension, that “city” whose walls are, in Simone Weil’s words, a stronghold against slavery and disgrace?

28-29th October 2021


Thursday, 28th October

10:00 – 10:30          Welcoming words

I session – The State and its Legitimacy

Chairing: Massimo La Torre

10:30 – 11:00 Robert Cooper

11:00 – 11:30 Dick Howard

11:30 – 12:00    Coffee break

12:00 – 12:30 Agustin Jose Menéndez

12:30 – 13.00 Peeter Selg

13.00-13.30 Discussion

13.30-14.30 Break/ Lunch

II session – State and the Rule of Law

Chairing: Rein Müllerson

14:30 – 15:00 Kenneth Himma

15.00 – 15:30 Peter Langford

15:30 – 16:00 Coffee break

16:00 – 16:30 Marina Lalatta Costerbosa

16:30 – 17:30 Margaret Moore ZOOM

17:30 – 18:30 Discussion

Friday, 29th October

III session – State, Nation and the Globalized World

Chairing: Indrek Grauberg

9:30 – 10:00 Rein Müllerson

10:00 – 10:30 Tõnis Saarts

10:30 – 11: 00 Coffee break

11: 00 – 11: 30 Leif Kalev

11: 30 – 12:00 Sergio Dellavalle

12:00 – 13:00 Discussion

13:00 – 14:00 Break/Lunch

IV session – State, Market and Public Rights

Chairing: Peeter Selg

14:00 – 14:30 Daniel Innerarity

14:30 – 15:00 Indrek Grauberg

15:00 – 15:30 Coffee break

15:30 – 16:00 Massimo La Torre

16:00 – 17:00 Saskia Sassen

17:00 – 17: 30 Discussion

17:30—17:45 Closing words

Scholars involved:

Sir Robert Francis Cooper is a British diplomat and adviser who served as a Special Advisor at the European Commission for Myanmar between 2013 and 2014. He was also a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations and is an acclaimed writer on international relations. Cooper is best known for his exposition of the doctrine of “new liberal imperialism”, as expressed in his The Post-Modern State (2002). This contains such ideas as the designation of countries as “Failed states”, “Modern states” and “Postmodern states”, and statements such as “The challenge to the postmodern world is to get used to the idea of double standards”. His world-view is said to have been influential in the political thinking of Tony Blair as well as the development of European Security and Defence Policy.

Dick Howard is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Stony Brook University. His most recent books are The Primacy of the Political: A History of Political Thought from the Greeks to the French and American Revolutions (Columbia University Press 2010) and Aux origines de la pensée politique américaine (Hachette Pluriel 2008). He does a weekly commentary on US politics for Radio Canada and a monthly column on New York cultural life for Esprit.

Agustín José Menéndez is an Associate Professor at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain) and an affiliate researcher of the EuroDiv research Project coordinated by ARENA (University of Oslo). Menéndez holds an LLM from the European Academy of Legal Theory (Brussels) and a PhD in law from the European University Institute in Florence. He was a visiting researcher at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, at the Centro de Estudios Políticos y Constitucionales (Madrid), at Instituto Universitario Ortega y Gasset (Madrid), at ARENA (University of Oslo) and lecturer at the Universidad de León (Spain). Menéndez’s main fields of interest include the constitutional theory of the European Union, the economic law of European integration and wicked legal systems. His last book (co-authored with Espen D. H. Olsen) is Misunderstanding Citizenship: European Citizenship between Theory and Practice (Palgrave, 2019).

Peeter Selg is professor of political theory at Tallinn University, Estonia. His main research interests include theories of power, social science methodology, and relational social sciences. His work has appeared in journals such as Sociological Theory, PS: Political Science and Politics, and Journal of Political Power. His last book (with Andreas Ventsel) Introducing Relational Political Analysis: Political Semiotics as a Theory and Method (Palgrave Macmillan)

Kenneth Einar Himma is an American philosopher, author, lawyer, academic and lecturer. Himma specialises in philosophy of law, philosophy of information, information ethics, social philosophy, political philosophy and philosophy of religion, and has authored dozens of academic papers in these fields. From 2004 until 2011 he worked as a professor in the philosophy department of Seattle Pacific University, after which he began lecturing part-time at the University of Washington School of Law

Peter Langford was appointed as a Lecturer in Law in 2004. He became a Senior Lecturer in Law in 2006/07. Prior to this, he has worked in academic positions in France and Poland. In France he worked, for two years, as a Maître de Langue, at the Centre de Télé-Enseignment Universitaire, University of Nancy II (now University of Lorraine). In Poland, he worked, for two years, as a Lecturer in Philosophy, in the Department of Philosophy, University of Wroc?aw, Poland. He undertakes research in the areas of human rights and legal theory. In the area of human rights, his research has concentrated upon the relationship between non-nationals and the European Convention on Human Rights. In the area of legal theory, his current research concentrates upon two main areas. The first is the work of the Italian contemporary philosopher, Roberto Esposito; and the second is the work of Hans Kelsen and Max Weber.

Marina Lalatta Costerbosa is Professor at University of Bologna (Department of Philosophy and Communication Studies). Her research interest is on the connection between law and morality with regard to the concept of law and its main application. The normative idea of democracy, its relationship with the theory of rights: theories, problems, and practical questions (among others: torture’s recent debate and rehabilitation; violation of human rights; macro crimes and consent).

Margaret Moore is a professor in the Political Studies department, cross-appointed as a courtesy in Philosophy where she teaches in the Master’s in Political and Legal Theory program. She is the author of four books, Who Should Own Natural Resources? (Polity 2019), A Political Theory of Territory (Oxford 2015), Ethics of Nationalism (Oxford 2001) and Foundations of Liberalism (Oxford 1993) and has edited several other books and journal special issues. A Political Theory of Territory was the winner of the Canadian Philosophical Association’s Best Book Prize in 2017, and was translated into Japanese in 2020. She has published in journals such as the American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Political Philosophy, Political Theory, Philosophical Studies, Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Political Studies, and Ethics and International Affairs. In 2018 she was an RSS visiting fellow at the Australian National University (March-April) and the Olof Palme Visiting Research Professor at the University of Stockholm (July-December), and in 2019 she was elected a Fellow to the Royal Society of Canada.

Rein Müllerson is Professor Emeritus at Tallinn University. In 2009-2017 he was the Rector of Tallinn University Nord, and President of the Law School and research Professor of Tallinn University. 1994-2009 he was Professor of International Law at King’s College, London. In 2004, on Sabbatical from King’s, he worked as the UN Regional Adviser for Central Asia. In 1992-94 he was Visiting Centennial Professor of the London School of Economics and Political Science. In 1991-92 Müllerson was First Deputy Foreign Minister of Estonia and in 1988-92 a Member of the UN Human Rights Committee. Before that Müllerson worked as the Head of the Department of international law at the Institute of State and Law in Moscow and was Advisor to President Gorbachev of the USSR on international law. He is a graduate of the Law Faculty of Moscow University and holds PhD (1978) and Doctorate (1985) from that University. Since 1995 he is a Member of the Institut de Droit International. In 2013, in Tokyo, he was elected the President of the Institut de Droit International. He is fluent in Estonian, Russian, English and French. Professor Müllerson is the author of thirteen books on international law and politics and more than 200 articles and reviews. His latest books are International Law: Rights and Politics (Routledge 1994); Human Rights Diplomacy (Routledge, 1997); Ordering Anarchy: International Law in International Society (Kluwer Law International, 2000); Central Asia: A Chessboard and Player in the New Great Game (Kegan Paul, 2007 and second edition by Routledge in 2012); Democracy Promotion: Institutions, International Law and Politics, (The Hague Academy of International Law, Recueil des Cours, vol 333, 2008); Martinus Nijhoff Publishers; Democracy – A Destiny of Humankind: A Qualified, Contingent and Contextual Case for Democracy Promotion, NovaPublishers (New York), 2009 (in 2013 published also in Estonian by Tallinn University Press); Regime Change: From Democratic Peace Theories to Forcible Regime Changes, Brill, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers (Leiden, Boston), 2013; Dawn of a New Order: Geopolitics and Clash of Ideologies (London, I.B. Tauris, 2017). He is the author of more than 300 academic articles.

Tõnis Saarts has its background both in political science and sociology. He has been focused on comparative politics, political sociology, but also on historical sociology. More specifically, his research interests have been concentrated primarily on political parties, party systems, social cleavages and on the multiple challenges contemporary political parties have in modern democracies (the rise of populism, party system cartelisation, etc.). He has also been interested in democratization in Central and Eastern Europe in which he has been primarily focused on the Baltic States in a comparative perspective. His great passion has been historical sociology in which he has studied the formation of modern democracy and statehood in a historical perspective. Saarts have also been active in the public sphere, in which he has been written many columns and provided media commentaries on the developments in the Estonian politics for many international media outlets.

Leif Kalev is Professor of state and citizenship theory at Tallinn University. His research interests include citizenship, democracy, the state as a political community and the modes of its governance, and politics-policy-polity interrelations. In 2012-15 he worked as the secretary general and the deputy secretary general on public order and migration policy in the Estonian Ministry of the Interior. In 2019-20 prof. Kalev was a visiting research fellow at MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, Yale University, USA. He is the head of the editorial board of Bibliotheca Politica book series of Tallinn University Press. His more recent publications include a co-edited three-volume book on public policy, an edited special issue in Acta Politica Estica, articles in International Journal of Public Policy, Comparative Migration Studies, Social Sciences, and edited volumes published by Routledge and Springer. List of publications: ORCID ID:

Sergio Dellavalle is Professor of Public Law and State Theory at the Department of Law of the University of Torino and Senior Research Affiliate at the Max Planck Institute of Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg. Previously, he has been Marie Curie Fellow of the European Commission, Fellow of the DAAD and Senior Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute of Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg. He has been Scholar in residence at the W & L University, School of Law (Lexington, VA, USA), as well as Visiting Fellow at the Buchmann Faculty of Law of the University of Tel Aviv and at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law of the University of Cambridge. He has been Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Law of the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität, Heidelberg, at the Faculty of Law of the Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main, at Queen’s University, School of Law (Belfast); at the University of Tübingen; at Rutgers University, School of Law (Camden, NJ), and at the University of Baltimore, School of Law (Baltimore, MD).

Daniel Innerarity is part-time Professor at the School of Transnational Governance (STG). He is Professor of Political and Social Philosophy at the University of the Basque Country and the Ikerbasque Foundation for Science, Spain. He is also director of the Instituto de Gobernanza Democrática. Previously, he was a Robert Schuman Visiting Professor at the European University Institute (EUI), Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at the University of Munich and visiting professor at the University of Paris 1-Sorbonne. He also held a professorship at Georgetown University and was visiting fellow of the Max Planck Institut for International and Public Law at Heidelberg. He has been awarded the Miguel de Unamuno Essay Prize, the 2003 National Literature Prize in the Essay category, the Espasa Essay Prize and the Euskadi Essay Prize. He has also received the Prize for Humanities, Culture, Arts and Social Sciences from the Basque Studies Society/Eusko Ikaskuntza in 2008 and the Príncipe de Viana Culture Prize 2013.

Massimo La Torre is a Professor in Philosophy of Law at the Law School of Magna Graecia University in Catanzaro, Italy, and a Visiting Professor of European Law at the Tallinn University. He is an international authority on European, Public and  Constitutional Law. Currently he is working on the idea of European Citizenship, the concept of a constitutional state, and the comparative role of defense in different legislative systems. Dr. La Torre is the author of fifteen books and has published over 150 articles in several different languages. In addition, he is the co-director of the book series Res Publica, an associate editor of Ratio Juris and has been a member of the editorial committee of various international publications. In 2009 Massimo La Torre was honoured with the Research Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

Saskia Sassen is the Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology at Columbia University and a Member of its Committee on Global Thought, which she chaired till 2015. She is a student of cities, immigration, and states in the world economy, with inequality, gendering and digitization three key variables running though her work. Born in the Netherlands, she grew up in Argentina and Italy, studied in France, was raised in five languages, and began her professional life in the United States. She is the author of eight books and the editor or co-editor of three books. Together, her authored books are translated in over twenty languages. She has received many awards and honors, among them multiple doctor honoris causa, the 2013 Principe de Asturias Prize in the Social Sciences, election to the Royal Academy of the Sciences of the Netherlands, and made a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres by the French government.

Welcoming words:

I session – The State and its Legitimacy

II session – State and the Rule of Law

III session – State, Nation and the Globalized World

IV session – State, Market and Public Rights