The last week has been a little challenging and I haven’t managed to do some of the work I had been planning to complete re. my research project and presentation. However, what I have realised is that locating material on some of the key actors in my project is going to be a nightmare.

Whist my initial ‘small’ essay surveyed the field of Global Legal History so that I could place my work within the context of what academics are currently writing and maybe pick up a methodological tip or two, the main project is more substantive, focussing on the drafters of an already overlooked 1868 treaty.

Whilst I was able to find a copy of the document, on which the drafters titles were recorded, finding out anything more about them has so far been an exercise in futility. Partially because they have not been labelled particularly significant by current history, to the point that I haven’t even been able to attach names to some titles.

These are not figures who have had books written about them and though some of them have penned newspaper articles to provide an indicator as to their views, the current scarcity of material which I am observing around them could be a problem. Not that that would be fatal for my project, I still have more than enough to write on considering my intent to tackle the intellectual history of the ‘Hauge law’, many books have been penned on this subject and 4500 words can make no claim to the lofty heights which others have already reached. Indeed, even scant material would make (in my opinion) a fascinating aside to a central argument.

However, as my project proposal suggested, the default to broad intellectual history feels like a bit of a cop out to me. I have a hunch that there are transnational connections of real substance hiding amongst those drafters which will explain why they (a military advisory group) were the first people to set down proscriptions on combat. If I can find sufficient material to do so, I feel like being able to jump between this little group and a transnational perspective would really increase the strength and quality of my project.

If the research task proves too hard within the allotted time I have, then I think it would probably be cognisant of me to have a backup local group, involved in the treaties framing or ratification, who I could track transnational connections between. Whilst I think there may be something to be said for advocacy groups, red cross chapters and government caucuses who favour legalising war as potential alternative topics of individual level research, I have no idea which one of these I would look to yet.

Locating sources