Q & A with James Stewart, Visiting Professor at the Collège de France

November 25, 2019

2015 Wall Scholar Prof. James Stewart was a Visiting Professor at the Collège de France in June 2019, through an international partnership agreement between the Collège and PWIAS. He presented four public lectures in French on the history and future of international criminal justice, available here. Prof. Stewart reflects on his experience.

PWIAS: What were your expectations for the visit?

JGS: Expectations for my visit were very clearly defined. The Collège de France provided accommodations in Paris close to the Louvre and a generous stipend, and required me to deliver four lectures over four weeks. My talks at the Collège would be recorded and published online which was simultaneously a great excitement and a source of motivation to develop a compelling set of French-language lectures. I had memorable lunches and dinners with Collège professors. Dining with Prof. Delmas-Marty, in particular, was a major privilege since my work represents something of a continuation of her scholarly path.

PWIAS: What were some outcomes of your visit?

JGS: I delivered a series of French-language lectures on the history and future of international criminal justice. The lectures spanned a very considerable period of time, from trials after World War 1 to the future of the current International Criminal Court. To my knowledge, this set of lectures is the only online source that addresses the full scope of this history. Lecture transcripts in English and French are available online, and I am in discussion with a major journal to publish the English language version.

PWIAS: Do you have plans to follow up with your colleagues in Paris?

JGS: I am presently being drawn back into the practice of international criminal justice to play a leadership role there (a move my interlocutors at the Collège de France support). I was, however, invited to participate in an interdisciplinary event the Collège is organising on evil, and other attendees at my lectures have reached out to me. Whatever the case, I am confident that I will remain in contact with the colleagues I met at the Collège and that we will have opportunities to collaborate in future.

PWIAS: How would you describe your experience overall?

JGS: This was a fantastic opportunity. The Collège de France is still imbued with the spirit and reputation of Michel Foucault, which makes this hallowed ground for many scholars. The wonderful accommodation in Paris, minimal obligations on the visitor’s time, wonderful social exchanges with members of the Collège, and the opportunity to record these lectures in a very prestigious environment made for a major career highlight. That this is in Paris also contributes! In my opinion, the visitor scholar exchange is operating well. With support to help faculty overcome their hesitations about presenting in French, this program is a real jewel for UBC and scholars across different disciplines. Overall, this was a truly outstanding experience and one that I hope the Institute will maintain for years to come.