Dr. Jakob Zollmann

Photo Jakob Zollmann
Rasmus von Schwerdtner


+49 30 25491 542
jakob.zollmann [at] wzb.eu
Reichpietschufer 50
D-10785 Berlin
E 104

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Rasmus von Schwerdtner
Visiting Researcher of the Research Professorship

Research fields

International Relations
Legal History | Rule of Law


2022 - 2023 WZB-Dahrendorf fellow, St Antony's College, University of Oxford

09 - 12 2021 Merian Institute for Advanced Studies in Africa, University of Ghana

2014 - 2016 DAAD Visiting Fellow German Historical Institute Paris

2011 WZB Berlin Social Science Center,  unit: Center for Global Constitutionalism

02 2008 Ph.D. (Freie Universität Berlin)

05 2005 Magister Legum (LL.M.) (UC Hasting Law School, San Francisco)

2003 - 2004 post-graduate research at the University of Namibia, Windhoek

12 2002 Magister Artium (M.A.) (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin)

1997 - 2002 Studies of history, law, philosophy, and political science at the Universities of Berlin (HU) and Paris

Albert Memmi – Entfremdung und Freiheit. (Re-)Lektüren des autobiographischen Romans 'Die Salzsäule' (1953), in: Trumah 26 (2023) , S. 125-166.

Mixed Arbitral Tribunals: Post-WWI Peace Treaties, in: Max Planck Encyclopedia of International Procedural Law (General Editor Hélène Ruiz Fabri).

Nationality, Property, and the Mixed Arbitral Tribunals, 1914 to c.1930”, in: Hélène Ruiz Fabri/Michel Erpelding (eds.): Mixed Arbitral Tribunals, 1919–1939. An Experiment in the International Adjudication of Private Rights, Baden-Baden (Nomos) 2023: 113–157.

South Africa’s ‘Total National Strategy’. Or How to Think About the Future of Apartheid in Times of Crisis, 1975–1984, in: J. Baberowski/M. Wagner (eds.): Crisis in Authoritarian Regimes. Fragile Orders and Contested Power, Frankfurt/M. 2022: 339–366.

‘Civilization(s)’ and ‘Civilized Nations’ – Of History, Anthropology and International Law, in: P. Sean Morris (ed.): Transforming the Politics of International Law: The Advisory Committee of Jurists and the Formation of the World Court in the League of Nations, London 2022: 11–33.

On SWAPO’s Socialism. Socialist Ideology and Practice during the Namibian Struggle for Independence, 1960 to 1989, in: Françoise Blum et.al. (ed.): African Socialisms – Socialism in Africa, Paris 2021: 593–612.

Un juge Berlinois à Paris entre droit public international et arbitrage commercial. Robert Marx, les Tribunaux arbitraux mixtes et la Chambre de Commerce International, in: Philipp Müller/Hervé Joly (eds.): Les espaces d’interaction entre les élites économiques françaises et allemandes, 1920–1950, Rennes 2021: 63–77.

Negotiated Partition of South Africa - an Idea and its History (1920s-1980s), in: South African Historical Journal (2021): 406-434.

'Neither the state nor the individual goes to the colony in order to make a bad business': State and private enterprise in the making of commercial law in the German colonies, ca. 1884 to 1914, in: Serge Dauchy/Heikki Pihlajamäki/Albrecht Cordes/ Dave De ruysscher (eds.): Colonial Adventures: Commercial Law and Practice in the Making, Leiden 2021: 279-315.

Interstate mediation and arbitration: concepts, cases, and actors of third party dispute resolution (17th to 19th Century), in: Karl Härter/Carolin Hillemanns/Günther Schlee (eds.): On Mediation: Historical, Legal, Anthropological and International Perspectives, New York 2020: 153-183.


Wachstum, Gerechtigkeit, Frieden? Deutschland, die Internationale Handelskammer (Paris) und die Handelsschiedsgerichtsbarkeit, 1920-1935, in: Andreas Braune/Michael Dreyer (Hg.): Weimar und die Neuordnung der Welt, Stuttgart 2020: 213-239.

Koloniale Staatsgrenzen festlegen und überwinden. Grenzregime, Verkehr und 'Schmuggel' in Deutsch-Südwestafrika, 1886-1915, in: Barbara Kuhn/Ursula Winter (Hg.): Grenzen. Annäherungen an einen transdisziplinären Gegenstand. Würzburg 2019: 101-139.

From Windhuk to Auschwitz. Old Wine in New Bottles? - Review Article, in: Wolfram Hartmann (ed.): Nuanced Considerations. Recent Voices in Namibian-German Colonial History. Windhoek 2019: 303-342.


Koloniale Staatlichkeit, in: Gunnar Folke Schuppert (Hg.): Von Staat zu Staatlichkeit. Beiträge zu einer multidisziplinären Staatlichkeitswissenschaft. Staatsverständnisse, Bd. 134. Baden-Baden 2019: 185-209.

Prisioneiros de guerra e os seus historiadores, in: Pedro Aires Oliveira (ed.): Prisioneiros de guerras. Experiências de cativeiro no século XX, Lisboa 2019: 33-60.

Théorie et pratique de l’arbitrage international avant la Première Guerre mondiale, in: Rémi Fabre, Thierry Bonzon, Jean-Michel Guieu, Elisa Marcobelli and Michel Rapoport (eds.), Les défenseurs de la paix, 1899-1917, Rennes 2018: 111-126.

Ethiopia, International Law and the First World War. Considerations of Neutrality and Foreign Policy by the European Powers, 1840–1919, in:  Shiferaw Bekele, Uoldelul Chelati Dirar, Alessandro Voltera, and Massimo Zaccaria (eds.): The First World War from Tripoli to Addis Ababa (1911-1924), Addis Ababa 2018: 107-140.

African International Legal Histories – International Law in Africa. Perspectives and Possibilities, in: Leiden Journal of International Law 31 (2018): 897–914.

Reparations, Claims for Damages, and the Delivery of Justice. Germany and the Mixed Arbitral Tribunals (1919–1933), in: David Deroussin (ed.): La Grande Guerre et son droit, Paris 2018: 379–394.

Militär, Kriege und Gewalt, in: Horst Gründer / Hermann Hiery (Hg.) Die Deutschen und ihre  Kolonien. Ein Überblick, Berlin 2017: 239258.


Bausteine einer kolonialen Geschichte des Privatrechts. Das Reichsgericht und die deutschen Kolonien, 1888-1920, in: Rechtskultur - Zeitschrift für Europäische Rechtsgeschichte 5 (2016): 1436.

Austrägalgerichtsbarkeit. Interstate dispute settlement in a confederate arrangement, 1815 to 1866, in: Rechtsgeschichte. Rg. Zeitschrift des Max-Planck-Instituts für Europäische Rechtsgeschichte 24 (2016): 7499.

Naulila 1914. World War I in Angola and International Law - A Study in (Post-)Colonial Border Regimes and Interstate Arbitration (Studien zur Geschichte des Völkerrechts 35), Baden-Baden 2016.

German Colonial Law and Comparative Law, 1884–1919, in: Thomas Duve (ed.) Entanglements in Legal History: Conceptual Approaches (Global Perspectives on Legal History 1), Frankfurt/M. 2014: 253294.

L’affaire Naulilaa entre le Portugal et l’Allemagne, 1914–1933. Réflexions sur l’histoire politique d’une sentence arbitrale internationale, in: Journal of the History of International Law / Revue d'histoire du droit international 15/2 (2013): 201–234.

Communicating Colonial Order. The Police of German-South-West-Africa (ca. 1894-1915), in: Crime, History & Societies 15/1 (2011): 33-57.

Slavery and the colonial state in German South West Africa 1880s to 1918, in: Journal of Namibian Studies, 7 (2010): 85–118.

Koloniale Herrschaft und ihre Grenzen. Die Kolonialpolizei in Deutsch Südwestafrika 1894 – 1915, Göttingen 2010.


My project analyses the practice of interstate arbitration in public international law as well as the peace movement and its aspirations for pacification by juridification in the context of 19th and early 20th century. The methodology to be employed is interdisciplinary: historical-hermeneutical questions are linked with juridical-normative questions. In addition, assumptions by political scientists with regard to conflict resolution in international relations will be scrutinised. Two major points are at issue: What are the historical-political conditions under which political actors choose to resort to conflict resolution by arbitration tribunals instead of bilateral negotiations or military force? What are the causes of the increased importance of interstate arbitration?