Lund Critical Debates Series

The Lund Critical Debates Series brings to campus two to three speakers who can address topical issues from a variety of perspectives. Typically, a Cornell faculty member serves as moderator. 

The Einaudi Center is deeply grateful to Judith Lund Biggs ’57 for her generosity and foresight in creating this series, which serves to strengthen academic discourse at Cornell and enhance the student experience.


2017-2018: Can War be Prevented by Law?

Signing of Kellogg Briand pact in 1928
World leaders sign the Kellogg-Briand Pact in 1928, outlawing war. 

Do laws and treaties have the power to stop armed conflicts before they begin?

"Can War be Prevented by Law" was held on March 1, 2018. The debate featured Yale University's Oona A. Hathaway and Scott J. Shapiro and Cornell's Isabel V. Hull and Jens David Ohlin. Matthew A. Evangelista (government) moderated.

Media coverage

Debate: Can Law Prevent War (CornellCast video)

Cornell, Yale scholars to debate role of law in preventing war (Cornell Chronicle)

Scholars debate whether laws are effective in preventing war (Cornell Daily Sun

Oona A. Hathaway is the Gerard C. and Bernice Latrobe Smith Professor of International Law and counselor to the dean at Yale Law School. She is also professor of international law and area studies at the Yale's MacMillan Center, on the faculty at the Jackson Institute for International Affairs, and professor in Yale's department of political science. With Scott Shapiro, she is the co-author of The Internationalists: How a Radical Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World (2017). She earned her BA summa cum laude at Harvard University in 1994 and her JD at Yale Law School, where she was editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal, in 1997.

Scott J. Shapiro is the Charles F. Southmayd Professor of Law and professor of philosophy at Yale Law School. His areas of interest include jurisprudence, international law, constitutional law and theory, criminal law, family law, philosophy of action, and the theory of authority. With Oona Hathaway, he is the co-author of The Internationalists: How a Radical Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World (2017). He is the author of Legality (2011) and editor (with Jules Coleman) of The Oxford Handbook of Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law (2002). He earned BA and PhD degrees in philosophy from Columbia University and a JD from Yale Law School, where he was senior editor of the Yale Law Journal.

Isabel V. Hull is John Stambaugh Professor of History at Cornell. She is the author of A Scrap of Paper: Breaking and Making International Law during the Great War (2014), Absolute Destruction (2004), and Sexuality, State and Civil Society in Germany, 1700–1815 (1996). Her research focuses on political theory, gender/sexuality, and sociopolitical and administrative aspects of Germany during the period 1700-1945.

Jens D. Ohlin, vice dean and professor of law at Cornell Law School, specializes in international law and all aspects of criminal law, including domestic, comparative, and international criminal law. His latest books include Necessity in International Law (2016) (with Larry May), Criminal Law: Doctrine, Application, and Practice (2016), and The Assault on International Law (2015). Ohlin’s research also focuses on the laws of war, in particular the impact of new technology on the regulation of warfare, including remotely piloted drones and the strategy of targeted killings, cyber-warfare, and the role of non-state actors in armed conflicts.

Matthew A. Evangelista, moderator, is President White Professor of History and Political Science and the director of the Judith Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies. His current teaching and research interests are the relationship between gender, nationalism, and war; ethical and legal issues in international affairs (particularly just war theory and international humanitarian law); transnational relations; and separatist movements. Evangelista’s most recent book, Italy from Crisis to Crisis: Political Economy, Security, and Society in the 21st Century (Routledge 2018), seeks to understand Italy’s approach to crises by studying the country in regional, international, and comparative context.


2015-2016: Is Nuclear Power the Answer to Climate Change?

lund debate
Daniel Kammen (left) and Lauri Muranen (right). Annelise Riles (center) moderates.

The 2015-2016 Lund Critical Debate between renewable energy expert Daniel M. Kammen and Finnish nuclear advocate Lauri Muranen was held on May 3, 2016 at Klarman Auditorium. The debate was moderated by Annelise Riles of Cornell Law School. 

Media coverage

Debate: Is Nuclear Power the Answer to Climate Change? (CornellCast video)

Lund debate focuses on nuclear power, climate change (Cornell Chronicle)

Panelists Consider Potential of Nuclear Power as a Solution to Climate Change (Cornell Sun)

Daniel M. Kammen is the Class of 1935 Distinguished Professor of Energy at UC Berkeley and founding director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL). He was named the first Environment and Climate Partnership for the Americas Fellow by then-Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton. A native of Ithaca and a graduate of Cornell, Kammen has authored or co-authored 12 books, has written more than 300 peer-reviewed articles, and has been a contributing or coordinating lead author on several reports of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He is a frequent contributor to or commentator in international news media, including Newsweek, Time, The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Financial Times.

Lauri Muranen heads the World Energy Council, Finland, a chapter of the UN-accredited global energy body that aims to be a leading platform for discussion of the future of the nuclear energy sector. He is a co-founder of the Ecomodernist Society of Finland and is the secretary of the Energy Committee of Finland's Social Democratic political party. Lauri has served as secretary general of the Finnish Energy Council and as a nuclear energy advisor to the Finnish Energy Industries trade association. He is known in Finland for his public engagement with energy issues, debating the merits of nuclear energy with parliamentarians, professors, nuclear industry insiders, renewable energy industry insiders, and anti-nuclear activists at film festivals, bookstore events, and on television.


For previous years, please visit our Lund Critical Debate Series archive in Cornell's eCommons.