Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law Logo Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law

You are here: Institute People Academic Staff et al. Somos, Mark

Mark Somos

BA, MPhil (Cantab.), LLM (Sussex), AM, PhD (Harv.), PhD (Lugd.Bat.), FRHistS. Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Heisenberg Position

Academic Career:

2019: Winner of a Heisenberg Position

Since 2012: Senior Visiting Research Fellow, Sussex Law School, UK

01-03/2017: Balsdon Senior Fellow. British School at Rome, Italy

2016: Lecturer in Political Science. Yale University, USA

2015-2016: Visiting Scholar. Department of Government, Harvard University, USA

2014-2015: Lecturer on Leadership Studies. Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service and the Department of Political Science, Tufts University, USA

2014-15: Research Fellow. Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University, USA

2014-2015: Affiliated Scholar, Institutions of Democracy and National Security programs. The Tobin Project, USA

2012-2014: Research Director. Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University, USA

2012-2014: Lecturer on Law. Harvard University, USA

2011-2012: Postdoctoral Research Fellow. Rechtskulturen, Research Network Recht im Kontext, Forum Transregionale Studien, at Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin and Humboldt-Universität, Juristische Fakultät, Berlin, Germany

2008-2011: Leverhulme Early Career Fellow. Sussex Centre for Intellectual History. Brighton, UK



2014: Ph.D in Law, Leiden University, The Netherlands

2012: LL.M in Law and International Security (Distinction), University of Sussex, UK

2007: Ph.D in Political Science, Harvard University, USA

2006: A.M. in Government and Social Policy, Harvard University, USA

2000: M.Phil., Political Thought and Intellectual History, University of Cambridge, UK

1999: B.A. (Honours) in History (First Class), University of Cambridge, UK

Recent Publications

  • Vitoria, Suárez, and Grotius: James Brown Scott’s Enduring Revival. In: Grotiana 41:1, 137-162 (2020), with Joshua Smeltzer. download
  • George Ticknor in Gottingen: An Impact of German Comparative Constitutional Thought on American Education, 1816-1836. In: Transatlantic Encounters in History of Education, Fanny Isensee, Andreas Oberdorf and Daniel Topper (eds.), Routledge, New York 2020, 120-134. download
  • Open and Closed Seas: The Grotius-Selden Dialogue at the Heart of Liberal Imperialism. In: Empire and Legal Thought: Ideas and Institutions from Antiquity to Modernity. Brill, Leiden 2020, 322-361. download
  • Christianity, Global Environmental Protection, and Animal Law. In: Christianity and Global Law. Routledge, Abingdon 2020, 365-383 (with Anne Peters). download
  • John Selden. In: Encyclopedia of the Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy. Springer, Dordrecht 2019. download
  • The Unseen History of International Law: A Census Bibliography of Hugo Grotius’s De iure belli ac pacis. In: Grotiana 40, 173-179 (2019). download
  • John Selden. In: Encyclopedia of the Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy, Mortimer N.S. Sellers (ed.). Springer, Dordrecht 2020, 1-7. download
  • The Embodiment of Anatomical Education. In: Thinking 3D, Daryl Green (ed.). Bodleian Library, Oxford 2019, 170-175.
  • The New Architecture of Justice: Dan Kiley's Design for the Nuremberg Trials. In: Journal of the History of International Law 21:1, 104-138 (2019) (with Morgan Gostwyck-Lewis). download
  • American States of Nature: The Origins of Independence, 1761-1775. Oxford University Press, New York, 2019, 424 p. website
  • Vesalius Annotations and the Rise of Early Modern Medicine. In: The Lancet 393, 738-739 (2019) (with Daniel Margocsy and Stephen Joffe). download
  • Synecdochic Representation: How the History of Political Thought can Fill Gaps in Political Theory. In: Politics. Rivista di Studi Politici 9, 1-16 (2018). download
  • The Urgent, the Plausible and the Irreparable: The Significance of Lowering ICJ Thresholds for Provisional Measures. In: Völkerrechtsblog. Max-Planck-Institut für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht, Heidelberg 2018 (with Tom Sparks). download
  • Sex, Religion and a Singular Anatomist. In: Nature 560:7718, 304-305 (2018) (with Daniel Margocsy and Stephen N. Joffe). download
  • The Fabrica in Pécs. In: Per Aspera Ad Astra V, 124-131 (2018) (with Daniel Margocsy and Stephen N. Joffe). download
  • The Fabrica of Andreas Vesalius: A Worldwide Descriptive Census, Ownership, and Annotations of the 1543 and 1555 Edition. Brill, Leiden, 2018, 518 p. (with Daniel Margocsy and Stephen Joffe) download
  • Boston in the State of Nature, 1761-1765: The Birth of an American Constitutional Trope. In: Jus Gentium: Journal of International Legal History 3:1, 63-113 (2018). download


27 Jan 2020

American States of Nature: The Origins of Independence, 1761-1775

Seminar at the Max Planck Institute for Legal History, Frankfurt website

23 Jan 2020

American States of Nature: Rights, Race, and the Environment in the US Constitution

Baden-Württemberg Seminar, Heidelberg Center for American Studies


08 Nov 2019

The census method

National Museum, Copenhagen


15 Oct 2019

Thomas Hollis at Harvard: adaptive networking and translating liberty

Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel


30 Aug 2019

Restarting eternity: the revolutionary construction of American times immemorial

University of Cambridge


27 Jun 2019

American states of nature: the origins of independence

American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia website

19 Jun 2019

American States of Nature: The Origins of Independence

University of Oxford, Faculty of Law website

23 May 2019

American States of Nature: book presentation

Stone Library, Adams National Historical Park website

22 May 2019

American States of Nature: book presentation

Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston website

01 May 2019

The state of nature and the American Revolution: book presentation

St Andrews Institute of Intellectual History

St Andrews


30 Apr 2019

Company-states, sanctions and secession: expansive and divisible sovereignty in law and history

Sovereignty: A Global Perspective. St Andrews Institute of Legal and Constitutional Research programme

25 Apr 2019

American States of Nature: book presentation

Lauterpacht Centre for International Law


31 Jan 2019

Sanctions, state companies and secession: histories and laws of economic sovereignty



14 Dec 2018

Plausibility of rights and provisional measures

with Tom Sparks

Benevento, Italy


15 Nov 2018

Suárez v Grotius: James Brown Scott’s enduring revival

University of Leuven

12 Oct 2018

Houses without cities: switching between republican and anti-political self-sufficiency

University of Heidelberg

31 Jul 2018

A Jewish common law for the world: John Selden’s pursuit of international law

Fürth-Nürnberg, Jewish Museum of Franconia

27 Jun 2018

The travels of Grotius’ Mare liberum

Wolfenbüttel, Herzog August Library

12 Jun 2018

Geometry, skepticism, and standards of legal fiction: Dutch-British conceptualisations of territorial sovereignty

University of St Andrews

24 May 2018

Second Founders in Göttingen: the origins of modern German-American legal education

University of Münster

24 Mar 2018

Open and closed seas: the Grotius-Selden dialogue at the heart of liberal imperialism

University of Cambridge