Natasha Wheatley is an historian of modern European and international history, with broad interests in intellectual and legal history, Central Europe, and the history of international law. Her current book project recovers Habsburg Central Europe as a crucible for modern legal theory as well as modern states themselves. The Temporal Life of States: Central Europe and the Transformation of Modern Sovereignty tells the unruly history of attempts to conceptualize sovereignty in and for this intricately layered, prodigiously diverse corner of the world. It tracks a recurring set of questions about the juridical birth, death, and survival of states through the creative experiments of Austro-Hungarian constitutional order and into the domain of international law following the empire’s collapse in 1918. Tracing the problem of states-in-time from the mid-19th century through to the mid-20th, it presents an unfamiliar pre-history of the international law of decolonization, as well as new ways of understanding Central Europe in the world.
Her article, “Spectral Legal Personality in Interwar International Law: On New Ways of Not Being a State,” was awarded the Surrency Prize from the American Society for Legal History in 2018. Earlier research on the League of Nations’ mandate system has appeared in Past and Present and elsewhere. A volume titled Power and Time, edited with Dan Edelstein and Stefanos Geroulanos, appeared with the University of Chicago Press in 2020; and a volume edited with Peter Becker, Remaking Central Europe: The League of Nations and the Former Habsburg Lands, was published by Oxford University Press.
Wheatley received her Ph.D. with distinction from Columbia University in 2016. Before joining the Princeton faculty, she was an ARC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Laureate Research Program in International History at the University of Sydney. She has held fellowships in Vienna, Berlin, and Cambridge, and her research has been supported by (among others) the Doris G. Quinn Foundation, the Austrian Agency for International Cooperation in Education and Research, the Central European History Society, and the Australian Academy of the Humanities. She was a Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin for the 2019-20 academic year.
Remaking Central Europe: The League of Nations and the Former Habsburg Lands (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021), co-edited with Peter Becker.
Power and Time: Temporalities in Conflict and the Making of History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2020) (edited together with Dan Edelstein and Stefanos Geroulanos).
“Legal Pluralism as Temporal Pluralism: Historical Rights, Legal Vitalism, and Non-Synchronous Sovereignty,” in Power and Time, ed. Edelstein, Geroulanos, and Wheatley (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2020), 53–79.
“What Can We (She) Know About Sovereignty? Krystyna Marek and the Worldedness of International Law,” in Women’s International Thought: A New History, ed. Patricia Owens and Katharina Rietzler (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021), 327–344.
“Central Europe as Ground Zero of the New International Order,” Slavic Review 78, no. 4 (2019): 900-911.
“Spectral Legal Personality in Interwar International Law: On New Ways of Not Being a State,” Law and History Review 35, no. 3 (2017).
“New Subjects in International Law and Order,” in Internationalisms: A Twentieth-Century History, ed. Patricia Clavin and Glenda Sluga (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), 265–286.
“Mandatory Interpretation: Legal Hermeneutics and the New International Order in Arab and Jewish Petitions to the League of Nations,” Past and Present 227 (2015): 205–248.
“The Mandates System as a Style of Reasoning: International Jurisdiction and the Parceling of Imperial Sovereignty in Petitions from Palestine,” in The Routledge Handbook of the History of the Middle East Mandates, ed. Andrew Arsan and Cyrus Schayegh (Abingdon: Routledge, 2015), 106–122.
Photo credit: Nina Subin