The Global City Project is divided into four individual PhD studies, examining the past and the present of the global city. Together, they will address a number of related themes: diversity, migration and trade (including the slave trade); political participation and citizenship; the role of law, fundamental rights and duties as a possible source of trust in the global city of the past and present; and, the role and position of the global city in the international (legal) order of the past and present.

Contemporary approaches

Two PhD studies focus on the present of the global city, in particular on how actors from within the city engage with the ideas of international human rights law. More than anywhere, it is within the global cities that the social challenges of globalisation become amplified. These challenges can then be addressed through the language of human rights. The two studies comprise two complementary research approaches. One is critically exploring concrete human rights practices within several cities. This is studied within the context of cities being hubs of migration. The other approach is looking at how municipal governments and urban civil society movements engage in transnational forums where human rights are discussed. In particular, the focus is on their contribution to the transnational debates concerning the human right to adequate housing.

Historical approaches

Two PhD studies address the past of the global city. Both of these studies include the holdings at the Ets Haim-Montezinos library and the Studia Rosenthaliana. These resources supply the foundation for situating the legal notions and ideas emerging among the seventeenth-century Amsterdam Sephardic community. The first research project revolves around the citizenship status of (Portuguese) Jews in Amsterdam in the early seventeenth century. Since Jews were not welcomed unanimously in all cities of the Dutch Republic, this stirred much debate, such that the respective city councils had to draft legal treatises to stipulate rules and regulations on their behalf, while at the same time informal participation into society took place. The second research project deals with Nação International law, i.e. the philosophy of law and practices of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews of Amsterdam, throughout their international trade network. This research focuses primarily on their involvement in slave trading between the Western Europe, Western Africa, and across the Atlantic.

The Global City Project started in September 2016 and will run until the end of 2020.