Thursday, November 18, 2010

Call for Papers: Towards a Radical International Law

A call for papers has been issued for a workshop on "Towards a Radical International Law," to take place April 29-30, 2011, in London. Here's the call:

Towards a Radical International Law


London, 29-30 April 2011

Organisers: Matthew Craven (SOAS), Susan Marks (LSE), Sundhya Pahuja (Melbourne)

International law is a prominent site for the investiture of hope in the face of global insecurities. Yet, as inequality deepens, violence remains rampant, and the earth’s resources become exhausted, the idioms in which that hope is typically expressed – human rights, development, international crime, and so on – are revealing their complicities and limitations. Some radical rethinking of international law seems urgently needed.

How might that rethinking proceed? Where should attention be focused? What would characterise a radical international law? The purpose of this workshop is to advance debate on these questions. Building on themes that have begun to emerge in international legal literature, the workshop will explore the relation between international law and the production of disadvantage. The term ‘disadvantage’ is used here to encompass asymmetries of wealth, power and status of diverse kinds. It is also used implicitly to signal that the production of advantage may equally be at stake.

Call for Papers

We invite papers which excavate the relation between international law and the production of disadvantage at three levels:

1. Regulatory regimes

In areas such as trade law, human rights, environmental law and development, international legal norms, procedures and institutions exist to redress disadvantage. What are the limitations (contradictions, ironies, aporias, etc.) of these regulatory schemes, and how are we to account for those limitations?

2. ‘Common sense’

Presupposed in international legal regulation is a set of background concepts, categories and ideas concerned with such matters as profit, growth and property. What are the elements of this international legal ‘common sense’ that contribute to the production of advantage and disdavantage, and in what ways do they do so?

3. Theoretical frame

Critical approaches to international law have challenged the prevalent image of a progressive international law, and directed attention to its blindspots and biases. What are the blindspots and biases of those critical approaches themselves, and how might a radical international law overcome them?

We particularly welcome papers from the emerging generation of scholars, and especially those from the global South. We recognise that, for many in this category, participation will depend on funding. We have applied for funds to cover a limited number of travel grants, but the outcome of our applications is not yet known.

The Application Process

Applications should include:

  • an abstract of your proposed paper (400 words maximum);
  • your name and contact information, including email address;
  • your institutional affiliation and whether or not you are a graduate student; and
  • whether you wish to be considered for a travel grant (if available), and whether there exist any alternative sources of funding on which you can potentially draw.

Applications should be submitted via email to Owen Taylor (tayloredowen[at] not later than 14 January 2011.

You will be notified of the outcome of your application by 31 January 2011.