Call for Papers: South of International Law

Griffith Law Review – Law Theory Society invites submissions for its symposium, South of International Law.
Symposium Editors – Sundhya Pahuja and Shaun McVeigh.
Deadline for Manuscripts – January 2012.
How might a concept of the ‘South’ be understood in terms of a pattern of (international) legal relations?
“The South” is commonly understood as a political rather than a purely geographical designation, broadly to indicate the “have-nots” in a world riven with material inequalities. The term is meant to overcome the hierarchical implications of other designations, and attempts not to accept the epistemological privileges granted by concepts such as “developing” and “developed.”

Critics of contemporary international legal orders have pointed out that the grid of international law has locked in a particular vision and distribution of political and economic relations that perpetuates the history of the colonisation of the South. It is from here that many of the North-South and South-South debates gain their legal focus. In these accounts the South emerges as a domain in constant need of recuperation of and by the laws, politics, economies, and cultures of the North. At the same time South-South relations have emerged in resistance and relation to the dynamics of North-South relations.

However, if this rendering of accounts of imperial and post-colonial law is let rest a while, there are other patterns of law that can be understood to shape the South. These laws, articulated for example, in terms of indigenous jurisprudences or the commons, pattern the South according to different cosmologies, laws of relationship, responsibilities, and protocols of engagement. Respond to these laws – as many contemporary debates that link the places, peoples, and histories of the South do – and a different patterning of legal relations emerge.

The aim of this symposium is to develop the repertoires of thinking through the laws that position the South in the domains of international.