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Beyond Liberal Epistemologies in International Law: An Invitation for Exchange and Reflection on International Legal Epistemologies for Our Contemporary Moment


janvier 2022


Prof. Ratna Kapur, Queen Mary University of London Dr. Luis Eslava, Reader in Kent Law School 2 autres intervenant.e.s résidant à l'étranger (personnes à déterminer)


In the recent years, international law and international legal scholarship has been undertaking epistemological challenges and transformations. The liberal model of international law – dominant, leading, and building upon the western domestic model of law – has been under attack. Feminists, queer, and gender scholars challenge compellingly liberal modes of reasoning that are premised upon international law's neutrality, objectivity, universality. TWAIL and the Global South have claimed not only inclusion, but a radical revisiting of the knowledge and scientific system that supported the liberal model of an international rule of law. China engages creatively with international law and transforms salient features of the international legal system from within, as most recently evidenced in China's engagement with the WTO dispute settlement system. Our workshop wishes to take up with these challenges precisely from an epistemological standpoint, as an invitation to revisit our modes of reasoning in international law. We see liberalism not only as a political and legal tradition, but also as a scientific and epistemological one, that pervades a wide range of how we think and reason in a wide array of intellectual activities – and especially international law. Format of the workshop: Noting these epistemological challenges, our workshop wishes to bring in new voices in international legal scholarship. We would like to convene a workshop of a small format and invite three leading academics to reflect and present on how they integrate and conceive the role of epistemology in their advancing other epistemological accounts of international law. What is distinctive in those other accounts, is that they revisit and undercut the assumption of international law being based on the western domestic analogy, as well as western liberal conceptions on human nature and the human subject. We plan to arrange these alternative accounts along three axes: 1) Global South and queer epistemologies for different conceptualizations of the human subject and the form of law – Prof. Ratna Kapur (Professor in Queen Mary University of London). 2) China's model of development and international law – Dr. Luis Eslava (Reader in Kent Law School) 3) New epistemologies of the environment and climate change – Professor (under consideration) – Rationale: to take up with relational epistemologies of human nature as being connected with the environment, as moving beyond the dominant model of the Anthropocene to more human-nature intimately interconnected models - (Dr. Julia Dehm, Lecturer at the university of La Trobe in Australia is writing and reflecting on such issues) We would like to complement these leading presentations of the invited leading academics with an open call for proposals from young scholars and PhD Candidates. We would also like to engage with Swiss PhD candidates beyond Geneva and to see if these questions resonate and form part of their investigation and reflection when researching on international law amid the 2021 contemporary challenges of the world. We would aim for a total number of participants (both leading academics and young scholars) of around 15-20, so that we can have intense and meaningful exchanges and reflections in a small format and interactive group. The workshop is intended for a one-day workshop, adopting a hybrid form integrating internet and in-person meetings (depending on the covid situation). This workshop consists in a roundtable with invited panel members and a round of paper discussion and review.


Graduate Institute Genève



Délai d'inscription 31.01.2022
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