International Law and Political Engagement (ILPE) series: In Conversation with Prof Umut Özsu: 'On History, Theory, and International Law'


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A series of conversations on international legal scholarship, political engagement and the transformative potential of academia. Each conversation is chaired by Francisco José Quintana and Marina Veličković and centres around a theme, concept or a method and their relationship to political movements, struggles and margins from which they have emerged and within (and for) which they have emancipatory potential. This conversation will explore the significance, possibilities, and limits of researching international law from a “history and theory” approach. The distinctiveness of international legal analysis to understand crucial developments from decolonization to neoliberalism, and the political nature and economic foundations of legal form and legal formalism will serve as our starting points. The event will last one hour. Marina and Francisco will lead the conversation for ~40 minutes after which they will pass the pleasure and responsibility on to the audience. Umut Özsu is Associate Professor at the Department of Law and Legal Studies at Carleton University. He is a scholar of public international law, the history and theory of international law, and Marxist critiques of law, rights, and the state. He is the author of Formalizing Displacement: International Law and Population Transfers (Oxford University Press, 2015), and is currently finalizing Completing Humanity: The International Law of Decolonization, 1960–82 (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming). He is also co-editor of the Research Handbook on Law and Marxism (Edward Elgar, forthcoming) and The Extraterritoriality of Law: History, Theory, Politics (Routledge, 2019), as well as several journal symposia.

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