This blog piece is a reflection on the core arguments from Professor Gonzalez’s lecture. Notably, Professor Gonzalez explored the relationship between environmental degradation and human economic activity. Within this general theme, Professor Gonzalez discussed the link between human economic activity, climate change, capitalism, colonialism and its aftermath, and modernity. This piece will also evaluate Professor Gonzalez’s thoughts on how the actions adopted to combat climate change marginalise the Global South and perpetuate further exploitation of fragile ecosystems across the world. Finally, this piece will outline and analyse Professor Gonzalez’s arguments on the current technological advancements to address climate change and their impact in the Global South.
February 15, 2020
This post-lecture reflection captures critical discussions from the 6th guest lecture of the Academic Forum delivered by Professor Mohsen al Attar, Dean of the University of West Indies Law School. The theme of the guest lecture was 'Decolonisation of International Economic Law'. Focusing on five tenets - capitalism, epistemology/knowledge, colonialism, international law and political economy – which Professor Mohsen used as a frame to foreground his analysis, this piece, explores the prospects and challenges of decolonising International Economic Law. In keeping with the Academic Forum's focus, it is argued that uncritical/Eurocentric approaches to teaching IEL in African universities hamper efforts to decolonise our epistemologies. In exploring alternate ways to re-frame, the global economic order, this piece also highlights the idea of 'social justice' as a valuable metric of development, i.e. socio-economic equity that raises the standard of living to the greatest extent relative to each of our circumstances.
I propose that it is our current and future battles that will determine the meaning and impact of decolonisation in Africa and beyond. As things stand now, the dead are certainly not safe. Let me elaborate on this claim drawing from Professor Taylor’s work: his piece draws from the classics of Third Worldist Marxism and dependency theory to provide a sober account of Africa’s nominally post-colonial present.
The question of whether decolonisation stalled in the Global South has been addressed in some form for as long as the concept of decolonisation has been present in our world. As many educational institutions across the world, and especially in the Global North, begin to include ‘decolonising’ in their knowledge transmission agendas, connecting this question with the past, present and future of all aspects of the colonial project has never been more important. This short essay argues firstly that the question itself relies on certain presumptions that should be revisited. Secondly, the essay argues that the answer itself is complex and depends on where our gaze primarily lies – state or people.
In this symposium, our contributors react to Prof Taylor’s paper by interrogating embedded structures of knowledge generation and creation, economic development in Latin America, international law, disadvantageous investment agreements, and continental integration. In particular, the essays explore how these arrangements reshape traditional centre-periphery relations.
In this essay, I argue for centering systemic racism in the study of international law. This is neither an original method nor argument when applied to legal education. Teaching law with a focus on context—systemic racism for example—has a long tradition.
The three issues that I discussed here apropos teaching and researching international law are part of much bigger problems in Asia and Africa: statehood, sovereignty, resource management, knowledge production, to name a few. I believe, more specific examples of how these persistent problems shape (and also fail to shape) teaching and researching international law in these regions will emerge in course of this symposium.
To the extent that measures taken to combat Covid-19 intersect with existing trade and investment obligations for countries in the global south, and reveals the embedded tensions, we wonder whether regional governance can or should serve as a framework to create equitable and just South-South cooperation, especially in times of crises. Regional and sub-regional organisations, if operationalised effectively, have the capabilities to pool together the financial, human, and intellectual resources that will be needed to identify interventions and responses to measures that threaten the foundations of solidarity, self-reliance and equality underpinning South-South relations.
Critical perspectives can be both distinct from and form part of the broadly defined ‘socio-legal’ approach to social inquiry. To adopt a critical perspective is to commit to the project of demystifying and disrupting dominant narratives, interpretations and ways of both knowing and understanding legal phenomena. It represents a quest for truth and offers alternative ways of seeing the world around us. As such, critical perspectives encompass doctrinal, empirical and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of law. In short, it is the purpose of critical approaches to challenge and disrupt that which has been taken to be a ‘given’ in mainstream discourses and narratives