Literature and International law at the Edge, NYC, December 14-15, 2018

Literature and
International Law at the Edge
New York City,
December 14/15, 2018
due by October 31, 2018

The past decade has seen a steady increase in interdisciplinary scholarship
interested in the relationships between literature and international law. Much
of this scholarship has remained deeply rooted in the home disciplines of the
scholars, who not only operate with the prevailing assumptions and
methodologies of those disciplines, but also tend to treat the other
disciplines as stable and unproblematic. Moreover, while claiming to tell a
global history, that scholarship largely repeats the Eurocentric bias that has
historically characterized the fields of comparative literature and
international law. In fact, much of the new scholarship on comparative
literature and international law not only fails to take account of imperialism
and its histories in the formation of disciplinary knowledge, it also tends to
marginalize events and thinkers at the colonial and global edges, ignoring
their roles as actors and agents of literary and legal world-making. In doing
so, this new scholarship seems to be replicating the traditional prejudices of
its contributing disciplines.
Through a series of events to
be held in 2018 and 2019 (in, amongst other places, New York, London and
Nairobi) this project aims to explore the imbrications of literature and
international law at the edges. The project seeks to challenge many
of the basic disciplinary blindnesses and Eurocentric assumptions that have
characterized the emerging conversation by putting the Global South at the
center of our interdisciplinary inquiry.
For a day-long
workshop/conference, to be held in New York City on December 14/15,
, we are seeking contributions that:
       Explore interdisciplinary interfaces among literary,
historical, and legal studies, and from positions of geo-historical
marginalization across the Global South.
       Address the intersections between particular texts of
“world literature” and Third World Approaches to International Law.
       Map the theoretical and historical relationships
between comparative literature and international law as world-making,
world-imagining, and world-governing regimes.
       Trace the historical global flows of knowledge at the
“margins” of world literary and legal space that have been overlooked in the
canonical and narrow focus of the separate disciplines, as well as new flows of
global knowledge among the disciplines and across (and about) the Global South.
       Consider how the basic assumptions and doctrines of
international law and comparative literature (e.g., sovereignty,
self-determination, territoriality, equality of states, ethno-cultural
nationalism, national languages, and rights to natural and cultural resources)
were worked out historically in the Global South.
hope to have some funds to assist scholars from the Global South with travel
Organizers: Joseph
Columbia UniversityVasuki
New York UniversityGerry
London School of EconomicsChristopher
University of KwaZulu-Natal

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