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, 2018, 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.
Please email short proposals/abstracts/inquires by 31 October 2018 to: iL.Lit.firstname.lastname@example.org We hope to have some funds to assist scholars from the Global South with travel costs.
Workshop: New York City, December 14/15, 2018
Abstracts/proposals due by October 31, 2018
Organizers: Joseph Slaughter, Columbia University; Vasuki Nesiah, New York University, Gerry Simpson, London School of Economics; Christopher Gevers, University of KwaZulu-Natal