11:00 - 12:00
Dr Ntina Tzouvala
Lectures, talks and seminars
Public International Law Lecture
Law, School of
Please join us for the latest instalment of the Essex Public International Law Lecture Series.
The "standard of civilisation" is often considered a historically important but currently irrelevant concept of international law. In this talk, I suggest that this optimistic narrative is misguided. I suggest that "civilisation" has never been a unitary concept subject to a specific definition. Rather, I approach it as the encapsulation of a much more fundamental and enduring argumentative pattern, one that constantly oscillates between two logics. One the one hand, a certain 'logic of improvement' promises equal rights and duties under international law provided that non-Western political communities transform themselves according to the changing imperatives of capitalism modernity. On the other, an opposing 'logic of biology' perpetually defers this promise of equal inclusion based on ideas of unbridgeable difference. Revisiting the indeterminacy thesis in international law, I argue that international law's constant oscillation between these two logics is reflective of the fact that the discipline reflects capitalism's tendency for uneven and combined development without being able to authoritatively resolve it.
Ntina joined the ANU College of Law as a Senior Lecturer in July 2020. Prior to this appointment she was an ARC Laureate Postdoctoral Fellow at Melbourne Law School. She obtained her PhD from Durham Law School (UK) in 2016 where she was also a Lecturer.
Her work focuses on the political economy, history and theory of international law. She is especially interested in historical materialism, deconstruction, feminist and queer legal theory. Her first monograph, Capitalism as Civilisation: A History of International Law, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2020.
Ntina is a member of the editorial collective of the Third World Approaches to International Law Review. In early 2020, she was appointed Senior Advisor to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.
The Essex Public International Law lecture series is founded, hosted and co-chaired by Dr Meagan Wong and Dr Emily Jones based in the School of Law. This is a weekly lecture series featuring judges of international courts and tribunals, leading academics, and practitioners of international law from governmental service, international organizations, and private practice from across the globe. The series prides itself on building on two important intellectual traditions of international law: formalism and international legal practice, and international legal theory including postcolonial and feminist perspectives.
We welcome all students, academics, practitioners and legal advisors to join us.
You can register here for the event which will be held on zoom.
Dr Emily Jones is an international lawyer whose interdisciplinary work combines theory and practice. Her work cuts across: gender and international law; international environmental law; science, technology and international law; posthuman legal theory; gender and conflict; and political economy, imperialism and international law. Within these areas her current work focuses on the rights of nature, military technologies (including autonomous weapons systems and human enhancement technologies) and the regulation of deep-sea mining and of greenhouse gas removal technologies. Emily’s work has been published in journals such as the Australian Feminist Law Journal, London Review of International Law, Radical Philosophy, Feminist Legal Studies and Feminist Review.
Dr Meagan Wong is a Lecturer in Law at the School of Law, University of Essex, where she is the Director of the LLM in International Law degree. She is a generalist public international lawyer and has advised States on a broad set of issues of international law, including the law of treaties, jurisdiction, international institutional law, and the relationship between international law and domestic law. She has published on canonical aspects of generalist public international law and is the author of a forthcoming monograph with Cambridge University Press, titled ‘Responsibility of States and Individuals: Aggression at the International Criminal Court.