Essex Public International Law Lecture: Gender and the Lost Private Side of International Law

  • Mon 26 Apr 21

    16:00 - 17:00

  • Online


  • Event speaker

    Professor Karen Knop, Law, University of Toronto

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars
    Public International Law Lecture

  • Event organiser

    Essex Law School

Please join us for the latest instalment of the Essex Public International Law Lecture Series.

The Essex Public International Law Lecture Series welcomes you to to the latest instalment presented by Professor Karen Knop, University of Toronto and chaired by Dr Emily Jones from the School of Law at the University of Essex.

Gender and the Lost Private Side of International Law

In my lecture, I will argue that recuperating private international law as a lost side of international law can open up counter-disciplinary research on gender in the history of international law in at least three ways.

First, international lawyers have yet to participate in the ‘metropolitan turn’ among historians of empire: the study of empire’s effects on the metropole as opposed to the colonies. Private international law has the potential to make visible the effects of colonial, as well as foreign, law on gender relations and national identity at home. Second, feminists criticize international law as skewed by its development through grand episodes construed as international ‘crises’. The private side of international law offers historical terrain on which to examine transnational everyday life in the imperial centre, and the capacity of individuals’ cross-border legal arrangements to cumulatively re-shape their state. Third, feminist perspectives might illuminate private international law alternatives to core concepts of public international law and their contemporary resonance, specifically, its counterparts to nationality and to obligation between states. 


Karen Knop is Professor of Law at the University of Toronto and the 2020-2021 Jane and Aatos Erkko Visiting Professor in Studies on Contemporary Society at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki.  She has served as Editor of the University of Toronto Law Journal and as Associate Dean for Research.

Professor Knop’s scholarship is concerned with foundational concepts in public international law from the perspective of inequalities of gender, culture and other forms of difference, most recently the urban/rural divide.  In current work, she develops alternative approaches to these issues by examining them critically through the fields of private international law and foreign relations law. 

Her books include the award-winning Diversity and Self-Determination in International Law (Cambridge UP) and, as editor, Gender and Human Rights (Oxford UP).  She delivered a course at the Hague Academy of International Law in 2020.


About the Essex Public International Law Lecture Series

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.

How to register

You can register here for the event which will be held on zoom.

For further information

Please contact Dr Meagan Wong, meagan.wong@essex.ac.uk and Dr Emily Jones, e.jones@essex.ac.uk.