Essex Public International Law Lecture: The Digitization of Humanitarianism and its Discontents

  • Mon 15 Nov 21

    09:30 - 00:00

  • Online


  • Event speaker

    Professor Fleur Johns Professor in the Faculty of Law & Justice at UNSW Sydney

  • 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 Fleur Johns, Faculty of Law and Justice at UNSW, Sydney and chaired by Dr Emily Jones from the School of Law at the University of Essex.

The Digitization of Humanitarianism and its Discontents

Humanitarianism is becoming digital and this is reconfiguring international legal relations. This is an empirical claim, made on the basis of more than six years examining efforts within the United Nations system to make greater use of data science and observing the material and rhetorical investments being made in digital technology within many international humanitarian organizations. It is also a polemical claim. That is, it involves a problematization of the idea that international legal change tends to proceed along progressive, programmatic pathways of the kind that international lawyers are forever laying. It posits something non-scientifically akin to an epistemological break; international law is already otherwise. This public lecture will develop this empirical-polemical claim by riffing off an essay that Sigmund Freud published in 1930, Civilisation and its Discontents. The talk will proceed in eight parts – introducing eight discontents that arise from digital humanitarianism – improvising loosely and disloyally with the eight parts of Freud’s essay. In the course of this improvisation, the talk will offer a preview of some ideas and arguments developed in a forthcoming monograph #Help: Digital Humanitarianism and the Remaking of International Order to be published by Oxford University Press. 

About the speaker: 

Fleur Johns is Professor in the Faculty of Law & Justice at UNSW Sydney working in international law, legal theory and law and technology. She is also an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and, in 2021-2022, a Visiting Professor at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. She has published four books and has a forthcoming monograph under contract with Oxford University Press entitled #Help: Digital Humanitarianism and the Remaking of International Order. Fleur has held visiting appointments in Europe, the UK, the US and Canada and currently serves on a range of editorial boards, including those of the American Journal of International Law and the journal Technology and Regulation. Fleur is a graduate of Melbourne University (BA, LLB(Hons)) and Harvard University (LLM, SJD; Menzies Scholar; Laylin Prize). In 2020, Fleur was elected to the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. 


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.