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Unsettling the Border

When scholars and lawmakers ask who should be allowed to cross borders, under what circumstances, on what ground, they often leave unexamined the historical formation of the border itself. National borders are taken for granted as the backdrop against which normative debates unfold. This Article intervenes in contemporary debates about border crossing by bringing the border itself into the frame...

Genres of Universalism: Reading Race Into International Law, With Help From Sylvia Wynter

Taking note of the relatively limited accounts of race in contemporary international legal doctrine, this Article posits a thought experiment: What would international legal theorizing look like not from the place of the metropole or the colony, but rather from the journey of the enslaved, from the barracoon to the hold of the slave ship to the plantation?

“Unwhitening the World”: Rethinking Race and International Law

International law was invented in 1789 when Jeremy Bentham introduced the term to replace the outmoded “Law of Nations.” Since then, international lawyers have spent a lot of time thinking about whether international law is in fact law, and little or no time considering how international law is international, or what international actually means. In this Article, I want to suggest that, with the...

Writing Race and Identity in a Global Context: What CRT and TWAIL Can Learn From Each Other

This Article argues that issues of race and identity have so far been underemphasized, understudied, and undertheorized in mainstream international law. To address this major gap, this Article argues that there is an opportunity for learning, sharing, and collaboration between Critical Race Theorists (CRT) and scholars of Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL).

Race and Empire: Legal Theory Within, Through, and Across National Borders

Mainstream and official analysis casts the international system and its hegemonic actors in the role of humanitarian responders to a Libyan crisis not of their making. Instead, we draw attention to the ways in which the racial framing of Libya—and its subordination to imperial prerogatives—proved critical to international governance regimes for managing the country—and the bodies and territory...

Deploying Race, Employing Force: ‘African Mercenaries’ and the 2011 NATO Intervention in Libya

This Article reflects on the ongoing synergies between international law, race, and empire, as they are articulated in the regulation of mercenarism. It does so by examining the role of the racialized and gendered narratives about “African mercenaries” in the context of the UN Security Council authorization of the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya.