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Racial Valuation of Diseases

Scholars have paid inadequate attention to how racial valuation influences what actors prioritize or deem worthwhile. Today, racial valuation of diseases informs the stark global health inequities seen worldwide. As a concept, racial valuation refers to how racialized societies assign differing values to an individual or group based on their racial designation and the position within the social...

Race as a Technology of Global Economic Governance

This Article offers an account of the role of race in global political economy—in particular, how to understand racialization as part of the process by which institutions of economic hierarchy not only were created but continue to be legitimated. It offers the conception of race as a technology: the product of racialized forms of knowing, which serve the practical goal of maintaining and...

Keynote Speech, UCLA Law Review Symposium 2020: Law and Empire in the American Century

This keynote speech was delivered on January 31, 2020. It argues that dominant narratives of American legal liberalism and global exceptionalism increasingly find themselves under real political and intellectual strain, even among mainstream scholars and practitioners of constitutional law and public international law.

An Un-American Story of the American Empire: Small Places, From the Mississippi to the Indian Ocean

This intervention gestures to histories of American empire from a perspective born outside America’s shores—in other words and other worlds, an un-American story of American empire. Seen from elsewhere, American empire appears both intimate and distant, at once singular and multiple, a vast terrain and a small place. For instance, how can we supplement a story of race and racial capitalism that...

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...

Human Rights on the Border: A Critical Race Analysis of Hernandez v. Mesa

Abstract This Comment presents a historical investigation of the violence that establishes nationstate borders. The analysis deconstructs the U.S.–Mexico border through the 2010 shooting of Sergio Adrián Hernández Güereca, and asks how the framework of human rights may provide justice for this tragedy. In 2015, the Fifth Circuit for the U.S. Court of Appeals heard his parents’ legal case en banc...

The (Un)Holy Shield: Rethinking the Ministerial Exception

Abstract Does the First Amendment’s protection of religious expression mean religious organizations are free to discriminate on the basis of sex, disability, or race in hiring and firing employees? In 2012, the Supreme Court answered this question with a unanimous yes, finding that religious organizations are immune from liability for discriminating against their employees, as long as those...