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. The speech then draws from Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) to articulate a competing account of the meaning of American power in the twentieth century, grounded in histories of race and empire. It concludes by reflecting on the current challenges to the established American global legal vision and the potential spaces that may now exist for an alternative politics of transnational solidarity.

About the Author

Aziz Rana is the Richard and Lois Cole Professor of Law at Cornell Law School.