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School of Law

CLSGC Annual Lecture: 'Mare Nostrum: International Law, Spatial Order, and the Mediterranean' by Professor Anne Orford

Event video

31 March 2016

This event is hosted by the Centre for Law and Society in a Global Context (CLSGC) in the School of Law, Queen Mary University of London.

About the event

During the 1930s and 40s, international lawyers began to search for new concepts of spatial order that could replace outmoded forms of colonialism and provide the basis for reorganising space on a global scale. The Monroe doctrine with its approach to regional hemispheric control offered one such model, and fascist expansionist policies, whether in the form of the Italian invasion of Abyssinia or the German policy of Volk ohne Raum, offered another. The international order introduced by the United Nations Charter, embodying principles of sovereign equality, territorial integrity, and self-determination, is often represented as offering a third model – one that resists the old geopolitics of colonialism, regional hegemony, and fascism. Yet contemporary international law continues to be a laboratory for experiments in spatial ordering, some of which share the basic tenets of the colonial and authoritarian geopolitics of the 1930s. Doctrinal innovations aimed at justifying new forms of intervention and controlling the movement of people and goods across borders, combined with the expanded jurisdiction granted to regional actors such as NATO and Frontex, suggest that new modes of ordering are still seen as necessary to enable liberalism to expand and function. The lecture will take the Mediterranean as a key site for grasping the ways in which this new spatial ordering is taking form.

About the speaker

Anne Orford is Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellow, Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor, and Michael D Kirby Chair of International Law at the University of Melbourne. Her publications include International Authority and the Responsibility to Protect (CUP, 2011), Reading Humanitarian Intervention (CUP, 2003), the edited collection International Law and its Others (CUP, 2006), and the co-edited Oxford Handbook of the Theory of International Law (OUP, forthcoming April 2016). She is a co-convenor of the Annual Junior Faculty Forum for International Law, immediate past President of the Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law, and founding Director of the Institute for International Law and the Humanities at Melbourne Law School. She has held numerous visiting positions internationally, including currently as Raoul Wallenberg Visiting Chair in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Lund University (2015-2019). She has been awarded honorary doctorates in law by Lund University and the University of Gothenburg, and the 2013 Woodward Medal for Excellence in Humanities and Social Sciences by the University of Melbourne.

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