Professor Sundhya Pahuja

  • Professor Sundhya Pahuja

ARC Kathleen Fitzpatrick Laureate Professor
Director - Institute for International Law and the Humanities

+61 3 8344 7102 | | Room 0813

Languages spoken: English, French, Hindi, Italian


Sundhya Pahuja is the Director of Melbourne Law School's Institute for International Law and the Humanities (IILAH). Her research focuses on the history, theory and practice of international law in its political, social and economic dimensions. She has a particular interest in international law and the relationship between global North and South, and the practice  of development and international law.

Sundhya is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences (2019). In 2021, she was awarded the Max Planck-Cambridge Prize for International Law.  She has also been awarded the American Society of International Law Certificate of Merit (2012) and the Woodward Medal for Excellence in the Humanities and Social Sciences (2014).  In 2016, she received a Fulbright Senior Scholar award which she took up at the Institute for Global Law and Policy at Harvard Law School.  In 2017 and 2019, Sundhya held a fellowship at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies (STIAS) in South Africa.

Teaching across public international law, international law and development, trade, development and human rights, globalization and law, and legal theory, Sundhya also serves as the Director of Studies of the Melbourne Law School’s Masters in International Law and Masters in Law and Development.  She supervises a number of PhD students in the areas of: international law and legal theory; economics, law and development; development and migration; international law, visual culture and theories of globalisation; environmental rights; transitional justice and international migration law. Sundhya is interested in teaching and pedagogy and speaks regularly on questions of research supervision, mentoring and methodologies. In 2015, together with Luis Eslava, she was the University of Melbourne’s nominee for the Australian Awards for Teaching Excellence. In 2020, Sundhya was awarded the University of Melbourne’s Award for Outstanding Graduate Researcher Supervision.

Sundhya is a senior advisor to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, and has, for a number of years served as core faculty at the Harvard Law School Institute for Global Law and Policy Workshops. In 2014 she served as Director of Studies in Public International Law at the Hague Academy of International Law, and has held a number of visiting Chairs including the Genest Visiting Chair at Osgoode Hall law school in Toronto (2018); Visiting Chair at the National University of Singapore (2019); a concurrent Research Chair in Law at SOAS, University of London (2012-2015); and at the Graduate Institute in Geneva (2022), as well as visiting appointments at Birkbeck, University of London, the London School of Economics (LSE), New York University (NYU) and the University of British Columbia (UBC).

The named lectures Sundhya has been invited to give include the Lauterpacht Memorial Lectures at the University of Cambridge (2018), the Newman Lecture at Yale Law School (2019), and the Douglas McK. Brown Lecture at UBC (2020).  Recent keynote lectures include those at the European Society of International Law, the African Society of International Law and the Australia-New Zealand Society of International Law.

Sundhya's published works include the books: Decolonising International Law: Development, Economic Growth and the Politics of Universality (Cambridge University Press, 2011), International Law and the Cold War (Cambridge University Press, 2019) (co-edited with Matthew Craven and Gerry Simpson), Reading Modern Law: Critical Methodologies and Sovereign Formations (Routledge, 2012) (co-edited with Ruth Buchanan and Stewart Motha), and Events: The Force of International Law (Routledge, 2011) (co-edited with Fleur Johns and Richard Joyce). Sundhya has recently edited the Routledge Handbook on International Law and the Humanities (2021) with Shane Chalmers, and is currently co-editing The Oxford Handbook on International Law and Development (2021)with Ruth Buchanan and Luis Eslava, and volume 12 of the multi volume Cambridge History of International Law, on International Law during the Cold War (2022) with Simpson and Craven.

Her current projects include: Lawful Interregnum a monograph arising from an Australian Research Council funded project on International Law and the Cold War (with Gerry Simpson (LSE) and Matthew Craven (SOAS)), Corporations and International Law, a large project on the history of the corporation in international law from the early modern period to the present day, and The Populist Challenge to International Law, in collaboration with Richard Joyce and Andrew Benjamin (Monash), Rose Parfitt (Kent) and James Martel (San Francisco State University) funded by the Australian Research Council in 2020.

For several years, Sundhya chaired the Committee of Management at the Darebin Community Legal Centre in Melbourne. Before entering academia, Sundhya practiced as a commercial lawyer, and worked as a research associate in international law and human rights at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence.


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