Professor Sundhya Pahuja

  • Professor Sundhya Pahuja

Director - Institute for International Law and the Humanities
Director of Studies, International Law
Director of Studies, Law and Development
Co-Director of Studies, Public and International Law

+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 both its political and economic dimensions. She has a particular interest in international law and the relationship between North and South, and the practice, and praxis, of development and international law.  Sundhya has been awarded the American Society of International Law Certificate of Merit (2012), the Woodward Medal for Excellence in the Humanities and Social Sciences (2014) and a Fulbright Senior Scholar award which she took up in 2016 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, and in 2018, held the Genest Visiting Chair at Osgoode Hall law school in Toronto. Sundhya was invited to give the 2018 Lauterpacht Lectures at the University of Cambridge, the 2019 Newman Lecture at Yale Law School and the Douglas McK. Brown Lecture at UBC in 2020.  In 2019, she was made a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences.

From 2012 – 2015, Sundhya concurrently held a Research Chair in Law at SOAS, University of London, and in 2014, served as Director of Studies in Public International Law at the Hague Academy of International Law. She has held visiting appointments at the LSE, NYU and UBC, currently serves as core faculty at the Harvard Law School Institute for Global Law and Policy Workshop, as Affiliate Faculty of the European Collaborative Doctoral Programme in Globalisation and Legal Theory, and holds Visiting Chairs at Birkbeck and SOAS.

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, 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 and Matthew Craven) Invisible Leviathans, 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.

Sundhya was a founding member of the Legal Theory Interest group of the European Society of International Law, and the trilingual network Global Justice/Injustice with Emmanuel Jouannet and Albane Geslin (Sciences Po).  She  serves on the editorial board of the Australian Feminist Law Journal, and of the editorial advisory board of several journals including Humanity, the Melbourne Journal of International Law, the Law, Social Justice and Global Development Journal (LGD, the City University of Hong Kong Law Review, the Journal of the History of International Law, and the London Review of International Law.

Sundhya teaches across public international law, international law and development, trade, development and human rights, globalization and law, and legal theory, and serves as the Director of Studies in the Melbourne Law Masters in Public International Law and Law and Development, and as co-director of studies in Public and International Law.

Sundhya is interested in questions of pedagogy and speaks regularly on questions of research supervision 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 supervises doctoral students in the areas; of international law and legal theory; heterodox economics, law and development; development and migration; international law, visual culture and theories of globalisation; environmental rights and international migration law. She welcomes research proposals from students interested in critical and theoretical approaches to topics within any of her areas of research interest.

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 EUI in Florence.


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