IILAH Podcast



IILAH Podcast

The IILAH podcast is the online home of lectures and conversations hosted by the Institute for International Law and the Humanities at Melbourne Law School. You can listen to to the podcast here, subscribe to the SoundCloud website or on your phone via the SoundCloud app, Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher.



Available episodes

  • Valeria Vazquez Guevara and Eliana Cusato: Truth: facts and post-conflict state-building (Seminar)

    The Amsterdam Center for International Law and IILAH present Unpacking Transitional Justice: International Law, Memory, and Power, convened by Dr Eliana Cusato (ACIL) and Valeria Vázquez Guevara (MLS). The aim of the Series is to bring together scholars from around the world employing interdisciplinary and critical approaches to the study of transitional justice and international law, broadly understood.

    For the first seminar of the series, our convenors, Valeria Vazquez Guevara and Dr Eliana Cusato, provide a series introduction with a discussion on the role of international in truth commissions and post-conflict state-building, in the aftermath of the 1980s-1990s civil wars of El Salvador (1980-1992), Liberia (1989-1996) and Sierra Leone (1991-2002). Professor Sundhya Pahuja provides the series opening. A selection of the presentation slides displayed at the seminar are available for context here:

    Valeria Vazquez Guevara is a doctoral candidate at the Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne. Dr Eliana Cusato is Marie Skłodowska Curie postdoctoral fellow at the Amsterdam Center for International Law, University of Amsterdam.

  • Stewart Motha: Academic Podcasting (Skills Circle)

    In this episode, Dr Stewart Motha (Birkbeck, University of London) discusses how to run a successful academic podcast with doctoral students.

    Stewart’s research is on sovereignty, violence, human and post-human archives. He has recently published articles on international law and the humanities, and on the autonomy and heteronomy of law. He runs a podcast called Countersign, which discuss books, films, and other materials which consider new perspectives on law, difference, and being in common.

  • Illan Wall: Academic Blogging (Skills Circle)

    In this episode, Dr Illan Wall (University of Warwick) discusses the ins and outs of setting up and running a successful academic blog with students.

    Illan works on questions of protest, public order and critical legal theory. He has published on critical legal theory, affective dynamics of policing, theories of constituent power, the Arab Spring, protest and transitional justice in Colombia, theories of human rights and revolt, and new Andean constitutional apparatuses.

  • Balakrishnan Rajagopal: the Right to Adequate Housing (Interview)

    Across the world today, more than one billion people live in substandard housing and informal settlements. Every year, several million people lose their homes as a consequence of development projects, conflicts, natural disasters or the climate crisis. Many of them are subjected to forced evictions.

    To understand and address these issues, in 2000, the United Nations (UN) Commission on Human Rights established the role of Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing.

    In this Interview, Professor Sundhya Pahuja (University of Melbourne) and Dr Luis Eslava (Kent Law School) talk with Professor Balakrishnan Rajagopal (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) on his recent appointment to that role.

    Topics they cover include, what is the role of Special Rapporteur, and how are its functions carried out? What is understood to be a ‘right to housing’, and what are the main challenges that communities face in accessing such rights?

    This interview addresses these questions and explores the various challenges and approaches to international law and development over the last 20 years.

    Balakrishnan Rajagopal (USA) is Professor of Law and Development at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). A lawyer by training, he is an expert on many areas of human rights, including economic, social and cultural rights, the UN system, and the human rights challenges posed by development activities. He has conducted over 20 years of research on social movements and human rights advocacy around the world focusing in particular, on land and property rights, evictions and displacement.

    A more extensive profile of Balakrishnan is available on the United Nations website.

  • Rahul Rao: Out Of Time: The Queer Politics Of Postcoloniality (Book Discussion)

    Join Dr. Ntina Tzouvala (ANU) and Danish Sheikh (MLS) in conversation with Dr. Rahul Rao (SOAS), the author of 'Out of Time: The Queer Politics of Postcoloniality'.

    In this book, Rahul explores the encounters and entanglements across geopolitical divides that produce and contest contemporary queerphobias. Intervening in a queer theoretical literature on temporality, the book argues that time and space matter differently in the queer politics of postcolonial countries. By employing an intersectional analysis and drawing on a range of sources, Rahul offers an original interpretation of why queerness mutates to become a metonym for categories such as nationality, religiosity, race, class, and caste.

    Rahul Rao is Senior Lecturer in Politics at SOAS University of London and a member of the Radical Philosophy collective; Ntina Tzouvala is a Senior Lecturer at the ANU College of Law; Danish Sheikh is a PhD Candidate at Melbourne Law School and a Member of IILAH.

  • Tom Randall and Cait Storr: Writing Book Proposals Part II (Skills Circle)

    For Part II of Writing Book Proposals, Ben Golder (UNSW Law School) and Sundhya Pahuja (Melbourne Law School) joined Tom Randall (Cambridge University Press) and Cait Storr (University of Technology Sydney) to continue the discussion on the preparation and execution of writing a successful book proposal. This session featured short presentations from our guests followed by Q&A. This recording is part two of a two-part series that was recorded in August 2020.

    Cait Storr is Chancellor's Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Law Faculty at University of Technology Sydney. Her research addresses the relationship between property, territory and jurisdiction in international law, with a particular focus on decolonial struggles for legal control over natural resources. She has published on the history of international administration, the concept of territory in international law, Australian imperialism in the Pacific, decolonisation, and international environmental law.

    Tom Randall is the Commissioning Editor on the Academic law list for Cambridge University Press. Tom’s primary areas of interest are public international law and related subjects, European law, human rights law, and jurisprudence.

  • Michelle Lipinski: Writing Book Proposals Part I (Skills Circle)

    In this recording, Dr Ben Golder (UNSW Law School) and Professor Sundhya Pahuja (Melbourne Law School) joined Michelle Lipinski (Senior Editor, University of California Press) to discuss the ins and outs of writing a book proposal, particularly based on a successful PhD thesis. This recording featured a short presentation from Michelle followed by a Q&A session. This recording is part one of a two-part series that was recorded in August 2020.

    Michelle Lipinski is Senior Acquisitions Editor for economics and technology studies at the University of California Press. Previously, Michelle was an editor at Stanford University Press, where she acquired trade and academic titles for their anthropology and law and society lists. Before Stanford, Michelle started her career in publishing at Oxford University Press in New York.

  • Jonathan Fisher: Insecurity and the Invisible: the Challenge of Spiritual (In)Security (Lecture)

    The modern study – and practice – of security has been largely concerned with the protection, preservation and sustaining of the material, the tangible and the visible. For many people around the world, however, feelings of security also derive from understandings of an individual or community’s relationships with invisible and spiritual forces. Religious devotion and divine protection represent a central plank of security for many, just as fears of divine retribution, demonic possession or witchcraft feature as a central dimension of insecurity for many others. This remains, however, a conceptual and empirical blindspot in much of Critical Security Studies.

    Drawing on fieldwork undertaken in north-western Uganda, this study reflects critically on the provenance and implications of this central oversight and argues for an expanded scholarly and practitioner understanding of what “counts” as (in)security – one which better captures how the phenomenon is experienced. In doing so, the article emphasizes the global character of spiritual (in)security and the challenges such an understanding of (in)security poses to longstanding scholarly and practitioner associations of (in)security with state authority.

    Jonathan Fisher is Reader in African Politics in, and Director of, the International Development Department of the University of Birmingham. His research focuses on the intersections between conflict, (in)security and authoritarianism in Africa, and he has a particular interest in Eastern Africa.

  • Michael Fakhri: Trade, Development and the Right to Food (Interview)

    What is the global food system? What are the politics of naming and shaming? What does a UN Special Rapporteur do? In this conversation, Professor Sundhya Pahuja and Dr Luis Eslava speak with Professor Michael Fakhri, the newly appointed UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.

    Professor Fakhri is the author of 'Sugar and the Making of International Trade' (Cambridge University Press, 2014), and the co-editor with Luis Eslava and Vasuki Nesiah of 'Bandung, Global History and International Law: Critical Pasts and Pending Futures' (Cambridge University Press, 2017).

  • Mac Darrow: Human Rights, Development and the UN (Interview)

    What's the relationship between development and human rights? Can human rights challenge economic orthodoxy? How does the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) do its work? In this conversation, Professor Sundhya Pahuja and André Dao speak with Dr Mac Darrow, the Representative of the OHCHR in Washington DC, responsible for the Office's policy engagement with international financial institutions.

    Dr Darrow was previously chief of OHCHR's Sustainable Development Goals Section, leading the Office's effort to integrate human rights within global and country level development policy frameworks. He is a Senior Fellow in the Melbourne Law Masters program, and has published extensively in the fields of international human rights law, anti-discrimination law, climate change and human rights, and international organisations.

  • In Conversation with Dr Jessica Whyte (Book Launch)

    In this recording, Jessica explores why the neoliberal age has also been the age of human rights. Drawing on detailed archival research, she explores the place of human rights in an attempts to develop a moral framework for a market society. The book helps us to understand why coming to terms with these origins is so crucial. As we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, now more than ever, we need to be think carefully about the languages and justifications which sustain inequality, and what we can do to challenge them.

    Jessica Whyte is Scientia Fellow and Associate Professor at the School of Humanities and Languages (Philosophy) and the School of Law at the University of New South Wales, and is an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow. She is a political theorist whose work integrates political philosophy, intellectual history and political economy to analyse contemporary forms of sovereignty, human rights, humanitarianism and militarism.

  • Helen Hughes: Forgery in Eighteenth-Century Britain and Colonial Australian Art (Lecture)

    In this lecture, Helen analyses the notable degree to which early colonial Australian visual culture was dependent upon the skill-set of convicted and transported forgers from Great Britain. As the eighteenth century progressed, forgery crimes were subject to increasingly harsh sentencing, including a gallows death and transportation. This severity reflected broader efforts to enshrine the sovereignty of money at a time when credit systems—exemplified by the widespread use of paper instruments—threatened the perceived intrinsic (or metallurgic) value of coins. Perhaps not surprisingly, given the shared technical skills in mimesis and reproduction, over half the artists who arrived in Australia on The First Fleet were convicted forgers.

    Beginning with a case study of two scenes of Bristol’s Newgate Prison painted by the convicted forger cum Colonial Architect Francis Greenway, Helen examines the ways in which changes to sentencing for forgery crimes in eighteenth-century Britain delivered a range of artists and artisans—including Thomas Watling, Joseph Lycett, Charles Constantini, Richard Read Senior, Knud Bull, and Thomas Griffiths Wainewright—to the penal colonies in Australia.

    Dr Helen Hughes is a Lecturer in Art History, Theory and Curatorial Practice at Monash University in the Faculty of Art Design and Architecture. She co-founded and co-edits the Melbourne contemporary art journal Discipline, and is an editor of the peer-reviewed art history journal Electronic Melbourne Art Journal.

  • Christine Parker and Amy Cohen: Where do we get our ideas? (Skills Circle)

    This instalment of the IILAH/Critique Network Skills Circle features Christine Parker (Melbourne Law School) and Amy Cohen (University of New South Wales). Christine and Amy will discuss the techniques they use to generate new research ideas. This event was convened by Ben Golder (University of New South Wales).

  • Jonas Staal: Propaganda Art in the 21st Century (Lecture)

    Terms such as “fake news” and “alternative facts” have become common vocabulary in the so-called post-truth era. But there is a sense in which these are just contemporary iterations of a familiar phenomenon: propaganda. Propaganda is not merely concerned with sending messages – its aim is to construct reality as such.

    How is propaganda employed today in alt-right regimes, the ongoing War on Terror and corporate climate crimes? How do art and culture visualize and stage new realities in the making? And what alternative practices of emancipatory propaganda emerge from popular mass movements and stateless insurgencies? In this introduction to his book Propaganda Art in the 21st Century(MIT Press: 2019), artist Jonas Staal elaborates on what he describes as today’s arena of the propaganda(art)struggle.

    Jonas Staal is a visual artist whose work deals with the relation between art, propaganda, and democracy. His projects have been exhibited widely at venues such as the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and Moderna Museet in Stockholm, as well as the 7th Berlin Biennial (2012), the 31st São Paulo Biennale (2014), The Oslo Architecture Triennale (2016) and the Warsaw Biennale (2019). Recent publications and catalogs include Nosso Lar, Brasília (Jap Sam Books, 2014), Stateless Democracy (with co-editors Dilar Dirik and Renée In der Maur, BAK, 2015), Steve Bannon: A Propaganda Retrospective (Het Nieuwe Instituut, 2018) and Propaganda Art in the 21st Century (MIT Press, 2019). Staal completed his PhD research on propaganda art at the PhD Arts program of Leiden University, The Netherlands.