International Law and Revolution: Concepts, Categories, and History

thomas sankara

Room 223, Melbourne Law School

In this talk, Dr Kumar will address the "fit" between revolution and international law which is the subject of her monograph, and builds on her most recent work, International Law, Kelsen and the Aberrant Revolution: Excavating the Practices of Revolutionary Legality in Rhodesia and Beyond’’ in The Power of Legality: Practices of International Law and Their Politics, eds  Nikolas M. Rajkovic, Tanja Aalberts, Thomas Gammeltoft-Hansen (CUP 2016). Specifically, her paper will examine the nature of the problem that revolution poses as a concept for the discipline of international law and for the telling of international legal pasts and beginnings. Second, it will examine some of the ways legal scholars and jurists have historically framed revolution in extant international legal categories. Last it will discuss the turn to history in the discipline of international law, and the ways in revolutionary events can help us think about the limits and possibilities of international legal practices.

Dr Kumar is currently a Visiting Research Scholar at the Institute for International Law and the Humanities  (January-April 2017) and an Associate Professor at Leicester Law School, University of Leicester United Kingdom. She holds a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford, an LL.M. from Osgoode Hall Law School, and an LL.B from Queen’s University (Canada), as well as degrees in political theory. Her research is interdisciplinary in nature, traversing the fields of international law, constitutional law, legal history, and the philosophy of law. She is currently researching two interrelated projects: 1) a monograph on the relationship between international law, legal theory and revolution; and, 2) an ongoing project on the relationship between revolution, international law, and constitutionalism. She has published in the areas of international law, revolution, legal history, globalisation theory, and international labour & human rights.  She has taught in the following areas of law: Public International Law, Public Law, Global and Comparative Constitutional Law, Legal Theory, International Legal History and International Humanitarian Law. She is a Junior Faculty member of the Institute for Global Law and Policy (IGLP) at Harvard Law School (USA).  She has been a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto (2010), a Visiting Research Fellow at the London School of Economics (2011) and a Visiting Lecturer at University of Bayreuth, Germany (2013) and has been invited to be a visiting Research Scholar at the Humboldt University in Berlin in June 2017.