Law and Displacement: A Manifesto with Balakrishnan Rajagopal

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Room 609, Level 6, Melbourne Law School, 185 Pelham Street, Carlton

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One of the most significant aspects of displacement and eviction research in recent years is the increasing recognition of the centrality of law, both as a structure that generates dispossession and displacement, and also as a terrain of resistance relied on regularly by displaced communities. Some of this work problematizes property as a legal relation, while others point to the judicialization of displacement. The points of resistance revolve around the potential and possibilities of a rights-turn in legal form – including through international human rights law and domestic constitutional jurisprudence. In this presentation, Professor Rajagopal will critically assess this ‘legalization turn’ in displacement scholarship, and offer several theses about its pros and cons for a progressive trajectory in the increasingly tumultuous and connected fields of studies that focus on displacement.  Professor Rajagopal will also discuss some of the work being done at the MIT Displacement Research Action Network.

The Displacement Research and Action Network is the first-ever global network on displacement and land rights. It brings together activists, academics and policy makers to build new theory and evidence of the increasing incidence of internal displacement around the world due to development, conflict or climate disaster.

Balakrishnan Rajagopal is Associate Professor of Law and Development at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning and founding Director of the Program on Human Rights and Justice at MIT and the founder of the Displacement Research and Action Network. He is recognized as one of the founders of the Third World Approaches to International Law Network of scholars and as a leading global commentator on issues concerning the global South.  He has been a member of the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law, and is currently on the Asia Advisory Board of Human Rights Watch.

Lunch will be provided, registration essential.