Interviews and New Books

In this episode join Sundhya Pahuja and Shaun McVeigh in conversation with Cait Storr to launch her book titled ‘International Status in the Shadow of Empire: Nauru and the Histories of International Law’.

Book Description: Nauru is often figured as an anomaly in the international order. This book offers a new account of Nauru’s imperial history and examines its significance to the histories of international law. Drawing on theories of jurisdiction and bureaucracy, it reconstructs four shifts in Nauru’s status – from German protectorate, to League of Nations C Mandate, to UN Trust Territory, to sovereign state – as a means of redescribing the transition from the nineteenth century imperial order to the twentieth century state system. The book argues that as international status shifts, imperial form accretes: as Nauru’s status shifted, what occurred at the local level was a gradual process of bureaucratisation. Two conclusions emerge from this argument. The first is that imperial administration in Nauru produced the Republic’s post-independence ‘failures’. The second is that international recognition of sovereign status is best understood as marking a beginning, not an end, of the process of decolonisation.

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.

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.

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).

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 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.