Feminist and Queer Approaches to International Law

Photo of my event

Provocations II: Queering International Law

Possibilities, Alliances, Complicities and Risks

Just as feminist and postcolonial critiques of international law have exposed some of the ways in which it can work to reinforce hierarchies of power and knowledge, so too can the critical insights of queer theory enrich our understanding of the conceptual and practical limits of the discipline. In today’s crisis-ridden world, new ways of framing and applying international law are desperately needed. We need an international legal framework that can build solidarity rather than foster division, promote redistributive values rather than private enrichment, challenge the entrenched inequalities of the quotidian rather than normalizing and exploiting them, advance positive peace rather than militarism, and ensure environmental sustainability rather than degradation.

This two-day legal theory workshop, hosted by the Institute for International Law and the Humanities (IILAH) at Melbourne Law School, as part of its annual Provocations series, brought together new and established international and Australian scholars working with queer, feminist and postcolonial theories and practices, in international law and related disciplines, to share perspectives on the possibilities for pursuing emancipatory projects in and through international law, and examine the associated risks. The goal was to foster alliances and borrowings from across theoretical and disciplinary boundaries, while gaining a better understanding of the complicities and compromises that engagement with power, in the form of international law, may extract.