Third World Approaches to International Law: On Praxis and the Intellectual, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Third World Approaches to International Law

On Praxis and the Intellectual, 1st Edition

Edited by Usha Natarajan, John Reynolds, Amar Bhatia, Sujith Xavier


204 pages

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Hardback: 9781138040724
pub: 2017-12-05

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This book addresses the themes of praxis and the role of international lawyers as intellectuals and political actors engaging with questions of justice for Third World peoples. The book brings together 12 contributions from a total of 15 scholars working in the TWAIL (Third World Approaches to International Law) network or tradition. It includes chapters from some of the pioneering Third World jurists who have led this field since the time of decolonization, as well as prominent emerging scholars in the field. Broadly, the TWAIL orientation understands praxis as the relationship between what we say as scholars and what we do – as the inextricability of theory from lived experience. Understood in this way, praxis is central to TWAIL, as TWAIL scholars strive to reconcile international law’s promise of justice with the proliferation of injustice in the world it purports to govern. Reconciliation occurs in the realm of praxis and TWAIL scholars engage in a variety of struggles, including those for greater self-awareness, disciplinary upheaval, and institutional resistance and transformation. The rich diversity of contributions in the book engage these themes and questions through the various prisms of international institutional engagement, world trade and investment law, critical comparative law, Palestine solidarity and decolonization, judicial education, revolutionary struggle against imperial sovereignty, Muslim Marxism, Third World intellectual traditions, Global South constitutionalism, and migration. This book was originally published as a special issue of Third World Quarterly.

Table of Contents

1. Foreword: Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) special issue Richard Falk

2. Introduction: TWAIL - on praxis and the intellectual Usha Natarajan, John Reynolds, Amar Bhatia and Sujith Xavier

3. The Third World intellectual in praxis: confrontation, participation, or operation behind enemy lines? Georges Abi-Saab

4. On fighting for global justice: the role of a Third World international lawyer M. Sornarajah

5. Regulation of armed conflict: critical comparativism Nesrine Badawi

6. Decolonisation, dignity and development aid: a judicial education experience in Palestine Reem Bahdi and Mudar Kassis

7. The conjunctural in international law: the revolutionary struggle against semi-peripheral sovereignty in Iraq Ali Hammoudi

8. Mir-Said Sultan-Galiev and the idea of Muslim Marxism: empire, Third World(s) and praxis Vanja Hamzic

9. International lawyers in the aftermath of disasters: inheriting from Radhabinod Pal and Upendra Baxi Adil Hasan Khan

10. The South of Western constitutionalism: a map ahead of a journey Zoran Oklopcic

11. Disrupting civility: amateur intellectuals, international lawyers and TWAIL as praxis John Reynolds

12. Migration, development and security within racialised global capitalism: refusing the balance game Adrian A. Smith


About the Editors

Amar Bhatia is an Assistant Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Canada. His research focuses on transnational migration in a settler-colonial context and the intersection of immigration law, Aboriginal law, treaty relations, and Indigenous legal traditions.

Usha Natarajan is Assistant Professor of International Law and Associate Director of the Centre for Migration and Refugee Studies at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. Her research is multidisciplinary, utilising Third World and postcolonial approaches to international law to provide an interrelated understanding of the relationship between international law and issues of development, migration, environment, and conflict.

John Reynolds is Lecturer in International Law at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. His research focuses on the operation of international law in states of emergency and in contexts of conflict, crisis, and coloniality.

Sujith Xavier joined the University of Windsor Faculty of Law in January of 2014 as an Assistant Professor. His interests span domestic and international legal theory, international law, Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL), as well as the intersections of law and society with an emphasis on race, colonialism and imperialism, gender, and sexuality.

About the Series


THIRDWORLDS will focus on the political economy, development and cultures of those parts of the world that have experienced the most political, social, and economic upheaval, and which have faced the greatest challenges of the postcolonial world under globalisation: poverty, displacement and diaspora, environmental degradation, human and civil rights abuses, war, hunger, and disease.

THIRDWORLDS serves as a signifier of oppositional emerging economies and cultures ranging from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Middle East, and even those ‘Souths’ within a larger perceived North, such as the U.S. South and Mediterranean Europe. The study of these otherwise disparate and discontinuous areas, known collectively as the Global South, demonstrates that as globalisation pervades the planet, the south, as a synonym for subalterity, also transcends geographical and ideological frontiers.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / General