Back to All Events

The League of Nations Decentred: Law, Crises and Legacies


  • Melbourne Law School 185 Pelham Street Carlton, VIC 3056 (map)
map09.png

Conveners: Luís Bogliolo, Kathryn Greenman, Anne Orford, and Ntina Tzouvala.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers: Professor Fleur Johns (University of New South Wales Faculty of Law); Professor Balakrishnan Rajagopal (Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Almost a hundred years after the creation of the League of Nations, it is still commonly remembered as a failure in a period of chaos and disorder. Recently, however, a growing literature has begun a reappraisal of this historiography, looking at the role of the League of Nations beyond its frustrations and disillusionments in collective security. This new surge of critical studies has led to a more complex and multifaceted understanding of the League, exploring its legacies and impacts at a time of renewed economic crises and of deepening conflicting visions of international order. On the centenary of its foundation, we are taking this further by looking at the League of Nations with a view from the South. Our aim is to decentre the League and to explore competing visions of international order, law and institutions that resonate in our contemporary world.

This conference will bring together scholars working in law, history, international relations, and political theory to think critically about the League of Nations, law, institutions, practices, ideologies and technologies in relation to or with a view from the South. Themes for discussion include:

  • The League of Nations and the regulation of international violence

  • Sovereignty, empires, and the shifting boundaries of international authority

  • Intervention (military, economic, political) in the context of the League

  • Anti-colonialism, the rise of transnational social movements (socialism, feminism, national liberation)

  • Competing internationalisms and visions of international order

  • The rise of fascism and Nazism

  • Petitioning, oversight, publicity and new arenas of international politics

  • Humanitarianism, humanitarian assistance and governance

  • Adjudication, arbitration, and the Permanent Court of International Justice

  • The relationship between the League of Nations and contemporary or succeeding international institutions

  • The Mandates system

  • Indigenous peoples and the League of Nations

  • Codification and the role of international law

  • Major crises of the League of Nations (eg Ethiopia, Manchuria)

  • Economic and social regulation and authority

More information to follow in due course.

Earlier Event: December 4
Melbourne Doctoral Forum on Legal Theory