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Re-(en)activating Aimé Césaire's Tragedies: Writing 'Theatrical Histories' as International Lawyers — Adil Hasan Khan (Melbourne Law School)

  • Melbourne Law School, Room 920 185 Pelham Street Carlton, VIC, 3053 Australia (map)

Through an engagement with the Haitian Revolution plays and historical biographies penned by the Martinique anti-colonial playwright, poet, activist and politician, Aimé Césaire (1913-2008), this seminar attempts to make a case for (and draw out lessons in) the writing/staging of 'theatrical histories' by international lawyers. It will argue that such histories best allow us to reactivate in the postcolonial present, decolonizations past, which might help us to both inherit their vital legacies, but also to disrupt their more poisonous bequests, in particular by illuminating the particular paradoxes of postcolonial sovereignty and the price extracted by quests for 'international community'.

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Dr Adil Hasan Khan is currently a McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellow at Melbourne Law School, where his research seeks to explore the intersections between international law and disasters, with a focus on South Asia. He completed his PhD in International Studies, with a specialization in International Law and a minor in Anthropology and Sociology of Development, at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) in Geneva. His doctoral dissertation, titled Inheriting Persona: Narrating the Conduct of Third World International Lawyers, narrates the conduct of two generations of Third World international lawyers in their struggles to re-imagine and alternatively authorize international law, and identifies the defining struggle of the Third World in international law as being over temporal transmissions or inheritance. His research straddles the fields of law and theatre, postcolonial jurisprudence, international law and development, and international legal histories of the South. He was a Residential Institute Fellow at the Institute for Global Law and Policy (IGLP) at Harvard Law School during 2016–2017 and a Junior Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) in Vienna in 2015-2016.