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Hamzić, Vanja (2022) International Law, Coloniality and Temporal Otherwise. In: Queering International Law, 2.0, November 2022, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. (Unpublished)

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What if the past and the future of international law can be thought of in temporal otherwise; a time that is, as Elizabeth Povinelli would put it, geontologically diverse; a time in which the lifeworlds of resistance to the violence of post- and/or neo-colonial international law can be (re-)encountered and re-centred to inform a novel, queerer theorising of the international, the legal and the subjecthoods they prop up and legitimise? In particular, what could such temporal refuges yield vis-à-vis an extractive, forcefully universalised linear time in which the canons and ‘foundational principles’ of international law found their logics and claims to authority? This paper engages a distinct temporal and material locale—that of ‘proto-colonial’ eighteenth-century Senegambia—not only to ponder a circum-Atlantic early capitalist economy of enslavement and human fungibility in the making, in which international legal theory and practice of the time were fully complicit, but also to re-tell the story of radically different, insurrectionary West African conceptualisations of time and personhood. Dwelling on the example of gender- nonconforming Mande griots (jeliw) and their increasingly precarious lifeworlds, and learning from the Black radical tradition and decolonial queer and trans/feminist critique, this paper queries what’s ‘recent’ and what ‘distant’ in temporal inflections of international law. Against the abiding imperial intimacies and technologies of subjectivation that saturate the dominant projects of international legal time-reckoning and meaning-making, what can the stories, concepts and ways of being-in-the-world that emerge from temporal otherwise tell us, in Lisa Lowe’s words, about “the connections that could have been but were lost and are thus not yet”?

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Items (Paper)
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Law
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2023 09:18

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