Education, like public policy, often targets behavioural change. Students pursue learning so they can develop skills, knowledge and understanding that will influence how they see the world and create greater opportunities for reaching what they consider the good life. Public policy is similarly focussed though with greater emphasis placed on the government’s conception of the good life.
Two strategies are most common when pursuing behavioural change in both the education and policy sectors: nudge and think. In the following clip, I examine both models, identifying their respective strengths and weaknesses. My conclusion is that these two models are more symbiotic than mutually exclusive.
In the following clip, I explain why I chose to title the course a ‘rethink’ of international law and provide an overview of the topics that will be covered throughout the semester.
The study of intellectual property law has traditionally revolved around one object: the examination of legal protections crafted to reward – and implicitly encourage – intellectual pursuit. But the IP terrain has changed dramatically over recent decades. Cultural and symbolic goods have become valuable sources of capital accumulation. To this end, witness the incorporation of private proprietary rights over intangible assets in the global trade regime. These rights now rival – if not surpass – collective welfare concerns (e.g. human rights) in both stature and sophistication. The privileging of private interests over communal wellbeing has triggered a potent backlash, making intellectual property law an important site of social critique and thus an important topic for legal education.
In this course, we will examine the rise of informational capital in the new economy and the attendant legal protections afforded in international law. We will consider the emergence of powerful non-state global actors – inter alia transnational corporations and financial institutions – and the influence they wield over regulatory regimes, both global and domestic. Finally, we will discuss a series of examples in which intellectual property is being used for new purposes, specifically to promote alternate social objectives and normative aspirations.
[On offer at Queen's in the fall semester 2015]
As of late, strong questions have surfaced surrounding the future of international law. Is globalisation undermining notions of state sovereignty, ushering in a post-sovereign period of global governance? Is human rights discourse incurably Eurocentric, negating its future as an emancipatory vehicle? Have the latest Anglo-American invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan or NATO’s campaign of destruction-cum-protection against Libya rung the death knell of Article 2(4) of the UN Charter? And what of the world economy and the retreat, possibly temporary, from meta-regulatory regimes triggered by the recession and by domestic protectionist pressures (increasingly fomented by chauvinistic populism)?
In this course, we will link geopolitics to international law, with the aim of evaluating the interplay between legal, illegal, and extra-legal activities and their impact upon state action. A critical lens will help us appreciate how geopolitical considerations are frequently used by states to justify plunder, often in defiance of international legal obligations. We will conclude with an assessment of legitimacy standards in international law and the place of democracy in possible legal reformation.
An Introduction to Rethinking International Law
International Legal Education – Changing Civic (and Student) Behaviour
A History of International Law
A Luta Continua
The Development Gap
Equal Laws in An Unequal World
Power Only Takes a Step Back in the Face of Greater Power
From Ideology to Faith
Trading Our Way to Valhalla
Writing Resistance Into International Law
The Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas
A Global Democracy?
The Multicultural Turn in International Law
In the following clip, I discuss three key principles in the formulation of equality laws. Equality in treatment, equality in outcomes and equality in opportunities represent three different conceptions of the value, each of which possesses both strengths and flaws.
In the following clip, I examine some basic concepts in the equality narrative including the origin and distinction between basic equality – as respect and consideration for the individual – and substantive equality – as the equal distribution of goods.
Must we obey the law? I suspect the answer for most is yes. This makes sense since the alternative — a society where people pick and choose which laws they wish to be bound by — sounds somewhat chaotic. Yet, not all agree as instances of civil disobedience the world over demonstrate on a daily basis.
The following clip is PART III in a series on obedience (and disobedience) to the law. Hart, a positivist, and Dworkin, a natural law theorists approach legal theory from distinct, possibly competing, perspectives. In this clip, I attempt to highlight some of the key features of their respective theories.