Introductory Remarks by Barbara Stark

Article excerpt

This roundtable explores some of the theoretical questions raised by this year's theme, "Confronting Complexity," from the perspectives of international law's "discontents"--those who situate their malaise in international law itself. Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents argued that civilization itself is the major source of human unhappiness, inhibiting instincts and generating guilt. Joseph Stiglitz's Globalization and Its Discontents shows how the "economic architecture" which has produced globalization has also driven the backlash against it. In this roundtable, international law's "discontents" consider the normative implications of international law's increasing complexity. These "discontents" include those focused on what Martti Koskenniemi has called the "emancipatory potential" of international law, those focused on the "bottom billion," or those focused on the least-developed countries (LDCs) or ethnic/racial or religious minorities. More specifically, the participants in this roundtable rigorously interrogate the normative implications of complexity.

The distinguished participants include Dianne Otto, Director of the Institute for International Law and the Humanities (IILAH) at Melbourne Law School and Project Director for Peacekeeping in the Asia Pacific Centre for Military Law (APCML). Professor Otto's research currently focuses on gender and sexuality. Her work draws upon and develops a range of critical legal theories particularly those influenced by feminism, postcolonialism, poststructuralism, and queer theory.

Balakrishnan Rajagopal is Associate Professor of Law and Development at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, and Director of the Program on Human Rights and Justice at the Center for International Studies at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). He is recognized as a founding participant in the Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) Network of scholars. He has been a member of the Executive Council and Executive Committee of the American Society of International Law, and is currently on the Asia Advisory Board of Human Rights Watch among others. He served for many years with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia and has consulted with the World Commission on Dams, UNDP, other UN agencies and international organizations and leading NGOs on human rights and international legal issues. His current research is on the potential and limits of development and human rights as progressive strategies for action in the world, and is researching a range of socioeconomic rights issues from development-induced to displacement, rights to housing and land to sanitation.

Alvaro Santos is as an Associate Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center. …