On Dead Circuits and Non-Events

Forthcoming in Kevin Jon Heller & Ingo Venzke (eds), Contingency and the Course of International Law (Oxford University Press)

UNSW Law Research Paper No. 19-80

38 Pages Posted: 14 Oct 2019

See all articles by Fleur E. Johns

Fleur E. Johns

University of New South Wales, Faculty of Law

Date Written: October 8, 2019

Abstract

Many an international law scholar has traced a route for her readers from ignorance, via debunking, to contingency, and onwards to possibility. Carrying scholars along this route is a presumed connection between awareness and agency. If only people recalled (with guidance from sophisticated scholars of international law) how chancy and open-ended international legal history has been, they might have the wherewithal to take their presents and futures in another direction – or so it is often assumed. This chapter will consider some possible perils of work so oriented, both in the sense of the kinds of operations that it leaves untouched and the circuit of humanist expectation that it helps to maintain (specifically, the idea that political capacity is a likely by-product of insight). Amid the increasingly self-organising streams of digits and ‘stuff’ shaping global affairs, this circuit may be especially dangerous for the distractions and disassociations it engenders. What, this chapter will ask, if international legal scholars were to identify possibility with pattern and formula, storage and transmission, rather than irregularity and insight? Perhaps this may spawn a politics better attuned to the now.

Keywords: Contingency, international law, international legal history, legal theory

Suggested Citation

Johns, Fleur E., On Dead Circuits and Non-Events (October 8, 2019). Forthcoming in Kevin Jon Heller & Ingo Venzke (eds), Contingency and the Course of International Law (Oxford University Press); UNSW Law Research Paper No. 19-80. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3469325 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3469325

Fleur E. Johns (Contact Author)

University of New South Wales, Faculty of Law ( email )

UNSW Australia
Sydney, New South Wales 2052
Australia
+61 2 9385 9893 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.unsw.edu.au/profile/fleur-johns

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