The Unforgiven Sources of International Law: Nation-Building, Violence, and Gender in the West(Ern)

INTERNATIONAL LAW: MODERN FEMINIST PERSPECTIVES, Doris Buss and Ambreena Maji, eds., Oxford: Hart Publishing, Forthcoming

24 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2004

See all articles by Ruth Buchanan

Ruth Buchanan

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School

Rebecca Johnson

University of Victoria - Faculty of Law

Abstract

New scholarship in international law has begun to explore the extent to which the discipline is grounded as deeply in the realms of subjectivity and imagination as in the fields of state systems, rationality and facts. In this vein, we take seriously the intersection of law and popular culture, and explore the narratives that locate and give meaning to international law. We turn to the Western genre as a source of insight about the nomos of law and of the international. The cinematic Western is one of our nomos' most prolific and powerful genres for the exploration of law's origins, nation, sovereignty, masculinity and violence. We offer a reading of Clint Eastwood's 1992 film Unforgiven in conjunction with a theoretical account of law's foundation, and contemporary debates over calls for intervention into the affairs of sovereign states. Unforgiven draws our attention to the many erasures still at work in our conceptions of law, violence and gender. It helps us to identify the exclusions operating at 'the source' in the stories we believe about the origins of law, whether in the mythic past of the American West, or in the mythic future of a 'liberated' Iraq.

Keywords: International law, justice, jurisprudence, gender, humanitarian intervention, popular culture

Suggested Citation

Buchanan, Ruth and Johnson, Rebecca, The Unforgiven Sources of International Law: Nation-Building, Violence, and Gender in the West(Ern). INTERNATIONAL LAW: MODERN FEMINIST PERSPECTIVES, Doris Buss and Ambreena Maji, eds., Oxford: Hart Publishing, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=555891

Ruth Buchanan

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

Rebecca Johnson (Contact Author)

University of Victoria - Faculty of Law ( email )

PO Box 2400, STN CSC
McGill at Ring Rd (Fraser Bldg)
Victoria, British Columbia V8W 3H7
Canada
250-721-8187 (Phone)
250-721-8146 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.uvic.ca/rjohnson/

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