Divining the Source: Law's Foundation and the Question of Authority

Australian Feminist Law Journal, Vol. 19, September 2003

Posted: 16 Jun 2004

See all articles by Jennifer L. Beard

Jennifer L. Beard

Law and Development Research Programme, IILAH

Sundhya Pahuja

Melbourne Law School

Abstract

"Divining the Source: Law's Foundation and the Question of Authority" is a collection of exciting essays by leading international scholars in the fields of critical legal theory and international law. It both critiques and moves beyond the law discipline's anxiety about the moral foundations of international law and human rights and places struggles against imperialism's grab for land, territory, knowledges and peoples within Western law's attempts to rewrite the colonial grounds of its claims for legitimacy.

The editors Jennifer Beard and Sundhya Pahuja have collected a diverse set of scholarly works in which law's claims of authority and legitimacy are subjected to questions of the cultural limits of writing and researching legal thinking in the field of international economic law and development. Is the story of western modernity to be limited to the concept of "the savage" at its heart? Should "the savage" as law's limit be written over, or written out? Or can we find the "wild heart" of the savage within each legal writer? Have questions of the "origins" of justice always deflected the judical process away from more proper concerns with the question of human Being? Is the process of native title in Australia simply one more way to deny a humanness to the being of indigenous others? Has the claim for rights to land in Uganda simply made visible how international economic programs feed upon law's imperatives for a gendered justice? Can imagining the human reasoning process as a machine like Cyborg enhance legal theory's ability to stay vigilant to the historiography of reason and imperialism?

"Divining the Source" is a collection of 8 essays written for academic lawyers, legal theorists and cultural studies teachers, and postgraduate students in the fields of law, international relations, cultural studies, postcolonial theory, and feminist legal studies. It introduces teachers, researchers and students to the ideas of prominent legal theorists and practitioners in human rights and development. The collection could be set as a text for a postgraduate seminar on Legal Theory, International Law and Development Studies, or as an advanced level text for an undergraduate course on Human Rights.

Keywords: critical legal theory, international law, human rights

JEL Classification: K3, K33, K39, K11

Suggested Citation

Beard, Jennifer L. and Pahuja, Sundhya, Divining the Source: Law's Foundation and the Question of Authority. Australian Feminist Law Journal, Vol. 19, September 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=556682

Jennifer L. Beard (Contact Author)

Law and Development Research Programme, IILAH ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://iilah.unimelb.edu.au

Sundhya Pahuja

Melbourne Law School ( email )

University of Melbourne
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia
+61 3 8344 7102 (Phone)

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