Series abstract: The Changing Place of the Corporation in International Law
In this series of lectures, I will offer a reconceptualization of the relationship between global corporations and international law which disrupts accepted understandings of corporate power, and of the relationship between corporations, states and law. I will ground the reconceptualization in an historical account of the changing place of the corporation in international law from the early modern period to the present day.
The reconceptualization drawn out of this story will have analytical implications for how we understand – and conduct research on – corporations and international law, as well as normative implications for how we might hold global corporations to account.
Part 1: From Colonial Companies to Global Corporations
In this lecture, I will introduce the problematic of the corporation in international law. The modern corporation is often understood to be a child of the state, a child which has grown too powerful to control. However, we need to go back further than the advent of the modern corporation in order to see that the Company emerged in the early modern period not as a child of the state but rather as a form of associational life which exercised public authority and which rivalled other such forms, including the state. In this lecture, I will suggest ways in which a richer understanding of the history of the corporation and its jurisprudential form can illuminate contemporary patterns of global ordering.
Sundhya Pahuja is Professor of Law at the Melbourne Law School, and Director of the Institute for International Law and the Humanities at the University of Melbourne. Her work centres on the history, theory and political economy of international law, particularly as it relates to questions of global inequality and to the relationship between North and South. Her books include the prize winning, Decolonising International Law: Development Growth and the Politics of Universality, as well as the edited collections, Events: The Force of International Law (with Johns and Joyce), and Reading Modern Law: Critical Methodologies and Sovereign Formations (with Buchanan and Motha). She is currently working on the book Cold War International Law as well as the edited collection Cold War Histories of International Law, both with Matt Craven and Gerry Simpson as part of a project funded by the Australian Research Council, and UK Arts and Humanities Research Council. In 2017, Sundhya was a Fellow at the Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Studies in South Africa, in 2016, a Fulbright Senior Scholar at Harvard Law School, and in 2014, served as Director of Studies in Public International law at the Hague Academy of International Law. Sundhya is also a Professorial Fellow at SOAS, University of London, and Senior Faculty at the Institute for Global Law and Policy, Harvard Law School.
The Sir Hersch Lauterpacht Memorial Lecture
The Sir Hersch Lauterpacht Memorial Lecture is a series of annual lectures given in Cambridge to commemorate the unique contribution to the development of international law of Sir Hersch Lauterpacht. The lectures are given by a person of eminence in the field of international law and a revised and expanded version of the lectures is usually published in the Hersch Lauterpacht Memorial Lecture Series by Cambridge University Press.