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Call for Contributions: International law in pandemic times


The current COVID-19 pandemic is a health crisis of global dimension. With numerous countries imposing shut-downs, closing their borders and limiting international trade and cooperation, the crisis in some ways appears to have prompted a return of the nation state that seemed unimaginable only weeks ago and has already given rise to the question whether we are currently witnessing the end of globalization (see on this here and here).

International lawyers have started to debate the implications of the pandemic on a range of fora (see here, here and this upcoming symposium). With this symposium, we want to pluralize these discussions, but also take a step back and reflect on the very terms and frameworks within which international lawyers currently understand and debate the pandemic. We thus invite contributions from perspectives that are underrepresented in the debates thus far, but also reflections on the terms of the debate: What are the frames, narratives, blind spots and ahistoricities of the unfolding debate? Who speaks, who is silenced in pandemic times? How do Global South and subaltern perspectives help to better understand the current pandemic?

In light of these questions, we welcome contributions on any area of international law and its domestic implications in pandemic times, such as WHO and global health law, human rights law, international trade and intellectual property law, migration and refugee law, international institutional law and so forth, as well as structural questions and principles of general international law and global governance. We are looking not only for analyses of positive law in the current situation, but also for theoretical, historical and other interdisciplinary perspectives. We are interested in particular in experiences and perspectives from the Global South, for instance with regard to experiences with previous outbreaks of infectious diseases like Ebola and their implications for regional and international cooperation and law.

The situation produces different and at times outright opposing narratives on what it tells us about international relations, economic systems and inequality. We are interested in contributions that spell out those narratives with a view to their significance for international law and engage with the ongoing debate on other blogs and enter into a conversation with prior contributions there, in the form of responses, critiques etc.

We invite contributions on any of these topics – and on any further questions relevant to the symposium’s theme. Contributions should be around 1000-1500 words long, and are welcome in English, French, or German. Contributions will be received till 30 April 2020. Please send us your texts or inquiries at editorial-team@voelkerrechtsblog.org.

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  1. Great initiative.pp

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