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Translocal Law Research Group

The Translocal Law (TLL) Collaborative Research Group was initiated at the 2015 Transnational Law Summer Institute, King’s College-London. Comprised of a group of early-career scholars and PhD candidates, this collaborative research project seeks to interrogate the emergent socio-legal field of Transnational Law through the lens of social struggles in local contexts. It draws on a team of international researchers from different continents with interdisciplinary backgrounds in law, sociology, political science and anthropology.

Each participant enriches the research group by bringing data and findings from their own previous or on-going empirical projects, embedded in plural geographies and topics, such as: the way African migrants in Italy navigate claims for recognition within multiple spheres of local and European legality; how Bedouin collectives in Israel, and “rights translators,” draw on the transnational discourse of indigeneity in an effort to claim local land rights; the circulation and translation of the “right to food” across activists in the transnational food sovereignty movement; the way sex workers in Argentina confront the abolitionist approach in the War on Human Trafficking; the struggle of those labelled “terrorists” by transnational security firms, states, and international organizations to clear their names and claim rights; the impact of transnational private sustainability governance mechanisms on the local legal and political struggles of labor unions; women’s rights organizations, and environmental groups in Third World contexts; the implications of a CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women) right to public life in the Republic of Maldives; aboriginal perspectives on the construction of customary law and cultural practice in sentencing cases in central Australia, and the capacity of sentencing law to be ‘emancipatory’.

By exploring transnational legality as a practice that emerges from conflicts and disputes, it draws on a contextualized approach to legal theory and one deeply concerned with the formations and exercise of power. Moreover, we aim at developing methodological and pedagogic transnational approaches rooted in a commitment to local epistemologies and knowledge.

For further information, please contact: translocal.law@gmail.com

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ACTIVITIES

TLL Reading Club: we have developed a collaborative syllabus for internal and external training.

TLL Translate: we choose relevant material, not currently available in English, to be translated. This will allow for further dissemination and international access.

TLL Research Group Meetings:

  • TLL Workshop 2016- King’s College: thanks to the Transnational Law Institute (TLI)-King’s College small grant, we are meeting up in a two days’ workshop in July 2016.
  • TLL Law and Society IRC: we have successively constituted in a Law and Society Association’s IRC "Transnational Law and Local Struggles". 

TLL Local Working Units: each participant has the possibility of running in their own setting a local working unit (TLL-LWU) of the collaborative research group; then, we report back to the larger group and receive feedback from peers on those activities.

TLL-LWU_Argentina:

Simposios de Derecho Transnacional (Transnational Law Symposiums): in collaboration with the ‘Transnational Force of Law’EU Research Project, Bremen University and the Latin-American Socio-legal Network (Red de Sociología Jurídica en América Latina y el Caribe -ReSJALC), Hannah Franzki and Marisa N. Fassi have organized an interdisciplinary symposium inviting relevant local scholar to discuss their empirical research from a transnational perspective. 

  • I Transnational Law Symposium: May 18, 2016. Buenos Aires. Sponsor by the Instituto de la Diversidad Cultural-Universidad Tres de Febrero. Participants: Santiago Sorroche (anthropology, urban waste pickers), Maria Becerra (international relations, afro-descendents), Mariana Arzeno (geography, food sovereignty), Mario Ayala (history, exile activism), Hannah Franzki (politics/law, lex agraria), Marisa N. Fassi (sociology of law, war on trafficking)
  • II Transnational Law Symposium: May 26, 2016. Córdoba. Sponsored by the Centro de Investigaciones Jurídicas y Sociales (CIJS), Universidad Nacional de Córdoba. Participants: Angélica Peñas (sociology of law, sexual and reproductive rights), Mariana Manzo (sociology of law, legal mobilization), Sabrina Villegas (sociology of law, Access to land), Alejandro Manzo (sociology of law, neoliberal policies, vulture funds), Diego Buffa (history, afro-descendants) Santiago Sorroche (anthropology, urban waste pickers), Jorge Foa Torres (critical law, posmarxism and environmental rights), Hannah Franzki (politics/law, lex agraria), Marisa N. Fassi (sociology of law, war on trafficking).
Members 
Marisa FassiLawyer, Argentina
Marissa 

Marisa N. Fassi has a PhD in Law and Society 'Renato Treves' of the Unviersità Degli Studi di Milano, Italy. Her research looks at the socio-legal dynamics of power and resistance in the legal limbo, that is, in relation to activities, conditions or orientations that are neither legal nor illegal. In particular, it focuses on sex workers and waste pickers claims for labour recognition in Córdoba-Argentina. Marisa has her first degree in Law from the National University of Córdoba-Argentina, and a M.A in the Sociology of Law from the International Institute of Sociology of Law- Oñati, Spain. As a lawyer in Argentina she has been actively involved with sex workers’ movements, street vendors, women prisoners, and with public interest law cases related to slavery and Multinational Corporations, jail guards, and call centre workers, among other. Marisa has also worked for the Human Rights Office of the Supreme Court of Justice in Córdoba. Her main interests and publications are related to labour, criminology, law and resistance in everyday life and socio-legal theory and methods in general. 

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Country of Origin: Argentina

Country of Residence: Argentina

Institutional Affiliation: National University of Cordoba- Argentina

Current Position: Researcher. Sexual and Reproductive Rights Research Program National University of Córdoba, Argentina-Law School.

Research Project Title: Living in the legal limbo: a socio-legal approach to sex workers and waste pickers' claims for labour recognition in Cordoba-Argentina

Keywords: labour- grassroots movements-knowledge- law

Research summary

This research engages with the relation between law, knowledge and power; in particular, it looks at knowledge practices deployed around sex workers and waste pickers claims to be recognized as workers in Córdoba-Argentina. Both activities are in a legal limbo, meaning that they are neither legal nor illegal. The empirical study of this limbo revealed conflicting discourses and actors who try to push the activity closer to legality or closer to illegality, making it possible to reveal the schemas of hierarchy in law. My fieldwork showed the relevance of legacies of colonialism, transnational actors’ and expert knowledge influences in defining these hierarchies. In this sense, I have developed a strategy of looking at how experiential knowledge can contribute for providing contextual legal responses by engaging in workshops to build grassroots legislation with sex workers and waste pickers. 

 

Matt CanfieldPhD Candidate, New York University
Photo_Matt 

Matt Canfield is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at New York University. His dissertation, ‘The Power of the Network: Food Activism, Governance, and the Politics of Value in the Pacific Northwest’ is based on sixteen months of multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork with the food sovereignty movement within a range of governance arenas from the Puget Sound region of Washington State to the UN Committee on World Food Security in Rome. Canfield examines how transnational social movements and new forms of multi-stakeholder governance together reflect struggles over value in an age of economic globalization and anthropogenic climate change, as well as changing transnational horizons of social and economic justice. Canfield received an MA from New York University’s Institute for Law and Society in 2012. He regularly publishes about issues related to food, labour, and social justice.

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Country of Origin: USA

Country of Residence: USA

Institutional Affiliation: New York University

Current Position: PhD Candidate

Research Project Title: The Power of the Network: Food Activism, Governance, and the Politics of Value in the Pacific Northwest’

Keywords: global governance, transnational agrarian social movements, social justice

Research summary: My research investigates the relationship between emerging social justice claims and new forms of network governance. Drawing on ethnographic and historical approaches to transnational legality, I am interested in the forms of power produced within contested fields of governance. My dissertation, The Power of the Network: Food Activism, Governance, and The Politics of Value in the Pacific Northwest examines how the competing imaginaries of the network as a form of governance shape struggles over food and value. It argues that the network’s egalitarian and horizontal representation of society and economy is alluring to social movements even as it undermines them. By concealing conflicting values and disparities of power, the network often reproduces existing hierarchies in misrecognized forms. Moreover, as a form of governance, the network has produced a new ideology of collaboration that suppresses these conflicts and entrenches existing relations of power. Ultimately, my study reveals the contested process by which the network and collaboration have become hegemonic symbols of an emerging global political-economic order.

Julia DehmLecturer at La Trobe University
Julia dehm  Julia Dehm is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, working on a multi-year project rethinking human rights for the 21st century. Dehm was previously a Resident Fellow at the Institute for Global Law and Policy (IGLP) at Harvard Law School. She recently received a PhD from the Melbourne Law School. Her doctoral dissertation, “Reconsidering REDD+: Law, Life, Limits and Growth in Crisis,” examined the social implications of a specific carbon offset scheme under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change umbrella called Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+).

She has published academic articles in the Journal of Human Rights and the Environment (forthcoming), the London Review of International Law, the Macquarie Journal of International and Comparative Environmental Law and special climate justice-themed editions of the Journal of Australian Political Economy and Local-Global Journal. She also co-edited a report Occupy Policing: A Report into the Effects and Legality of the Eviction of Occupy Melbourne from City Square on 21 October 2011 and was a member of the Occupy Melbourne Legal Support Team that was awarded the 2012 Tim McCoy Award for human rights work by the Federation of Community Legal Centers. She has been active with climate justice groups, co-authoring a Friends of the Earth International Report, In the REDD+: Australia's Carbon Offset Projects in Central Kalimantan (2012). She holds a BA, LLB (Hons), and PhD from the University of Melbourne.

Read more on Julia here

Country of Origin:  Australia

Country of Residence: USA

Institutional Affiliation: Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, University of Texas, Austin

Current Position: Post-doctoral Fellow

Research Project Title: Natural resource governance, inequality and human rights

Keywords: human rights, mining, forestry, natural resource governance

Research summary

Natural resource governance essentially pertains to who can decide which resources can be used by whom and under what conditions and how this decision-making should be done. The outcomes of such decisions have profound consequences for the distribution of resources within at the local, national and international levels and thus can either create, accentuate or ameliorate forms of economic inequality. However, laws regulating the above mentioned questions do not arise in a vacuum, but the regulation of these questions as well as the form such regulation take often reflect existing distributions of power and wealth. Inequalities therefore are both constituted by processes of natural resource governance but are also reflected in the constitution of governance of natural resources.

This component of a larger inequality project therefore addresses the governance of natural resources as a key site that reflects but also reproduces unequal distribution of wealth, power, authority and risk exposure. It examines to what extent human rights laws, discourses and practices have, could or should be utilized to address the inequalities that are produced through the processes of natural resource governance.

 

Giulia FabiniTeaching Assistant, University of Bologna
Photo_Giulia 

Giulia Fabini has a PhD in Law and Society 'Renato Treves' from the Università Degli Studi di Milano, Italy, she is teaching assistant in criminology at the University of Bologna, and tutor for the Master programme in “Critical criminology and security”, University of Padova. She conducted her dissertation - titled “Bordering subjects. The unspoken incorporation of undocumented migrants in Italy” - under the direction of prof. Dario Melossi. The research investigates internal border control in Bologna, Italy. She graduated in Political Science from the University of Bologna and was “Renè Cassin” prize-winning for her master thesis. She is responsible for Bologna for the “Osservatorio sul giudice di pace and is a member of the “European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control” and the “CRN on immigration and citizenship” of the Law and Society Association. Her work uses insights of Foucault, and is aimed at bringing together the emerging field of criminology of mobility with the political economy of punishment and the sociology of police. More in general, her scholarly interests range widely: sociology of law, critical criminology, and sociology of police, political philosophy, migration studies, and post-colonial and gender studies. 

Read more on Giulia here

Country of Origin: Italy

Country of Residence: Italy

Institutional Affiliation: University of Bologna

Current Position: PhD researcher – University of Bologna

Research Project Title: Bordering subjects. The unspoken incorporation of undocumented migrants in Italy

Keywords: undocumented immigration, internal borders, police, judges, differential inclusion, criminology of mobility

Research summary

My PhD research investigates a case study on the enforcement of the global border in one local context: Bologna, Italy. In the Italian “frontier zone” undocumented migrants are continually undergoing police checks, being charged, and even detained. Few are actually removed; the great majority remain and find their place in the Italian shadow economy. The focus is not much on the conditions under which undocumented migrants are eventually removed, but rather the far more frequent conditions under which undocumented migrants are informally allowed to remain despite official permission.  In Bologna, undocumented migrants are managed through what may be defined as acceptable levels of illegality, constantly negotiated by the social agents involved in the interaction. Not just the police, the judges, and the law play a role in deciding the rules of the game of the illegal stay, but also migrants do. The border - produced whenever and wherever social agents interact - may become a site of indistinction between the norm and exception, where global and local dynamics of power and resistance confront each other, thereby modifying expected outcomes. I interrogate the interaction between undocumented migrants, police, and judges during internal border control as the process of producing new global subjects under changing global conditions and persisting blind national laws. My main argument is that what we see in Bologna is a logic of inclusion rather than exclusion, whose main result is the production of a subject who may not completely belong, yet is not completely excluded either. 

 

Naoyuki OkanoPhD Candidate, Nagoya University
Photo_Naoyuki 

Naoyuki Okano is currently a PhD Candidate at School of Law, Nagoya University, Japan. He received an LLM from School of Law, Nagoya University and a LLB from School of Law, Waseda University. He is currently involved in the Program of Leading Graduate School at Nagoya University, ‘Cross-Border Legal Institution Design,’ where participants work to formulate an idea of appropriate legal institutions for developing countries based on the experience of legal assistance projects by Japan. He has recently experienced a research internship at UNIDROIT in the field of land investment contract.

Read more on Naoyuki here

Country of Origin: Japan

Country of Residence: Japan

Institutional Affiliation: Nagoya University

Current Position: PhD Candidate

Research Project Title: Law and Development in a Highly Interdependent Society: A Case Study of Lang Rush in South East Asia

Keywords: Global Governance, Law and Development, Legal Transplant, Land Rush

Research summary:  My doctoral thesis, titled as Law and Development in a Highly Interdependent Society: A Case Study of Lang Rush in South East Asia, concerns, broadly speaking, how law can be utilized to respond to complex social problems in an era of globalization. To consider this question, one needs to have a contextualized understanding on social issues, on the one hand, and to legally think about how to strike a right balance between flexible, instrumental usage of law and formal and stable rule of law, on the other. As a concrete case study to explore it, I take an example of recent developments in land governance. A phenomenon of the land rush or the land grabbing, large-scale land investments and associated social problems, has been problematized recently. It is arguably enabled or facilitated by three differing conditions. First, evolving political economy raised an interest to invest in global farmlands due partially to climate change or demands for biofuels. Second, the recent expansion of bilateral or multilateral investment regime has enabled and facilitated foreign direct investments. Third, lastly, legal concepts such as sovereignty or public and private dichotomy imported from outside have arguably played a facilitative role of the land rush. Against this, and more, complex background, my research explores if (or if not) law can have a role to rebalance this power structure. Apart from the theoretical inquire on a role of law in global governance, this study involves a field study on how evolving lawyers’ networks in South East Asia, particularly in Cambodia, operate in responding to various contingencies.   

 

Mariana Prandini AssisPhD Candidate, New School for Social Research
mariana assis 

Mariana Prandini Assis is a PhD Candidate in Politics at the New School for Social Research, in New York. She received her Bachelor of Laws and Master’s in Political Science from the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil, and a MPhil in Politics from the New School. In her doctoral research, Mariana offers a map of women’s rights discourse production and circulation in the transnational legal sphere. By developing an in-depth qualitative analysis of the cases adjudicated by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, she examines the successes and shortcomings of the use of the category 'women's human rights' to achieve gender justice. Her research has been supported by various institutions, such as the Brazilian Ministry of Education (CAPES), Fulbright, and the American Association for University Women (AAUW). In her home country Brazil, Mariana is also engaged in feminist and legal activism, serving as a lawyer for social movements and grassroots organizations. She is currently a law clerk for the President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Read more on Mariana here

Country of Origin: Brazil

Country of Residence: Brazil

Institutional Affiliation: The New School for Social Research

Current Position: PhD Candidate

Research Project Title: Boundaries and Binaries of Women's Human Rights: Horizons of Justice in the Transnational Legal Sphere

Keywords: Women's Human Rights - Transnational Feminist Movement - Public and Private Spheres - Individual rights vs. Structural issues - Gender essentialism

Research summary

My dissertation looks at the long (and still in the making) march towards women's human rights in order to assess its success and pitfalls. I argue that if the category 'women's human rights' positively impacted the field of international human rights law, by (1) challenging the public and private divide in which the entire field had previously operated and (2) enabling the debate around the necessity of a structural approach to human rights violations beyond strictly individual cases, it nonetheless has important limitations when it comes to addressing gender roles and stereotypes as well as sexuality. As an identity category, founded on the binary male/female, it does not allow for the diversity that gender actually encompasses and, unintendedly, reinforces the very same binary it aims to challenge. Moreover, it leaves out of its scope issues concerning sexuality that feminists should be (and have been) concerned about. These three main arguments are illustrated through the history of the transnational feminist movement in the Americas and, particularly, cases dealing with women's human rights adjudicated by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which I see as a site of production of transnational legal discourse.

 

Phillip PaiementAssociate Professor, Tilburg Law School
phil 

Phillip Paiement is an Associate Professor in Public Law, Jurisprudence and Legal History at Tilburg Law School in the Netherlands. He has received an MSt in Socio-Legal Research from the Oxford University Centre for Socio-Legal Studies (2011) and a PhD in Law from Tilburg Law School (2015). Phillip serves as a board member of the Dutch Socio-Legal Research Association [Vereiniging voor de Sociaalwetenschappelijke bestudering van het Recht], as an Editorial Committee member of the journal Transnational Legal Theory, and an Advisory Board member of the Tilburg Law Review. He currently sits on the Organizing Team for the 2016 ECPR Standing Group on Regulatory Governance Biennial Conference. In the past Phillip has participated in King’s College London Transnational Law Summer Institute (2015), the Harvard Law School Institute for Global Law & Policy African Regional Workshop (2016), and the Law & Society Association Graduate Student Workshop (2014). He also spent time as a visiting graduate research fellow at Kent Law School in January 2014.    

Read more on Philip here

Country of Origin: USA

Country of Residence: Netherlands

Institutional Affiliation: Tilburg University

Current Position: Associate Professor

Research Project Title: Transnational private governance and the homogenization of domestic public law

Keywords: sustainability, private standards, corporate governance, comparative public law

Research summary

My doctoral research assessed the regulatory capacities of transnationally operating voluntary sustainability standards in the palm oil and forestry industries, as well as codes of good governance for standard setting bodies. It examined the extent to which these standards were capable of disciplining the behaviour of producers in their respective fields. Furthermore, it identified the extent to which it enabled some producers and the expense of other producers and actors involved. In doing so the project maps the regulatory capacities of these regulatory bodies onto the structural social and economic inequalities of their fields and traces the manner in which they are used to reproduce these inequalities. My current research is concerned with the techniques by which transnational private standards in extractives industries measure and monitor domestic legal institutions and actors within the framework of ‘rule of law development’. In particular, it seeks to identify the effects that their governance work has on localized public law dispute resolution.

 

Emma NyhanDoctoral researcher,  European University Institute
photo_Emma 

Emma Nyhan is in her final stages of her doctoral research in the Law Department at the European University Institute, in Florence, Italy. Emma Nyhan received a Bachelor of Laws from University College Cork (Ireland). She also received a Master of Laws from the University of Constance (Germany) and the European University Institute (Italy). She is a qualified barrister. Her Ph.D. research - 'Indigeneity, Law and Terrain: The Bedouin Citizens of Israel' - attempts to shed light on the ways, in which the Bedouin have gradually become indigenous in international law. Prior to this, she spent a number of years working in civil society in Ireland, Israel and Belgium.

Read more on Emma here

Country of Origin: Ireland

Country of Residence: Italy

Institutional Affiliation: European University Institute (EUI)

Current Position: PhD Researcher

Research Project Title: Indigeneity, Law and Terrain: The Bedouin Citizens of Israel

Keywords: International law, sociology and anthropology; the travel of international law between international, national and local realms; the concept of indigenous peoples and its vernacularization; and the case study of the Bedouin in the Negev

Research summary

This research endeavors to unpick how the Bedouin in the Negev are gradually becoming indigenous peoples in international law, by placing law and anthropology in conversation with one another. The Bedouin’s shift to indigeneity articulated and represented itself most clearly in the mid-2000’s, when they went before the UN and made a formal request for indigenous recognition. This turn is curious when we consider that the Bedouin were historically situated on the margins of formal legal framework of the Ottoman Empire (1519-1917) and British Mandate (1917-1947) and governed themselves according to their own customs and tradition. The events of 1948, however, marked a critical turning point in their way of life, at which point the Israeli State apparatus sought to bring the Bedouin collective under a Western-crafted legal order, in order to modernize them and permanently settle them in authorized areas. To counteract this, the Bedouin have attempted to locate themselves in an international-based legality and have resorted to re-defining themselves. Crucial to this re-definition, or re-invention, is the international definition of indigenous peoples. While the Bedouin have achieved limited success in their quest for indigenous recognition in the international realm, this international recognition in no way reflects a general consensus on their indigenous status. Cognizant of the fact that the Bedouin’s turn to an indigenous peoples’ subjectivity and rights is a brilliant or risky move, this leaves us with the question as to why this particular international legal framework are chosen and prioritized over other applicable frameworks such as human rights, minority rights, or the rights of internally displaced persons as well as Israeli domestic law. What ought to become apparent is that international law is characterized by its limitations, tension and friction but also generates new possibilities, subjectivities and discourses. The international legal framework of indigenous peoples is no different.

Ivana IsalovicEmile Noël Fellow, New York University
Ivana.picture 

My research addresses the transnationalization of family law with a special focus on the interplay between law and identity formation and marginalization. Parts of my research are published in collective books and the Suffolk Journal of Transnational Law. Before joining McGill, I was a post-doctoral fellow at Université libre de Bruxelles, where I helped create a human rights clinic working with trans communities and global reproductive rights activists. I hold a PhD from Sciences Po Paris and was a doctoral visiting researcher at NYU law school. I organized several collective interdisciplinary conferences: I was the instigator and the main coordinator of the Law and Boundaries Project -- a student run critical legal conference at Sciences Po Paris (2012-2013-2014), I organized a conference on transnational law and social justice at the LSE (June 2015) a critical conference on human rights (“Getting closure: human rights after human rights, ULB, May 2015) and a roundtable on transnational abortion rights gathering activists and scholars (ULB, April 2015).

Read more on Ivana here

Country of Origin: Serbia/France

Country of Residence: Canada

Institutional Affiliation: McGill Faculty of Law

Current position: Boulton Teaching Fellow

Research project title: Same-sex marriage: a transnational reform

The project is part of broader research project on the transnationalization of family law. Family law is usually perceived as a domestic and private field of study. Globalization processes however call into question this description. The research seeks to problematize these divides while also reflecting on the normative effects of the changes. 

More specifically, the project -- which I intend to present at the workshop in July -- seeks to examine the ways in which legal actors have used human rights in order to define the reform domestically and points to some of the side effects of such strategy. In order to examine this point, the project will draw on the study of the French reform, and legal processes which led to the adoption of the reform in 2013.

 

Jhuma SenAssistant Professor at Jindal Global Law School
Jhuma 

Jhuma Sen is an Assistant Professor at Jindal Global Law School at O.P. Jindal Global University where she is also the Assistant Director, at the Centre for Human Rights Studies (CHRS). She teaches and writes on gender, citizenship, constitutionalism and international law.  Prior to her academic career, Jhuma obtained an undergraduate law degree in India (Pune) and a postgraduate law degree in the USA (Berkeley) as an American Association of University Women’s International Fellow, and practiced at the Supreme Court of India where she represented survivors of sexual harassment at workplace, honour crimes and sexual minorities. Jhuma is currently also working on a project on the 1947 Partition and the Humanitarian and Demographic Consequence, undertaken by the South Asia Institute, Harvard University. She has published at Harvard Asia Quarterly, NUJS Journal of Indian Law and Policy, Jindal Global Law Review and Oxford Journal of Socio-Legal Review (forthcoming). She has also held visiting scholarships and fellowships at Cornell University Law School (2015), Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights (ECI) at the University of Helsinki (2014) and the National University of Singapore (2012). Jhuma was a Transnational Law Summer Institute Fellow at King’s College, London, UK in 2015 and a Fellow at the Brown International Advanced Research Institute in 2015.

Read more on Jhuma here

Country of Origin: India

Country of Residence: India

Institutional Affiliation: O.P. Jindal Global University

Current Position: Assistant Professor, Jindal Global Law School & Assistant Director, Centre for Human Rights Studies

Research Project Title: The Global and Local of Feminist Law-making: Transnational Feminist Movements and Regulating the ‘Gendered’ Workplace

Keywords: International law; transnational feminist movements; labour law; workplace regulation; sexual harassment at workplace; CEDAW; governance feminism.

Research summary

The relationship between feminism and internationalism has been distinctly a contested one with global and local questions complicating the entangled situatedness of each other. On this contested site, the central thesis of my research is twofold. First, I try to locate the politics of transnational feminist movements in the 80s and 90s and trace the trajectory of global-local transplant of sexual harassment at workplace laws in India. Second, my research also interrogates the transformative potential of such transnational feminist movement on the contested space of institutionalisation of feminist politics in the rubric of a neoliberal order. The feminist legal movement around sexual harassmentat the workplace, beginning with the absorption of CEDAW in the Vishakha judgment and culminating in the enactment of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013, forms the frame of reference of the argument in the first part, whereas the second part consists of the dual project of first locating the landscapes of antagonism of feminist politics in neoliberal times, and second, probing if the feminist goals are being subordinated to the institutional goals operating under a neoliberal order in the positioning of the Sexual Harassment at Workplace Laws in India. Together, my research attempts to understand the shifting imagery of the feminist law making ‘site’ in the global and the local and interrogate how that shift/transplant reimagines the ‘workplace’ globally and locally.

Marium JabynPhD Student, University of Waikato
Marium Jabyn 

Marium Jabyn’s field of research is international human rights law, feminist legal theory, women’s rights under Islamic law and clinical legal education. She obtained her LLB degree from the Maldives College of Higher Education (Maldives National University) and her LLM, with a concentration in International law and human rights, from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, U.S.A.    
Jabyn is the youngest Permanent Secretary (PS) to be appointed in the Maldives. From 2009 Dec to 2012 Feb, she served as the PS to the Attorney General’s Office and was responsible for the formulation and implementation of policies relevant to the Attorney General’s Office and the recruitment of staff at all levels. During her service, she served on multiple government boards and as the Chairperson of the Legal Subcommittee of the Civil Services Commission. Prior to the PS appointment, she worked as a lecturer and head of law department for the Faculty of Shari’ah and Law, Maldives National University. 
Amongst the most noteworthy of her work includes creating, all for the first time, a general cadre of legal professional personnel within the civil services, a separate cadre of legal professional personnel for the Attorney General’s Office and the implementation of a Performance Appraisal system with in the Attorney General’s Office. She also drafted the first Common Core document for the Maldives in 2008 and the first National Human Rights Action Plan in 2007. She has extensively presented papers on international law and human rights, and more recently focusing on her PhD theme - women’s right to public life and the global challenges for the international human rights frameworks, in the Maldives, Canada and New Zealand. She has also recently co-authored a book chapter on the possibilities for introducing clinical legal education in the Maldives. 
She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, U.S Visitor Leadership Award, Commonwealth Scholarship, and a number of smaller grants by Te Piringa – Faculty of Law, the University of Waikato, where she is currently in the final year of her PhD studies. In the Maldives, she has also been the recipient of a Presidential Award for academic excellence (First place, LL.B). At Waikato, she is serving her second year as the PG member on the Faculty Board of Studies.

Read more on Marium here

Country of Origin: Maldives

Country of Residence: New Zealand

Institutional Affiliation: University of Waikato, New Zealand

Current Position: PhD Candidate

Research Project Title: Local Implications of International Human Rights Treaties: The Impact of a CEDAW Right to Public Life

Keywords: international human rights law, CEDAW, women, gender, local and global forces

Research summary

In exploring whether ratification to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) has had a positive effect on women’s rights, the PhD research entitled “Local Implications of International Human Rights Treaties: The Impact of a CEDAW Right to Public Life”, analysed the impact of a CEDAW right to public life on women’s participation in decision-making in the Maldives. The methodology involved a document analysis to measure how formal rights has developed since CEDAW and maps it with the actual experience of ‘rights in public life’ through semi-structured interviews. 
The findings demonstrated a highly gendered world, where links between political power and male leadership are seen as ‘natural’ and ‘fitting’ and women are seen as a better fit in junior administrative roles. Similar to other studies, this study also confirms that local culture, politics and domestic approaches to international norm enforcement must consider the ‘local’ and its engagements with international human rights mechanisms. It also strongly indicated that ineffective treaty mechanisms and the inability of the CEDAW Committee to adequately measure ‘a right to public life’ significantly affects the success of CEDAW within domestic systems. 
The description and analysis from this study could be transferred and appropriately applied in the identification of issues around the limited implementation of a right to public life. Moreover, the factors that are discovered in this study have importance not only for women, but also for other marginalized groups.

 

Mary Spiers WilliamsLecturer, Australian National University
Mary Spiers Williams 

While at Law School, Mary was a researcher in the Sydney Institute of Criminology, and after her admission practiced primarily in criminal law as well as other areas of public interest and community sector law. She has practiced in remote and regional areas of New South Wales and central Australia for Aboriginal and mainstream legal aid services as well as a stint prosecuting in the Office of the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions. In 1998, Mary was appointed to the Criminal Appeals Unit of the NSW Legal Aid Commission in Sydney, appearing in the Court of Criminal Appeal and High Court of Australia. During this time she began lecturing in criminal law at the University of Sydney Law School. From here she was seconded as senior policy officer to the Criminal Law Review Division in the NSW Attorney General's Department, a specialist criminal law policy and advising unit. Mary has worked in Aboriginal community development, focussing on law and justice projects, primarily with Warlpiri communities and Alice Springs Town Camps residents. The justice projects included facilitation of the Yuendumu Community Courts (Circle Sentencing) and conducting legal education in relation to civil rights and legal responsibilities. Mary has lectured in criminal law, evidence and advocacy, sentencing law, the sociology of punishment and criminology. She has taught at the law schools of the Universities of Sydney, Adelaide, and NSW, and ANU, and the School of Criminology at Monash University

Read more on Mary here

Country of Origin: Australia

Country of Residence: Australia

Institutional Affiliation: Australian National University

Current Position: Lecturer

Research Project Title: Legal concepts of culture and their effect on sentencing

Research summary

My doctoral research is a sociolegal analysis of sentencing law that focuses closely on the development of a legal concept of 'culture' and how this affects the sentencing law in the Northern Territory of Australia and the social field. The findings of this analysis invite a reexamination of sentencing principles and their legislative reformulation, that demands a fundamental re-imagining of the way we that we 'think' and 'do' sentencing, where invisible principles are made visible and capable fo being dispensed with or enhanced, and methodology is fore fronted as a mechanism for better achieving justice outcomes.

 

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