The field of Socio-Legal studies summons our inquiry towards the role of law in society, and the intersections between law and society. As a cross-disciplinary field, it opens the door to varied perspectives from the social sciences, which over the last century have expanded in increasingly critical directions through the development of new fields including Feminism, Marxism, Postmodernist, and Postcolonial thought. These schools of thought have profoundly influenced scholarly work in the social sciences, advancing scholarship beyond traditional, modernist constructions and categories. As we strive to utilize social sciences for the study of law and society we must keep up to date with these critical, ground-breaking or challenging approaches that might expand our thoughts and understanding.
In Trinity term, the Postcolonial Theory and the Law in Society reading group will examine the contributions and influences made by Postcolonial theory toward understandings of law and society, as well as law and public affairs. Postcolonial Theory may not be explained by one specific definition or cohesive set of principles, but rather entails a continuous process of critical examination that challenges power constructions of the colonial project and their historical, temporal or ideological implications. Elham Fakhro will start us off with a discussion of Edward Said's work Orientalism (1976), reflecting on the influence of his ideas on understandings of sexual identity in the Middle East. Pedro Fortes will cannibalise Said's insights to discuss global legal education. Maayan Ravid will conclude the evening with a return to Franz Fanon's seminal work The Wretched of the Earth (1961), examining its relevance to the debate and in postmodern times. All of this will be used to foster a dialogue on concepts of law, law in society and legal institutions.
Suggested Readings in Preparation:
Orientalism by Edward Said, 1976
Desiring Arabs by Joseph Masaad, 2007
"On Violence" in Wretched of the Earth by Franz Fanon, 1961
Elham Fakhro is a doctoral candidate at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies and a member of St Antony’s College, University of Oxford. In the past she acted as a Lecturer at the University of Bahrain and as a Researcher with organizations including the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Georgetown University, and the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry. She holds a Master of Laws from Harvard Law School and Bachelor of Laws from the University of London.
Pedro Fortes is an associate professor of law at FGV Law School (Rio de Janeiro) and is currently reading for a DPhil at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, Oxford. He holds a LLB (UFRJ), a BA in Business (PUC-Rio), a LLM (Harvard) and a JSM (Stanford). His publications include the chapter 'A Brave New Post-Colonial World: Decolonising Legal Education' (in Portuguese), based on a talk delivered at WB NUJS Faculty Workshop in Kolkata, India, when he was a visiting professor there at the Monsoon Semester of 2009.
Maayan Ravid is currently reading for an MSt in Socio Legal Research at Oxford’s Centre for Socio Legal Studies, and is a co-convener of the Law and Public Affairs Discussion Group. She obtained her BA in Political Science and African history from Tel Aviv University, where she also worked as a Teaching and Research assistant at the Political Science Department. Simultaneous to her academic work and studies Maayan was involved in grassroots organizing and activism alongside African migrant communities in Israel from Ethiopia, Sudan and Eritrea. Her current work examines conceptions of African Asylum Seekers in Israel.