Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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Idols

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I wrote this poem around the time the statue of Colston was thrown into the river in Bristol. I think I was spurred to write it because I have always been a bit flummoxed by peoples’ attachment to bits of stone and steel. (This consternation is something I had already written about a few years ago. I called the poem below “Idols,” and it was one of those things that I wrote and thought I would come back to finish later. However, I completely forgot about it after that first draft was finished in 2020. So, it languished in my notes folder from 2020 till 2024 when I stumbled across it completely by accident. I realised that my thoughts on this have remained the same. So I have brushed it up and here it is. I hope it resonates with you too.

20 Contemporary African Novels as Pedagogical Material

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The sixth annual conference of Forever Africa Conference and Events, held on the 7th of June 2023. It was an Africa Research Day which aimed to bring together students and staff at the University of Bristol for a day focused on sharing research, reflecting on approaches to teaching Africa within the University and elsewhere, as well as sharing advice on careers in Africa-focused research. As such, the day consisted of 3 panels focused around: research presentations from Bristol staff outlining the research they undertake in/on/of Africa; a roundtable on Teaching Africa in UK Higher Education; as well as in African institutions with input from University of Bristol academics and external speakers; and finally a panel on various careers in African Research. During the Teaching Africa panel, one of the things we talked about (raised by Dr Afua Twum-Danso Imoh) was the value of fiction written by contemporary African writers for doing this teaching about Africa. In response, I have written this short list of 20+ suggestions which includes two travelogues.

Law, Necropolitics and Possible Worlds Otherwise: Contemplating an end to the art of structural death

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I had been interested in writing about necropolitics for a long while. So, when Thomas Giddens and Luca Siliquini-Cinelli sent out a call to papers for the Biopolitics of Legal Education collection, it could only be described as exceedingly timely. This gave me an opportunity to write about the nature and role of the legal education in the (re)production of the current state of the world. The resulting chapter was: “Educating for the End of a Necropolitical World: What Happens Beyond Decolonisation in Legal Education?” In Biopolitics and Resistance in Legal Education, pp. 9-23. Routledge, 2023. In this blog post, I recount and contextualise some of the arguments in that chapter. If you would like a copy of the chapter, please let me know.

Paul Robeson’s Legacy on my Thoughts on Decolonisation & Law: Talk delivered at SLSA 2021 Plenary

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Below is the text of my talk which was part of a Plenary session at SLSA 2021. In that year, the annual conference of The Socio-Legal Studies Association was hosted by Cardiff Law School and due to the COVID-19 pandemic held entirely online. The second plenary roundtable at the conference was titled “Decolonizing the Law School – Lessons from the Life and Work of Paul Robeson.” Through our talks, Professor Penelope Andrews, Professor Daniel Williams, and myself explored challenges to legal professionalism and legal education through the frame of Paul Robeson’s immense life and work as a recovering lawyer and talented performer, all the while fighting racial and class injustice in Wales, the USA and globally. I reproduce most of the text of my talk below. (Readers of Decolonisation and Legal Knowledge will recognise some of the ideas as they were developing) The YouTube recording of it is at the end of the text.

Black Agenda Report Book Forum: Decolonisation and Legal Knowledge

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This interview was originally published in the Black Agenda Report Book Forum on the 2nd of November 2022. In it I answer some questions about Decolonisation and Legal Knowledge: Reflections on Power and Possibility. I found it a very useful avenue so soon after I had finished writing the book – to step back and reflect on some of its central themes. Enjoy.

Reviews of “Decolonisation and Legal Knowledge.”

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My book Decolonisation and Legal Knowledge: Reflections on Power and Possibility was published by Bristol University Press in March of 2023. I have written about the contents on the blog and elsewhere a couple of times. See for example here, and here and here and also here. This blog post contains reviews by other people. I will keep it updated as the reviews come in. Here are the reviews below.

Relegislating the Zong from the perspective of the sea: What does it mean to live in the devastation of time?

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The starting point of this essay is my work on decolonisation and the law, which of course includes the monograph, Decolonisation and Legal Knowledge. But majorly this is a reflection on the ideas behind my chapter “The Sea Casts Its Net of Justice Wide: A Speculative Judgment for What Has Been Left to the Waters of Despair.” In The Anthropocene Judgments Project, pp. 59-71. Routledge, 2023. In that chapter I use [among others] the frameworks of Black/African Science Fiction, Indigenous Knowledge, Earth Laws, and anticolonial logics, to imagine the sea and its inhabitants as central to the legal imaginary.  I take the case Gregson v Gilbert (1783), as my starting point, to consider what justice for environmental damage could look like from the perspective of the ocean. The aim of that reflection is to address a question I continue to return to in my work: are the tools we currently have in legal knowledge sufficient to achieve justice in the present? This has involved taking a critical look at the nature of Euro-modern law that emerges from the ongoing project of colonial exploitation and its entangled afterlives. Or to put it differently, how does the law answer the question of what it means to live in the devastation of time – evidenced by global inequality, over exploitation, continuing racial injustice and environmental disaster.

Decolonising Catering in UK Universities: An often elusive quest for good Jollof and Dodo

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The sixth annual conference of Forever Africa Conference and Events (FACE), was held on the 7th of June 2023. It was an Africa Research Day which aimed to bring together students and staff at the University of Bristol for a day focused on sharing research, and reflecting on approaches to teaching Africa within the University and elsewhere, as well sharing advice on careers in Africa-focused research. At the event we had an “African-inspired” lunch. This was a version of Jollof rice made by the university’s approved caterers. The feedback was that it was very good. I myself enjoyed it. However, I must say that in my experience organising and attending African conferences in the UK, one of the most tricky aspects has been getting the food right. This speaks to a larger and unfortunate attitude of Universities around international cuisine. This is especially grating in institutions that claim to be internationalising, promoting diversity or even to be decolonial. In this blog post, I reflect on these experiences and explain why it is important to be able to find or provide edible Jollof (and other international food) in UK HE.

Decolonisation, Anti-Racism, and Legal Pedagogy: Strategies, Successes, and Challenges – Out Now!

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In 2021, I, Suhraiya Jivraj and Ntina Tzouvala undertook a project to curate pedagogical perspectives on teaching legacies of empire in law schools across different continents. The result was an edited collection with a specific focus on post- and decolonial thought as well as on anti-racist methods in pedagogy. Decolonisation, Anti-Racism, and Legal Pedagogy: Strategies, Successes, and Challenges. Taylor & Francis, 2023.

With contributions from diverse jurisdictions, including India, South Africa, Australia, and Canada, the volume aims to critically examine the ways that decolonisation and anti-racism can be innovated in legal pedagogy. We hoped to demonstrate how teaching can be modified and adapted to address long-standing colonial and racial injustice in the curriculum. For more on our initial vision for the volume, see the original call for papers.

2023: Wading Through Necropolitical Sludge

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Happy New Year and welcome to 2024! Followers of this blog will know that it is my usual practice at the start of each year to publish an annual summary of the previous year – with a focus on my activity on the blog. I also mention any other outputs, like publications, social media posts and videos. I have written this sort of summary each year since 2016. Ultimately, this is my way of taking stock of each year, both in terms of what I put out there, and the “out there” that I put the work into. This year’s round up and my activity on the blog in the previous year has been much reduced for many reasons: burnout, twitter’s decline and witnessing annihilation. As such, the annual summary itself is short, but I will conclude some thoughts on law and the persistence of annihilation in its name.