Announcements: Workshop in Budapest–Imagining the Future; Workshop in Reykjavik

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1. Imagining the Future: Conceptions of Risk and the Regulation of Uncertainty in International Law – Institute for Legal Studies, Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary, 17 – 19 October, 2014. Increasingly, international legal arrangements imagine future worlds, or create space for experts to articulate how the future can be conceptualized and managed. With the increased specialization of international law, a series of functional regimes and sub-regimes has emerged, each with their own imageries, vocabularies, expert-knowledge and rules to translate our hopes and fears for the future into action in the present. At issue in the development of these regimes are not just competing predictions of the future based on what we know about what has happened in the past and what we know is happening in the present. Rather, these regimes seek to deal with futures about which we know very little or nothing at all; futures that are inherently uncertain and even potentially catastrophic; futures for which we need to find ways to identify, conceptualise, manage and regulate risks the existence of which we can possibly only speculate about. In short, international law is increasingly becoming the preserve of HG Wells’ ‘professors of foresight’. The central theme of this workshop is how the future is imagined, articulated and managed across functional fields in international law. The deadline for abstract proposals is 1 June 2014. More information on this project and contact details can be found here and here.

2. Call for Papers – The Changing Practices of International Law: Sovereignty, Law and Politics in a Globalising World, Reykjavik, 27-29 August 2014. This interdisciplinary workshop explores this paradox of international legalisation increasing the room for political manoeuvre in international relations by examining how the proliferation of legal regimes and its various mechanisms are utilized by sovereign states to bolster political positions and barter off responsibilities under international law. We invite papers that analyse how the increasing role of international law in international relations both changes the obligations of states but equally provides the backdrop for “creative legal thinking” and governmental strategies to instrumentalise legal discourse and/or design policies to circumvent or shift legal obligations otherwise owed. Read the full call for papers here.


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