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The first installment of the “Lujia Law Global Cloud Class” series of online lectures was successfully held.

In order to promote international academic exchanges and strengthen the cultivation of foreign-related rule of law talents, the academy launched a series of online lectures on “Lujia Law Global Cloud Classroom” in March 2024, and the first phase of the lectures was successfully held on the evening of March 11th. David Kennedy, Manly Hudson Professor of Law and Director of the Institute for Global Law and Policy at Harvard Law School, and Martti Koskenniemi, Professor Emeritus at the University of Helsinki Law School, Director of the Erik Castrén Institute, and Academician of the Institute of International Law, both of whom are members of the school of critical international law, gave a lecture entitled “Of Law and the World”.

This lecture was hosted by Prof. Ignacio de la Rasilla, Han Depui Chair Professor of International Law at Wuhan University and Chief Expert of Wuhan University International Rule of Law Research Institute Team, a National High-end Think Tank, with Prof. Qu Wensheng, Dean of the Graduate School of Law and Politics of East China University of Political Science and Law, Prof. Wang Jiangyu, Director of the Center for Comparative and Chinese Law at City University of Hong Kong, Prof. Ryan Martinez Mitchell, Assoc. Mitchell, Associate Professor, and Maria Adele Carrai, Assistant Professor, New York University in Shanghai. More than two hundred teachers and students from universities and research institutions at home and abroad participated online.

At the beginning of the lecture, Prof. Feng Guo, Dean of the School, delivered a speech. Prof. Feng Guo pointed out that Wuhan University School of Law has always attached great importance to academic exchanges at home and abroad, and is committed to developing students' international vision and enriching international teaching resources. The “Lujia Law Global Cloud Classroom” series of online lectures is a high-quality cutting-edge forum initiated by Wuhan University School of Law to promote the joint discussion of cutting-edge issues in the theory and practice of the rule of law, and a number of international first-class legal experts will be invited one after another in the future, and we look forward to more experts and scholars and the active participation of the general faculty and students.

Ignacio de la Rasilla introduced the lecture which will be centered around the book Of Law and the World, published by David Kennedy and Martti Koskenniemi in 2023.

The two guest speakers chose four topics from the book About Law and the World: “Criticism and How to Think About Criticism”, “How to Understand International Law”, “International Law and Its Historical Narrative”, and “International Law and Political Economy”. “International Law and Political Economy”.

The first part of the dialogue centered on what “critique” is and where it comes from, with Koskenniemi beginning by pointing out that “critique” is not a specific, clearly defined substantive position, nor a set of ideologies, but a gesture, an attitude, a critical skepticism of international legal institutions and international legal practitioners dealing with international law materials; it is born of a personal feeling. It is a gesture, an attitude, a critical skepticism towards the materials of international law dealt with by international legal institutions and international legal personalities; it stems from a personal feeling. He suggests that “criticalists” share some “critical resources”. Kennedy endorses this view, noting that “critique” is not so much a method or school of thought as a skepticism about certain objects, such as international law, and explains why he became a critic in the context of his own specific experience: the repetitive nature of international law, in contrast to other types of material with which he has been exposed, and the fact that it is not a subject for discussion, but a subject for discussion. The repetitiveness and paucity of international law was 'unsatisfactory' compared to other types of material he had encountered, and this prompted him to look for other intellectual resources and partners with whom to discuss such issues. Similarly, Koskenniemi points to the wealth of resources that critics have at their disposal, such as structuralism, the Frankfurt School, critical theory, linguistic theory, etc., and it is these intellectual resources that make them better lawyers.

The second part of the dialogue focused on international law and its effects. Both scholars agreed that international law is a “performance”, which, according to Koskenniemi, has the effect of capitalizing on the openness of the materials of international law. Such performance does not inherently lead to changes in traditional international law, nor does it significantly affect the distribution of power among international actors. He also points out that international law as practiced at the United Nations or the International Court of Justice is only a small part of legitimacy, and Kennedy agrees, arguing that there is a plurality of legal norms in the world, and that international law is only one part of a plurality of legal norms in which the interaction of many subjects takes place in the form of law.Kennedy concludes that the plurality and legitimacy of international law lies in its role as a common language that unifies parts with particularities in a universal way. Finally, Kennedy further explores with Koskenniemi the question of the power of law, including how the local is transformed into the universal, and colonialism and hegemony.

The third part of the dialogue centered on international law and its historical narratives, with Kennedy first questioning the “continuity” of the historical narrative of international law, suggesting that there may have been a historical rupture in the development of international law that affected the understanding of international law. He further argues that the significance of the study of the history of international law is not only to understand the past, but also to question the story that international jurisprudence is telling itself. Koskenniemi also cited the interaction between the private and public spheres as an example of how critical reflection on past regimes (e.g., the relationship between sovereignty and property) is conducive to the discovery of commonalities between the past and the present. Critical reflection on past institutions (e.g., the relationship between sovereignty and property) is useful for discovering what the past has in common with the present, and thus for stimulating thinking about how to solve the problems of the world today.

In the final section, the two professors focused on the topic of “Law and Political Economy”, with Kennedy describing the way in which political economy is thought of in terms of the institutions that are relevant to the relationship between political and economic life at the global level. Building on this, Kennedy developed the story of the political economy of law by suggesting that “we think of law as a red thread that runs through what we think of as political or economic”. He further argues that thinking about political economy provides new perspectives for reflecting on international law, and Koskenniemi briefly echoes Kennedy's point, noting that the disciplines of law, politics, and economics are interconnected in the process of their development, with law at the center of much of it, and that the role of economics or politics in the world depends on the stance we take on the concept of law.

Afterwards, the four guests with the talk spoke one by one and asked questions around the speaker's book and the content of this lecture. Wensheng Qu said he was deeply inspired by the lecture and emphasized that from the perspectives of jurisdiction, territorial sovereignty and imperialism, the importance of sovereignty and jurisdiction should be raised and extraterritorial theories and practices should be re-examined in East Asia, especially from China's perspective. Wang Jiangyu found the book thought-provoking, agreed with critical international law scholars that international law is not a neutral body of knowledge but is rife with power relations, and questioned the two professors about the impact of China's rise on the international community. ryan Martinez Mitchell emphasized the pedagogical potential of the two professors' work and of this dialogic lecture, and at the same time Maria Adele Carrai, focusing on hegemony and differentiation, questioned the professors on the problems of pluralism, the impact of multipolarity on the world order, and the role of politics in the international landscape, with Kennedy and Koskenniemi responding to the questions of the interlocutors. to the questions of the interlocutors.

The “Lujia Law Global Cloud Class” series of online lectures is another innovative initiative of the School of Law to promote the internationalization of legal education, international exchange and cooperation, and the cultivation of high-quality foreign rule of law talents, focusing on the latest research results of legal theory and cutting-edge issues of legal practice by inviting the world's first-class experts and scholars in the field of law to carry out a series of lectures and seminars. By inviting world-class legal experts and scholars to carry out a series of lectures and seminars, focusing on the latest research results of legal theory and the cutting-edge issues of legal practice, the university gathers the wisdom of global jurisprudence, broadens the international horizons of teachers and students, and cultivates new-age legal talents.