The Applications for the 2014 IGLP Collaborative Research Grants have closed - Thanks to all who applied.  Application decisions will be announced in early April. 

The IGLP Collaborative Research Grant Program is designed to provide modest funding to small groups of young scholars who are seeking to carry out substantive research on projects related to the core research mission of the IGLP. All projects funded through this Program would be promoted as sponsored Research Initiatives of the Institute for Global Law and Policy at Harvard Law School.

The IGLP encourages the development of progressive and alternative ideas about international law, society and political economy by supporting original, provocative and challenging intellectual work that might not otherwise find support from mainstream institutional resources and that contributes to the emergence of new approaches to international law and global social justice. Through this Research Grants Program, we seek to facilitate innovative group research and writing projects in these fields, and deepen the network of collaboration among our HLS Graduate Students, IGLP Workshop alumni, and IGLP faculty. IGLP Collaborative Research Grants are designed for small teams of two or more scholars and typically range from $500 – $5000 per group, per year. Applications are open to current Harvard Law School students and IGLP Workshop Alumni. Preference is given to groups whose ideas or projects emerged out of the IGLP’s Annual Workshop on Global Law and Economic Policy.

Applications from groups seeking to carry out their research are reviewed on a rolling basis.  Applications should include a description (1-3 pages or 500-1500 words) of the research proposal, a budget for the project, and the curriculum vitae for each scholar affiliated with the project. Applications will be reviewed after all of the necessary information has been received. Please click here to submit your application. If you have questions, please send an email to

Current IGLP Alumni Collaborative Research Initiatives include:

Critical Approaches to International Criminal Law – Organized by Michelle Burgis (Australia), Paul Kingsley Clark (UK), Tor Krever ‎(Australia), Heidi Matthews (Canada), John Reynolds (Ireland) and Christine Schwobel (Germany). ‎

The field of International Criminal Law (ICL) has recently experienced a significant surge in scholarship, in institutions, and in the public debate. The contemporary debate is predominantly focused on ICL’s contribution to projects of justice, peace, legality, addressing impunity and accountability. While there are individual sites of critique, they are largely limited to effectiveness arguments: If the International Criminal Court is not functioning as well as it could be, then it must be made more effective; if peace is not yet achieved through tackling impunity, then there must be more accountability. This limited critique has fostered a seemingly self-congratulatory, uncritical, and over-confident area of international law which has marginalised deeper critical approaches.

What is missing from the mainstream debate are the possible complicities of ICL in injustice, conflict, exclusions, and biases. Arguably, the numerous conferences this year on the topic of the 10-year anniversary of the coming into force of the Rome Statute are largely a testament to this limited critique. Through this project the organizers hope to shift the debate towards such complicities and limitations in the contemporary understanding of ICL and to question some of the assumptions which inform the field and which may cause injustice, conflict, exclusion and bias.

The Organizers hosted a conference on Critical Approaches to International Criminal Law at the University of Liverpool School of Law and Social Justice on December 6-7, 2012.  They have also formed the CAICL Research Network,  a collaborative project that brings together scholars who share an interest in critical approaches to International Criminal Law.  For more information, please visit their website: www.caicl.netMore information can be found on our Network News page or by contacting Christine Schwobel at

Turf and Texture: Narrating the Legal International - Organized by Lucas Lixinski (Brazil), Nikolas M. Rajkovic (Canada), and Surabhi Ranganathan (India)

Current debates in international law seem to be informed by different narratives about what the international legal order “is” or “should be.”  These narratives inform the way in which we perceive and articulate international law; attempting to explain alleged convergences and divergences of international legal rules and institutions. Dominant approaches in the narration of the legal international include familiar labels such as “global administrative law”, “the constitutionalization of international law”, “international legal pluralism”, and “the fragmentation of international law”.

Each of these approaches brings something different to the table, but little work has been done in scrutinizing the contribution of these narratives to an idea of the “legal international”. Particularly, limited analysis exists comparing these narratives, as well as applying them across specific specialized regimes, so as to assess the impact of each of them in the understanding of these regimes. This project aims at understanding these processes and evaluating the contribution of these overarching narratives to positive international law.

The Organizers plan to host a Workshop in the Spring of 2013 at the University of Cambridge to explore these themes and expect to produce an edited volume of essays that will serve as a critical introduction to different ways of thinking about, describing and designing international law.

Global Law in Context - Organized by Luis Eslava (Colombia) (Melbourne Law School), Vanja Hamzic (Bosnia & Herzegovina) (City University London), Vidya Kumar (Canada) (University of Birmingham), Yoriko Otomo (Australia) (SOAS), and Henrique Carvalho (Brazil) (King’s College London).

The aim of this project is to generate an introductory undergraduate textbook with the underlying theme, ‘Global Law in Context.’ The book would be targeted to law students around the world and would offer fresh and underexplored perspectives on global law, as they relate to the core law subjects (property, contracts, administrative law, criminal law, constitutional law, corporate law, international arbitration law, labor law, family law, international law, human rights law, environmental law, etc).

Additionally, our project responds to the inadequate amount of attention current global law texts pay to the rich variety of ways in which law is being produced, globalised and used across jurisdictions, scales of governance and social contexts. Accordingly, each chapter in ‘Global Law in Context’ will explore the plurality of mechanisms, rationalities, epistemologies, approaches, legal concepts and institutional arrangements that give a global shape to each particular legal field. In our view, it is important to place legal subjects and institutions within a broader historical, social, economic and political context than is presently the case; to discover how they are framed and experienced from outside the Global North; and to understand the sociology of absences (i.e. what is missing from existing accounts and why?) that animates current accounts of global law. The image that will emerge from these explorations will provide an understanding of how global law is being constituted both as a new subject of knowledge and as a mode of practice and reasoning. At the same time, it will become clear from the chapters of the book how different legal fields have been constituted for a long time as sites for the reproduction, as well as contestation, of ‘global’ political, economic and social forces. In so doing, we aim to examine how existing (and emerging) understandings of global law build on, reinforce, and conflict with the competing conceptions of law and globalization which are used to characterize the relationship between the Global North, Global South and elsewhere. As a result, our textbook aims to provide a critical understanding of the porous and multifaceted construction of global law in order to discover openings, fissures, and opportunities where resistance to the reproduction of relations of domination occur.

Our textbook ‘Global law in Context’ will be followed by a companion collection of essays entitled ‘Global Law: Problems and Promises of a Concept’. This collection of essays constitutes the second major outcome of our project. The material for this book will be collected from commissioned essays and papers presented in a workshop conducted in the Global South. The essays collected in this book will analyzing key crosscutting issues on global law. Our target audience for this second book are undergraduate and postgraduate students with an interest on Global Law, junior and senior scholars, as well as policymakers and practitioners working in this field.

Locating Nature: Making and Unmaking International Law - Organized by Usha Natarajan (Australia), Sergio Latorre (Colombia) and Tyler McCreary (Canada)

This project brings together alternative and critical viewpoints to publish a collective work on the relationship between international law and the environment. Environmental change and resource scarcity have emerged as existential threats in recent years. While international lawyers have focused on disciplinary solutions to the challenge of ecological change, less attention is given to the role of international law in creating scarcity and unsustainability. Environmental issues are usually relegated to the disciplinary periphery, as part of the specialized and embryonic field of international environmental law. This project explores instead how understandings of nature shaped seminal international law concepts. In this sense, the environment remains a determinative factor in shaping the nature of international law, and assumptions about nature lie at the heart of disciplinary concepts such as sovereignty, development, property and human rights. The organizers share an intuition that understanding and unpacking assumptions about nature will help us think our way out of destructive development patterns. The organizers plan to host a one-day workshop for expert feedback on works-in-progress in June of 2013 at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, MA, with the end result of producing a group of articles published in a special issue of an international law journal on the themes of the relationship between international law and the natural environment; connections between the natural and the social; overcoming barriers to addressing environmental concerns; and going beyond an instrumental understanding of the environment. 

Rethinking Political Economy - Organized by Jason Jackson (USA) and Anush Kapadia (USA)

This project seeks to address the narrow nature of the academic and policy discourse around the socioeconomic and governance challenges we face, perhaps best epitomized by the financial crisis, but also in long-standing debates on economic development and global governance.

It seeks to promote new thinking on economic governance that takes into account issues such as the distributional implications of the crisis and the ways in which the response was constructed through political contestation, rather than the dominant (depoliticized) view of these being technocratic outputs from “experts.”

Through a series of workshops and conferences, the organizers seek to create a space where young scholars from across different disciplines who share similar views can come together to work collaboratively on issues of political economy, and collaborate on scholarly writing for publication.

Pursuing your Enemies in the South: International Law and the War against Crime and Terror - Organized by Arnulf Becker Lorca (Chile), Justin Desautels-Stein (USA), John Haskell (USA), Akbar Rasulov (Scotland), and Vik Kanwar (India)

This Research Initiative has its beginnings in a series of meeting held at the IGLP Workshop in June, 2012.  At that time, the organizers met with several other non-European scholars in an attempt to begin a conversation about the transformations currently at work in the international laws of terrorism, crime, and war.  After the completion of the Workshop, the participants agreed to start work on chapters to be included in a new volume, grappling in different ways with the subject matter.

The old image of a battlefield packed with regular combatants in uniform is certainly a war image of a bygone era. New military technologies and the proliferation of armed conflicts between states and hostile non-state actors have blurred the delimitation of the battlefield and the distinction between combatants and civilians. War experts have for a long time recognized these changes and discussed its implications for military strategy, policy as well as law. Legal experts have explored the tensions between the new forms and goals of warfare and the traditional law of war, namely the public international law regime regulating and limiting interstate war. Does the prohibition to use armed force include force against non-state actors? Do laws regulating the conduct of hostilities between states – the immunity to kill associated to the POW status, for instance – apply to non-international armed conflict?

There is no consensus on the legality of the use of force against hostile non-state actors in the territory of another state. International lawyers are divided between those advancing an expansive reading of the law of war which regards this type of military intervention lawful, and those supporting a restrictive interpretation which considers these interventions unlawful. The former view is mostly articulated by international lawyers interpreting the law from the point of view of Western states with strategic interests and military capabilities to pursue their enemies by using armed force beyond their own frontiers. The United States, for example, has used irregular ground forces as well as drone attacks against hostile non-state actors; against Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Yemen and against criminal organizations in Mexico.

On the other hand, a restrictive interpretation of the law of war is mostly advanced by international lawyers situated at the Western centers of the globe who see the law from the perspective of the interest of the international community. It is remarkable, however, that there is no view interpreting rules and balancing policy objectives in light of the interests and the position of weaker states of the semi-periphery, states that are most commonly affected by the type of military intervention this article investigates. This book will attempt to fill this gap.

After a successful meeting among the organizers and other contributors held at the University of Glasgow in January 2013, the group plans to present its current work at the 2013 IGLP Conference.  The organizers hope for the project to culminate in an edited volume, to be published at the end of 2013 or early 2014.

Before and After Method: Histories and Sociologies of International Law – Organized by John Haskell (USA), Alejandro Lorite Escorihuela (Finland), Umut Özsu (Canada), and Akbar Rasulov (Scotland)

The organizers are planning a two-year project on the methodologies of international legal scholarship. The basic idea around which they intend to organize this project can be summarized most succinctly as an attempt to “sociologize” the enterprise of international legal historiography. The recent turn to history in international legal scholarship has generated a significant degree of theoretical reflection, with issues of Eurocentrism and centre-periphery relations receiving increasingly sophisticated consideration. Nevertheless, only a limited number of works in recent international legal studies have sought to engage directly and critically with methodologies developed by intellectual historians, economic historians, historical sociologists, and critical social theorists. The organizers aim to rectify this state of affairs. Broaching international legal history as a field of competing projects driven by rival visions of world order and state sovereignty, this enterprise will contribute to the increasingly self-reflexive literature on the sociology of international legal thought and practice. While each participant will be invited to prepare a paper that analyzes a particular jurist, school, doctrine, or tradition in its socio-historical context, one of the ultimate purposes of the project will be to advance a broader argument about the methodologies of international legal scholarship.

The organizers plan to convene a small, tightly structured workshop to discuss draft papers in Cambridge, MA in June 2013 and a subsequent UK-based workshop. The project’s ultimate objective is to have revised versions of the papers published in the form of a broadly interconnected set of essays by a leading academic publisher.

Critical Approaches to Human Rights - Organized by Aziza Ahmed (USA), Michelle Burgis-Kasthala (Australia), and Zinaida Miller (USA)

The purpose of this project is to examine critical approaches to human rights with an eye towards understanding where and how the critiques have become absorbed into mainstream human rights work without significant transformation of the field. Despite a plethora of sustained critique, little evidence exists for significant shifts within mainstream human rights theory and practice. In response to this impasse, the organizers propose convening two workshops to provide an opportunity to rethink and re-examine these critiques in relation to the current moment in human rights. The project seeks to bring together junior scholars for a critical reading of key critical texts on human rights in September 2013, followed by a workshop with senior scholars to discuss draft papers for an edited volume or special journal issue.