Re-(en)activating Aimé Césaire's tragedies: Writing 'theatrical histories' of postcolonial sovereignty

Date & time

1–2pm Tuesday 14 August 2018


Phillipa Weeks Staff Library

ANU College of Law, 5 Fellows Road, The Australian National University


Dr Adil Hasan Khan, McKenzie Fellow, Melbourne Law School


For interstate visitors, we offer suggestions for accommodation near ANU.


Nicole Harman
College seminar
Event image
Posthumous portrait of Toussaint L'Ouverture

Through an engagement with the Haitian Revolution plays and historical biographies penned by the Martinique anticolonial playwright, poet, activist and politician, Aimé Césaire (1913-2008), the talk will attempt to make a case for (and draw out lessons in) the writing/staging of 'theatrical histories' by international lawyers. It will argue that such histories best allow us to reactivate, in the postcolonial present, decolonizations past, which might help us to both inherit their vital legacies but also to disrupt their more poisonous bequests, in particular by illuminating the (catastrophic) paradox of postcolonial sovereignty.


  • Dr Adil Hasan Khan »

    Dr Adil Hasan Khan is currently a McKenzie Fellow at the Melbourne Law School, where his research seeks to explore the intersections between international law and disasters, with a focus on South Asia.

    He completed his PhD in  International Studies, with a specialisation in International Law and a minor in Anthropology and Sociology of Development, at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) in Geneva. 

    His doctoral dissertation, titled Inheriting Persona: Narrating the Conduct of Third World International Lawyers, narrates the conduct of two generations of Third World international lawyers in their struggles to reimagine, re-found, and alternatively authorise international law, and identifies the defining struggle of the Third World in international law as being over temporal transmissions or inheritance.

    His research straddles the fields of law and theatre, postcolonial jurisprudence, international law and development and, international legal histories of the South. He was a Residential Institute Fellow at the Institute for Global Law and Policy (IGLP), Harvard Law School during 2016–17 and a Junior Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM), Vienna in 2015-16.

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