Dr Luis Eslava

Senior Lecturer in International Law


Luis teaches and researches in the areas of International Law, International Legal Theory and History, International Development, International Human Rights Law, Comparative Public Law, Anthropology of International Law, Global Governance and Global Political Economy, and Urban Law and Politics. Luis is an active member of the network Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL).
Bringing together insights from anthropology, history and legal and social theory, his work focuses on the multiple ways in which international norms, aspirations and institutional practices, both old and new, come to shape and become part of our everyday life, arguing that closer critical attention needs to be paid to this co-constitutive relationship between international law ‘up there’ and life ‘down here’.
In this spirit, his publications advance a series of new methodological parameters and applied case studies that aim to shed light on the simultaneously ideological and material, ground-level work that is done, each day, by international law, inviting the reader, in turn, to question what our response to it should be.
Luis is also a Senior Fellow at Melbourne Law School, an International Professor at Universidad Externado de Colombia, and a core member of the teaching faculty at Harvard Law School’s Institute for Global Law and Policy.
Luis is also a Co-Director of International Law and Politics Collaborative Research Network at the Law and Society Association (LSA) and a member of the editorial boards of Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development; the Latin American Law Review; and Contexto: Revista de Derecho Económico.
To read more about Luis' research, you can visit his Beyond KLS page.

Research Interests

International Law
International Legal Theory and History
International Development
International Human Rights Law
Comparative Public Law
Anthropology of International Law
Global Governance
Urban Law and Politics

Recent and Current Projects include:

International Development - together with Sundhya Pahuja (Melbourne Law School) and Ruth Buchanan (Osgoode), Luis is co-authoring a book on international development, to be published as part of the Routledge-Cavendish Critical Approaches to Law series.
Imperial Locations – together with Liliana Obregón and Martti Koskenniemi, Luis co-edited a Symposium on Imperial Locations in the Leiden Journal of International Law in 2018. This symposium brought together a series of cutting edge explorations of the extremely dynamic and broad operation of imperialism and international law, taking as starting points of their analysis post-independent Haiti, the invasion of Iraq, Fascist colonial architecture in Libya, the first official use of cinematography for the late colonial project in East and Central Africa and the establishment of Tianjin.
Inclusionary Practices Project – as part of an international collaboration lead by Kent Law School, Luis is working with Lina Fernanda Buchely Ibarra (ICESI, Cali, Colombia) on a join project that examines new discourses and practices around the management of petty crime and criminals in the Global South. The first outcome of this project is a paper entitled ‘Security and Development? A Story about Petty Crime, the Petty State and its Petty Law’, forthcoming in Revista de Estudios Sociales.
The 60th Anniversary of Bandung - together with Vasuki Nesiah (NYU) and Michel Fakhri (Oregon), Luis co-edited a global volume and coordinated a series of international workshops to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the first Afro-Asian Conference, held in Bandung, Indonesia, in 1955. The project brought together a large group of international legal scholars from across the world to reflect on the Conference and its long-lasting impact. The resulting volume, Bandung, Global History and International Law: Critical Pasts and Pending Futures, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2017.
History, Anthropology and the Archive of International Law (The HAAIL Project) – together with Madelaine Chiam (Melbourne), Genevieve Painter (McGill), Rose Parfitt (Kent) and Charlotte Peevers (UTS), Luis conducted a long collaborative project that examined the analytical and methodological implications of bringing together the fields of history and anthropology for the critical study of international law. The first outcome of this collaboration is a Special Issue on the First World War in the London Review of International Law in 2017. For more information on The HAAIL Project, you can read this intervention in Critical Legal Thinking.

In recent years he has been interested in the emergence of local jurisdictions (e.g. cities and municipalities) on the international scene using an ethnographic approach. His fieldwork and writing in this area interrogates the rationale and contradictions that have accompanied such trend, using different locations in the Global South as case study. This line of work has taken me to Bogotá, Rio de Janeiro, Istanbul, and most recently to Cali.
Over the last years he has also studied the long-standing relation between international law and imperialism; the evolution of the developmental state; the emergence and expansion of the discourse of Corporate Social Responsibility; new forms of international intervention in the Global South; the reach and limits of human rights; and the changing nature of the global political economy, the international legal order, and their impact on questions of sacrality, universality, resistance, revolution and Third World engagements with international law.


Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository


  • Jones, E., Kendall, S. and Otomo, Y. (2018). Gender, War, and Technology: Peace and Armed Conflict in the Twenty-First Century. Australian Feminist Law Journal [Online] 44:1-8. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/13200968.2018.1481340.
  • Kendall, S. (2016). Unsettling Redemption: The Ethics of Intrasubjectivity in 'The Act of Killing'. MediaTropes 6:22-44.
  • Kendall, S. and Nouwen, S. (2016). Speaking of Legacy Towards an Ethos of Modesty at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. American Journal of International Law [Online] 110:212-232. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.5305/amerjintelaw.110.2.0212.
  • Kendall, S. (2016). On Academic Production and the Politics of Inclusion. Leiden Journal of International Law [Online] 29:617-624. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0922156516000224.
  • Kendall, S. (2015). Commodifying Global Justice: Economies of Accountability at the International Criminal Court. Journal of International Criminal Justice [Online] 13:113-134. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jicj/mqu079.
  • Kendall, S. (2015). "Constitutional Technicity": Displacing Politics Through Expert Knowledge. Journal of Law, Culture, and Humanities [Online] 11:363-377. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1743872113496518.
  • Kendall, S. (2014). "UhuRuto" and Other Leviathans: the International Criminal Court and the Kenyan Political Order. African Journal of Legal Studies 7:.-.

Book section

  • Kendall, S. (2018). Immanent Enemies, Imminent Crimes: Targeted Killing as Humanitarian Sacrifice. In: Austin, S., Douglas, L. and Merrill Umphrey, M. eds. Criminals and Enemies. University of Massachusetts Press, pp. 130-155.
  • Kendall, S. (2017). Cartographies of the Present: 'Contingent Sovereignty' and Territorial Integrity. In: Kuijer, M. and Werner, W. eds. Netherlands Yearbook of International Law 2016. Springer, pp. 83-105. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-6265-207-1_4.
  • Kendall, S. (2016). Beyond the ICC: State Responsibility for the Arms Trade in Africa. In: Africa and the ICC: Perceptions of Justice. Cambridge University Press.
  • Kendall, S. (2016). Archiving Victimhood: Practices of Inscripton in International Criminal Law. In: Motha, S. and van Rijswijk, H. eds. Law, Memory, Violence: Uncovering the Counter-Archive. Routledge.
  • Kendall, S., De Vos, C. and Stahn, C. (2015). Introduction: Contested Justice. In: Contested Justice: The Politics and Practice of International Criminal Court Interventions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 1-20.
  • Kendall, S. (2015). Beyond the restorative turn: the limits of legal humanitarianism. In: De Vos, C., Kendall, S. and Stahn, C. eds. Contested Justice: The Politics and Practice of International Criminal Court Interventions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 352-376. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139924528.

Edited book

  • Kendall, S. (2015). Contested Justice: The Politics and Practice of International Criminal Court Interventions. [Online]. De Vos, C., Kendall, S. and Stahn, C. eds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139924528.


  • Kang, H.Y. and Kendall, S. eds. (2019). Special Issue on Legal Materiality. Law Text Culture 23.
  • Kang, H. and Kendall, S. (2019). Introduction. Law Text Culture 23.
  • Kang, H. and Kendall, S. (2019). Legal Materiality. In: del Mar, M., Meyler, B. and Stern, S. eds. Oxford Handbook for Law and Humanities. Oxford University Press.
  • Kendall, S. and Nouwen, S. (2019). International Criminal Justice and Humanitarianism. In: Oxford Handbook of International Criminal Law. Oxford University Press.
  • Kendall, S., Craven, M., Pahuja, S. and Simpson, G. (2019). Cold War International Law. Cambridge University Press.
  • Kendall, S. (2018). Inscribing the State: Constitution Drafting Manuals as Textual Technologies. Humanity.
Showing 20 of 30 total publications in KAR. [See all in KAR]