Luis works in the areas of International Law, International Legal Theory and History, Anthropology of International Law, Global Governance, Public Law, Law and Development, and Urban Law and Politics.
His research focuses on the relationship between international and domestic legal orders, and the effects of this relationship both on our jurisprudential understanding of these areas of law, and on the constitution of everyday life in today’s global order.
In order to explore the operation of international norms and discourses on the ground, Luis’s work combines doctrinal, theoretical and historical analysis with extensive ethnographic fieldwork in community and institutional settings.
In recent years, Luis has been particularly interested in the increasing role of local jurisdictions (e.g. cities and municipalities) in the international arena. His work in this area interrogates the rationale and contradictions that have accompanied this trend, using different locations in the Global South as case studies. Key fieldwork sites for his recent research in this area include Bogotá, Cali, Rio de Janeiro and Istanbul.
Other areas of research which have informed his work over the last few years include: the long-standing relation between imperialism and international law; the ‘new constitutionalism’ in the Global South; international economic law and institutions; postcolonial and Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL); the changing dynamics of occupation law and humanitarian intervention; contemporary practices in the Law & Development field (including Corporate Social Responsibility), and new approaches to urban law.
As a whole, his publications seek to understand how past and present international normative discourses and technologies of governance have come to shape both the world around us and our political responses to it by experimenting with different methodologies, archives and case studies.
His recent book Local Space, Global Life: The Everyday Operation of International Law and Development was published by Cambridge University Press in 2015. The book was awarded the Hart Socio-Legal Book Prize and the Prize for Early Career Academics by the Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA) in 2016. The initial research for this book was also awarded the Harold Luntz Prize for the best PhD thesis completed in 2013 at Melbourne Law School and The University of Melbourne's 2014 Chancellor's Prize for Excellence. To know more about Local Space, Global Life, you can watch the following book introduction and the following interview.
Luis is also the co-editor of Imperialismo y Derecho Internacional published by Siglo del Hombre, with Liliana Obregón and René Urueña, and the global collaborative volume Bandung, Global History and International Law: Critical Pasts and Pending Futures, with Michael Fakhri and Vasuki Nesiah, forthcoming with Cambridge University Press.
Luis supervises and benefits enormously from a group of wonderful graduate researchers at Kent Law School and other institutions, all of them doing research on the past, present and possible futures of the global order, including radical re-readings of international law from the perspective of Indigenous peoples (Paulo Ilich Bacca); state-based resistance in the international legal order using the Non-Aligned Movement as a case study (Mateja Koltaj); the operation and challenges posed by international discourses around waste, waste collection and development in the South today (Allison Lindner); the intricacies of ‘virtual water’ use, trade and management for our conceptualization of power and international law (Mia Tamarin); the widespread effects of (neo)extractivist practices on traditional conceptualizations of the state and law (Jimena Sierra); the emergence of neo-punitive discourses and practices in the Global South (Silvana Tapia); the challenges posed by novel forms of counter-terrorist practices to traditional conceptualizations of international law (Ahmed Memon); and the central role of the idea of ‘effective control’ for our understanding of the evolution and operation of the international legal order (Eric Loefflad).
Luis is also a Senior Fellow at Melbourne Law School, an International Professor at Universidad Externado de Colombia, and Faculty at Harvard Law School’s Institute for Global Law and Policy.
To read more about Luis' research, you can visit his Beyond KLS page.
Photograph courtesy of Anthony Rodriguez – Blacknote Photography.back to top
Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository
- Foundations of Property (LW316)
- Law and International Development (LW616)
- Public International Law (LW814)
- International Human Rights Law (LW843)
Luis is happy to supervise research projects on:
- International Law
- Critical Approaches to International Law
- Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL)
- International Legal History and Theory
- Law and Development
- Anthropology of (International) Law
- Legal Ethnography
- Global Governance and Global Political Economy
- Urban Law and Urban Politics
Projects and Collaborations
Luis is currently working on the following projects:
The 60th Anniversary of Bandung - together with Vasuki Nesiah (NYU) and Michel Fakhri (Oregon), Luis is co-editing a collection of essays and coordinating a series of international workshops to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the first Afro-Asian Conference, held in Bandung, Indonesia, in 1955. The project brings together a large group of international legal scholars from across the world to reflect on the Conference and its long-lasting impact. The co-edited collection of essays will be published in 2017 by Cambridge University Press.
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.
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 criminalsin the Global South. The first outcome of this project is a paper entitled Between Inclusion and Marginalization: “Public Attention”, Neo-punitive Practices and Petty criminals in the Global. South.
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 is engaged in a long collaborative project that examines 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. For more information on The HAAIL Project, you can read this intervention in Critical Legal Thinking.
Other Academic Activities
Other positions at Kent Law School
- Co-Director, Centre for Critical International Law
Additional Academic Positions
- Senior Fellow, Melbourne Law School, The University of Melbourne
- International Professor, Universidad Externado de Colombia
- Faculty, Institute for Global Law and Policy, Harvard Law School
Additional Academic Activities
- Co-Organizer, International Law and Politics Collaborative Research Network (CRN) - Law and Society Association: http://www.lawandsociety.org/crn.html#23
- European Society of International Law
- Law and Society Association