Zoran Oklopcic is Associate Professor at the Department of Law and Legal Studies at Carleton University. He earned his SJD from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and was MacCormick Visiting Fellow at the University of Edinburgh School of Law, Junior Faculty at Harvard Law School’s Institute for Global Law and Policy in Doha, Qatar, and a Hauser Global Research Fellow at the NYU School of Law. His book, Beyond the People: Social Imaginary and Constituent Imagination is forthcoming with Oxford University Press in February 2018.​

Date: October 13th, 2:35 – 4:15 Southam Hall 624

As Barcelona slowly inches towards Belfast, one might wonder what was it exactly that made the events on October 1 so disturbing? Was it only the use of force by the Spanish police? Or was it also the context—the denial of the democratic aspirations of Spain’s Catalan citizens—which made those scenes particularly egregious? However this Spanish crisis plays out, the Catalan sovereigntist movement has in that regard already accomplished one major victory: it has successfully linked the issue of the referendum with that of the freedom of expression and association, thereby making the attitudes of anti-secessionists appear not only insensitive, petty, and inhumane, but also unreasonable and unethical. Irrespective of the formal unconstitutionality of the act of the referendum—as well as the unilateral secession of Catalonia itself, as one of the referendum’s possible outcomes—violence is no way to respond to democratic aspirations. But if violence and police repression is not the way to respond to democratic aspirations, what is? That is a much thornier question, to which the ideals of popular sovereignty, national selfdetermination, and democratic self-government have no good answer. What might such an answer entail is the topic of Dr. Oklopcic’s lecture.

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