The Jurisprudence Centre was established in 1974 as a forum for the advanced interdisciplinary study of problems related to law, law reform, and politics.
The Jurisprudence Centre Seminar Talks, or JurisTalks, are a long-standing tradition in the Department of Law and Legal Studies aimed at stimulating academic dialogue and innovation toward the development of legal studies research and theory. JurisTalks feature academics from other institutions as well community activists.
- March 15, 2023 JurisTalk: Law's Authority- Arboreal Jurisdiction with Gina Heathcote
Abstract: In this paper I draw on the Djab Wurrung peoples’ protest against the Victorian government’s road building project that encroached upon an important site for the Djab Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation. The paper examines feminist approaches to decolonising international law and I return to reflections on law’s authority (Heathcote 2019). In examining the authority of the scholar and the privilege of talking and speaking international law, my approach is influenced by recent academic encounters focused on legal argumentation outside of the courtroom, on jurisdiction and on the nature of legal obligations and the implied knowledge frames that exclude and include different speakers and scholars, as well as expectations on ways of speaking. I examine the privilege of being listened to when speaking about law and why some speech acts are rendered far from law’s domain (Watson 2014). To this end the paper deploys a postcolonial and posthuman feminist methodology to explore the jurisdiction of trees and the limits of laws that are closed to alternative legal frames, as well as the diverse experiences of insecurity that are produced by the perpetuation of specific knowledge frames to inform the contours of international law. The examination of the jurisdiction of trees develops a series of conclusions regarding the legal consequences for feminist and critical legal approaches writing into and about the international legal system, as well as the place of decolonising practises which remain on the peripheries of international legal consciousnesses. I conclude with an examination of the potential for decolonised approaches to be ‘brought’ into critical legal scholarship (including feminist and queer approaches) and simultaneously undone through accommodation within the status quo – something feminist scholars are familiar with through their own experiences of incorporating feminist agendas into the work of the Security Council via the women, peace and security framework.
About the Presenter
Gina Heathcote is Professor of Gender Studies and International Law at SOAS University of London. Gina is the author of Feminist Dialogues on International Law (OUP 2019) and The International Law on the Use of Force: a Feminist Analysis (Routledge 2012) and co-author, with Sara Bertotti, Emily Jones and Sheri Labenski, of The Laws of War and Peace: a Gender Analysis Vol 1 (Bloomsbury 2021). Her current work examines the International Law of the Sea and develops a feminist analysis with attention to posthuman feminisms, queer scholarship and the blue humanities. Recent projects include co-editing of a Special Issue of Feminist Review titled, Oceans, and an entry in the More Posthuman Glossary (Braidotti, Jones and Klumbyte, 2022) on Feminism and the Oceans.
- January 26, 2023 JurisTalk Special Event: Fearing the Immigrant: Racialization and Urban Policy in Toronto with Dr. Parastou Saberi
The City of Toronto is often held up as a leader in diversity and inclusion. In Fearing the Immigrant, Parastou Saberi underlines the neocoloniality of the governance of racialized marginality in the city. Focusing on the figure of the immigrant and so-called immigrant neighbourhoods as targets of urban policy, Saberi offers an innovative, multidisciplinary approach to the politics of racialization and the governing of alterity through space in contemporary cities in her book. Join us for a book talk by Dr. Parastou Saberi, followed by a discussion with Dr. Nahla Abdo on the book.
A former architect, Parastou Saberi holds a Ph.D. in urban geography from York University. She received the Barbara Godard Prize for the Best York University Dissertation in Canadian Studies in 2017, and was awarded several prestigious fellowships in the UK, including the British Academy Newton International Fellowship. She has held postdoctoral positions at Vrije Universiteit Brussel and University of Warwick. Parastou’s interdisciplinary research is guided by her commitment to social justice and explores the relations among state intervention, securitization, and racialization at the urban and international levels. Her work spans from the convergence of French colonial urbanism and pacification in North Africa, to the relational formation of urban policy, international relations and racialization. She is the author of Fearing the Immigrant: Racialization and Urban Policy in Toronto (University of Minnesota Press) and the co-editor of Destroy, Build, Secure: Readings on Pacification (Red Quill Ottawa). Her work is also published in Political Geography and Race & Class, among others.
- November 15, 2022 JurisTalk Special Event: The Regulation of Poor People's Stuff with Dr. Alexandra Flynn
The belongings of precariously housed people are regulated by numerous actors, including bylaw officers, transit companies, shelter operators, and private landlords. In this talk, Dr. Alexandra Flynn will use legal geography to ‘map’ the many spaces of regulation, showing the degree to which vulnerable people must constantly and simultaneously negotiate, oversee, and adhere to multiple regulatory bodies.
Dr. Alexandra Flynn is an Associate Professor at University of British Columbia’s Allard School of Law. Her teaching and research focus on municipal law and governance, including Indigenous-municipal legal relationships. She is currently working on several projects related to municipal legal obligations related to precariously housed people in Canadian cities. She has a long history of volunteer work in the areas of homelessness and access to justice, is a TEDx speaker, and a frequent media commentator.
- November 22, 2021 JurisTalk Special Event: A Discussion with Hazara Advocates Nasrin Husseini and Ali Mirzad
Human Rights Advocates Nasrin Husseini and Ali Mirzad discuss the emerging situation in Afghanistan, the impact the Taliban’s sudden transition to power has had on women and ethnic minorities, and the role of international human rights organizations during this current period of evolving violence and turmoil. This event will be moderated by the Department of Law and Legal Studies Activist in Residence, Rehana Hashmi.
Dr. Nasrin Husseini, an ethnic Hazara, fled the province of Bamyan, Afghanistan, as a child with her parents and 5 sisters due to war and the persecution of Hazaras. After graduating top of her high school class in her new home, Iran, Nasrin returned to Afghanistan to earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine with honours from Kabul University. After receiving a leadership scholarship, Nasrin moved to Canada and sponsored her family. In 2017, Nasrin received the prestigious Arrell Scholarship from University of Guelph, where she earned a MSc degree in Immunogenetics. Nasrin currently researchers immunology at the University of Guelph and is the Vice-President of Canadian Hazara Humanitarian Services, a not-for-profit organization.
Ali Mirzad was born in Kabul, Afghanistan during the Soviet Invasion (1979-89). Ali and his family, who are part of the ethnic Hazara minority, left Afghanistan as refugees for Iran only to find themselves in the midst of the Iran-Iraq war in 1987. Ali’s family settled in Montreal in 1989, and connected with other Afghanistanis and Hazaras who had fled violence. Ali’s experiences and new community inspired his commitment to human rights advocacy. Ali’s tireless advocacy for the Hazara has included organizing peaceful protests, successfully petitioning the Canadian federal government for support of the human rights of the Hazara, and volunteering for Canadian Hazara Humanitarian Services, among many other human rights initiatives.
- March 30, 2021 - Professor Johnny Mack - Sovereignty and Citizenization in the Settler Colony
Professor Mack will be speaking to the connection between sovereignty and citizenship for indigenous peoples within the Canadian settler state.
Specifically, it assesses the manner in which state sovereignty engages its own juridical technologies and sociopolitical processes of citizenisation as means of folding indigenous polities into the state’s public. The underlying claim is that there is an inverse relationship between the state’s indigenous citizenisation project and Indigenous modalities of belonging to a territory and people. The more indigenous peoples come to practice citizenship within the state’s publics, the less space is available to maintain their indigenous ‘publics’ that precede and often counter the state.
To support this claim, the author will provide a biographical account of belonging to an Indigenous Nation that has comprehensively folded themselves into the state public by signing the Maa-nulth Treaty Agreement in 2007 (MFA).
Professor Johnny Mack is from the Toquaht Nation (Nuu-chah-nulth) and an Assistant Professor jointly appointed to the Peter A. Allard School of Law and First Nations and Indigenous Studies at UBC. Professor Mack has an LLB and an LLM from the University of Victoria. His PhD research has earned a CGS scholarship from SSHRC and the Trudeau Foundation (2011). Professor Mack’s research investigates the legal relationship between indigenous and settler peoples in contemporary settler states, particularly Canada.
- March 1, 2021 - The Parent’s Circle: A Story of Hope out of Israel and Palestine
This JurisTalk special event featured speakers Laila Alsheikh and Robi Damelin from The Parent’s Circle Families Forum, and was moderated by Rehana Hashmi, Activist in Residence, Department of Law and Legal Studies. The Parent’s Circle Families Forum (PCFF) is a group of 600 Israeli and Palestinian families who have lost close family members to the conflict and who work together for reconciliation and a just resolution to the conflict.
Laila Alsheikh is an accountant, PCFF member and mother of five from Bethlehem. Laila’s 6 month old son Qussay died in 2002 after Israeli soldiers prevented him from reaching a hospital on time. Since his death, Laila has focused on protecting her remaining children from being part of the conflict.
Robi Damelin is an Israeli spokesperson and PCFF member. Robi’s son, David (aged 28), was killed by a Palestinian sniper in March of 2002 while he guarded a settlement checkpoint. Robi calls for a reconciliation to be part of any peace agreement. Robi was named a 2015 Woman of Impact by Women in the World and 2014 Woman Peacemaker by the University of San Diego. She regularly contributes to The Forward and Huffington Post.
- October 16, 2020 - Joshua Sealy-Harrington - Seeing Power, Unseeing People: Disaggregating Identity
Joshua Sealy-Harrington, J.S.D. Candidate, Columbia Law School, Lawyer, Power Law
This presentation explores the value of disaggregating identity in theoretical discourse following discussion of three approaches to thinking about identity:
- The political value of identity: it’s capacity to galvanize support, (e.g., Black Lives Matter), identify subordination (e.g., intersectionality), and regulate space (e.g.,
- The personal theoretical costs of identity: how the speaker has come to view notions of identity as heuristics rooted in rendering the self—and others—legible; a means of simplifying the world through narrative in order to lower the mental burden of navigating the complexity of human experience and interaction.
- The collective theoretical cost of identity: how thinking of identity as “real” compromises our ability to detect the systems of power that create and deploy that identity for the purpose of sustaining hierarchy—indeed, viewing identity as real can, perversely, reify the logics through which
identity-based hierarchies are mobilized.View the poster..
- The political value of identity: it’s capacity to galvanize support, (e.g., Black Lives Matter), identify subordination (e.g., intersectionality), and regulate space (e.g.,
- March 21, 2019 - Prof. Rémi Bachand - Taking Political Economy Seriously: Grundriss for a Marxist Analysis of International Law
with Rémi Bachand, Professor, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)
One of the fields that has been relatively neglected by critical scholars of international law is political economy. Surprisingly, this is also the case for academics inspired by the Marxist tradition, who more often than not (explicitly or implicitly) give to “political economy” a broad and very general definition.
Drawing on what is sometimes called “radical political economics” theories (the French school of regulation, the “social structure of accumulation theory”, and so on), this presentation proposes a research agenda whose goals will be to underline how capitalist particularities of each epoch influence international law, and how the latter also affects global economy differently depending on the era in question.
- February 28, 2019 - Prof. Kyle Kirkup - From Criminality to Respectability: Familial Recognition, Victimhood, and the Carceral State
with Kyle Kirkup, Assistant Professor, University of Ottawa
In Anglo-American jurisdictions, queer subjectivity was historically constituted through challenges to both formal aspects of the criminal law and discriminatory police practices. With the advent of human rights protections, same-sex benefits, and relationship recognition over the past thirty years, however, a new version of queer subjectivity has emerged — one that has
become increasingly reliant on the politics of coupled, familial respectability and, with it, a turn away from cases where queer people have been cast as perpetrators of crime. This presentation reads queer histories of challenging the criminal law against the contemporary strategies of mainstream Anglo-American human rights organizations. Rather than seeking to challenge the operation of the criminal law in the everyday lives of queer people, these organizations are now beginning to punish in the name of queer equality. This presentation proposes a theory, one I call the law and order queer movement, to account for these contemporary dynamics. The presentation ends by gesturing towards versions of queer subjectivity that go beyond respectable familial formations, along with renewed efforts to challenge practices of criminalization.
- February 15, 2019 - Prof. Genevieve Painter - Budgeting for the Reproduction of Colonialism: A History of Sex Discrimination in Canada’s Indian Act, 1975-1985
with Genevieve Painter, Assistant Professor, Concordia University
Under federal law, if a man holding Indian status married a non-Indian woman, his wife gained status and their children were status Indians, whereas if an Indian woman married a non-Indian man, neither she nor her children were entitled to status. Amendments to the Indian Act in 1985 continued to give an advantage to those who traced Indian status along the male line. In overturning the Indian Act’s rules on status in landmark judgments in McIvor (2009, BC) and Descheneaux (2015, QC), the courts relied on a history widely accepted, before and since, according to which Indian Act amendments were the product of a valiant legislative effort to reconcile an inherent conflict between individual rights to gender equality and collective rights to Indigenous self-governance. But, as this paper shows through analysis of newly declassified documents, any opposition between these two principles is manufactured, rather than intrinsic. Contrary to the story of infighting among Indigenous people about an intrinsic rights conflict, the consistent driver of Indian Act reforms has been the federal government’s refusal to recognize inherent Indigenous sovereignty and its desire to limit spending on status Indians, in service of a project to construct and preserve Canadian sovereignty.
- January 17, 2019 - Prof. Annie Bunting - Gender Politics, Masculinity, and the International Crime of 'Forced Marriage'
with Annie Bunting, Associate Professor, York University
The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) released its much anticipated decision in the trial of two Khmer Rouge commanders, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, on November 16, 2018 – case 002/02. While the ECCC only released a summary of their judgement in advance of the full decision, it includes its historic verdict and reasoning. First, the Court found the two accused guilty of genocide against the Cham and Vietnamese during the Democratic Kampuchea period (para 26). Second, the ECCC found the accused guilty of the crime against humanity of other inhumane acts of forced marriage and rape in forced marriage (para 39). Reflecting on these recent developments in international law and qualitative research in Uganda, this paper will critically examine gender politics, masculinity and forced marriage. I explore the views of victim survivors – both men and women – on the current prosecution of Dominic Ongwen at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity, including the crime of forced marriage. The Ongwen case will be used as the central story around which the potential and limitations of international criminal law for gender justice will be explored.
- Sept. 13, 2018 - Prof. Derek McKee - Public Procurement at the Intersection of Trade, Administration, and Contract
with Derek McKee, Associate Professor, Université de Montréal
The liberalization of public procurement is at the heart of the recent Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union, as well as its intra-federal counterpart, the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA). These agreements are expected to have a profound impact on public markets across Canada, especially at the provincial and municipal level. The implementation of trade law with respect to procurement raises familiar questions about the characterization of domestic laws as trade barriers. However, in the case of procurement, rather than confronting domestic rules, trade law generally confronts domestic discretion, framed either by administrative law or contract law. The purposes of these domestic regimes are to some extent compatible with the goal of trade liberalization, but there also exist important tensions between domestic legal values and those of the trade agreements. Internally, there are also tensions between contract and administrative law, which in the case of Canada has given rise to competing parallel and hybrid legal regimes. An analysis of the implementation of trade law with respect to public procurement must grapple with these tensions.
- Jan 22, 2018 - Prof. James Ingram - The Destitution of Citizenship: Crises of Democracy and the Radical Critique of the State
with James Ingram, Associate Professor, McMaster University
Observers of the “mature” liberal democracies are struck by the downward spiral in many countries today whereby the arrival of rising numbers of migrants has been seized upon by populists and authoritarians to mobilize fearful voters. Rather than cause and effect, observers suggest that both phenomena result from deeper shifts within national and global structures that have undermined democratic politics. On this view, the desperate migrant and the fearful voter are twin results of a mutation of citizenship, and in particular of its reduction to a status, eagerly sought by one group and jealously guarded by the other.
In this presentation I focus on a perspective that has arisen in legal and political theory to diagnose and possibly also to respond to this process. This perspective revolves around the idea of “destitution”, understood as the inverse of the classically modern notion of the sovereign people as pouvoir constituant. I trace this idea from Foucault to more recent Italian political philosophy and German legal theory as well as in contemporary activist communities. I argue that today this perspective tends to assume two dominant forms, one positive, the other negative. Both versions grasp the contemporary crisis of citizenship as a crisis of sovereignty and community, but they go on to draw very different practical lessons. This theoretical alternative sheds light on an important divide within radical politics between anarchism and radical democracy, a politics of exodus and a possible reconstitution of citizenship.
- Nov 29, 2017 - Prof. Heidi Matthews - Redeeming Rape: Sex Panic and Celebrity Sexual Violence
with Heidi Matthews, Assistant Professor, Osgoode Hall, York University
Both the public and intellectual reaction to the recent wave of sexual assault and harassment allegations against male celebrities has been overwhelmingly unnuanced. Accusatory, moralizing and legalistic, the commonsense position that has emerged leaves little room for reflective inquiry into larger questions of structure and agency, guilt and shame, punishment and forgiveness, power and desire, reckoning and accountability. This paper will map the mainstream response, arguing that the sex panic it invokes is unhelpful and dangerous in navigating the complexity of male – and female – desire in socio-legal terms.
- Nov 7, 2017 - Prof. Olivier Barsalou - International Law and the Path to Liberty: The Imperial Origins of the Right to SelfDetermination, 1500-1945
with Olivier Barsalou, Assistant Professor, Université du Québec à Montréal Département des Sciences Juridiques
The right to self-determination in international law arose out of trusteeship practices that were designed to improve and ultimately “free” non-European peoples. These practices sought to “liberate” subjected non-European peoples from their own “backwardness” through the introduction of responsible selfgovernment. The right to self-determination does not therefore stem from republican principles emerging during the European Enlightenment. Rather, self-determination is a conditional right that enables self-rule only when colonial powers happen to decide that a requisite level of political “maturity” has been achieved. This conditional conception of selfdetermination was embodied in the United Nations Charter, and it still informs contemporary legal understandings of statehood, sovereignty, and international order. This talk will examine the historical development of this conception of self-determination, demonstrating that its core tenets and presuppositions have remained largely unchanged over time. Admittedly, the legal vocabularies and socio-cultural contexts in which self-determination has been imagined have changed considerably since Europeans first “discovered” and settled the Americas. Nevertheless, I will underscore the significant degree of continuity that marks the legal history of self-determination, connecting sixteenth-century Spanish thinking about self-determination with nineteenth-century British and twentieth-century American conceptions of self-determination
- Oct 13, 2017 - Prof. Zoran Oklopcic - Catalan Self-Determination Referendum: Political Drama, Constitutional Standoff, and the Tragicomedy of Theory
with Zoran Oklopcic, Associate Professor of Law & Legal Studies, Carleton University
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 self-determination, and democratic self-government have no good answer. What might such an answer entail is the topic of Dr. Oklopcic’s lecture.
- Oct 11, 2017 - Prof. Susan Dianne Brophy - Capitalism, Colonialism and the Need for a New Theory of Law
with Susan Dianne Brophy, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Legal Studies, University of Waterloo
Capitalism evolves in starts and stops, to greater and lesser degrees across different eras and geographies. In more colonial terms, the advancement of capitalism in one area often occurs at the expense of another, a reality that is achieved by a complicated web of asymmetrical but alloyed economic and legal relations. Likewise, law evolves in a non-linear fashion. For example, the supposed orderliness of capitalist law is not an inevitable corrective to the arbitrariness of feudal law. Law itself is fraught with contradictions and contingencies, considerations that need to be carefully accounted for in order to make sense of law’s integral relation to both capitalism and colonialism.
In response to this need, I proffer an ‘uneven and combined development theory of law’. At the core of this theory is a critical but constructive approach to legal pluralism and Marxism, the parameters of which I develop in relation to an extensive study of Indigenous peoples’ labour during the fur trade (1763-1821). With this frame of analysis, I shed light on the legal relations that animate those processes of dispossession that are at the core of capitalism and colonialism alike, arriving in the end at a more comprehensive theory of law and new insights on Canada’s history as a settler-colonial state.
- Mar. 29, 2017 - Prof. Daniel Rück - Northern Enclosure: Indian Law and the Centrality of Indigenous Lands in Canadian Confederation
with Daniel Rück, Assistant Professor of History, University of Ottawa
When asked the question “What do Indians Want?” writer Thomas King critiqued that question as ahistorical. He proposed a better question: “What do Whites want?” The answer to that question is simple, writes King: “It’s been in plain sight all along. Land. Whites want Land.” This paper examines the role of the Department of Indian Affairs in justifying the massive territorial expansion of the Canadian state. Prof. Rück discusses the role of bureaucrats, Indian agents, land surveyors, treaty-negotiators, and law-makers in appropriating Indigenous lands, largely for the benefit of White settlers. Between 1860 and 1880 Indian Affairs was an active participant or interested observer in a whole series of major land developments including the merging of provinces into Confederation, railroad construction, land sales and transfers, the massive extension of the reserve system, and new treaties and laws, including the Indian Act. Although Indian Affairs was mandated to protect Indigenous lands, Prof. Rück argues that it played a central role in valorizing and enabling state and settler land-lust while promoting Indigenous dehumanization and dispossession.
This event takes place in association with CU75 Celebrations and FPA Research Month.
- Mar. 21, 2017 - Prof. Sebastien Malette - Songs Upon the Rivers: The Politics of Becoming
A book launch for Songs Upon the Rivers, co-edited by Prof. Sebastien Malette. This event includes a discussion and Q&A, with a focus on Chapter 9 and its implications for Metis identity. Books will be available to purchase, and Prof. Malette will be on hand after the event to sign copies.
This event is in association with CU75 celebrations and FPA Research Month.
- Mar. 20, 2017 - Prof. Vanessa MacDonnell - The New Parliamentary Sovereignty
Is parliamentary sovereignty still a useful concept in the post-Charter era? Once a central principle of Canadian constitutional law, parliamentary sovereignty has come to be viewed by many as being of little more than historical interest. It is perhaps not surprising, then, that the doctrine has received relatively little scholarly attention since the enactment of the Charter. But while it is undoubtedly true that the more absolute versions of parliamentary sovereignty did not survive the Charter’s entrenchment, we should not be too quick to dismiss the principle’s relevance entirely.
In this paper, Prof. Vanessa MacDonnell suggests that some variant of parliamentary sovereignty continues to subsist in Canadian constitutional law. She also suggests that the study of parliamentary sovereignty reveals an important connection between the intensity of judicial review and the degree to which Parliament focused on the constitutional issues raised by a law during the legislative process. Parliament can expand its sphere of autonomous decision-making power relative to courts by showing that it is proactive about securing and promoting constitutional rights.
About the Speaker
Vanessa MacDonnell is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law – Common Law section at the University of Ottawa. She is an expert in constitutional theory, criminal law and the law of evidence. Vanessa’s current research examines how political actors interpret and implement constitutional rights. Her work is comparative and draws on constitutional law and theory from Canada, the United States, Germany, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. Recent papers have focussed on rethinking the concept of parliamentary sovereignty, developing a theory of quasi-constitutional legislation, and probing the role of civil servants in the implementation of constitutional rights. Vanessa is also completing a project on the role of the jury in contemporary criminal law.
- Mar. 16, 2017 - Prof. Meredith Terretta - Legal Activism v. Rule of Law from Colonial to Independent Africa: The Case of Human Rights History
with Meredith Terretta, Associate Professor of History and Gordon F. Henderson Chair in Human Rights, University of Ottawa
When viewed through the optic of transregional legalist activism, what historians commonly refer to as “decolonization” figures as a struggle to universalize Law in order to balance international relationships that colonialism had rendered asymmetrical. Had this legal project succeeded, post independence Africa—often viewed through today’s human rights lens as a crisis zone—may have had no need for human rights, at least not for the sort of human rights movement that emerged in the 1970s propelled by institutional NGOs based in the Anglo-Scandinavian “global North.” Yet instead of universalizing during the transition from colonialism to independence, the law constricted the political futures of independent African states, their leaders and their inhabitants, eventually normalizing single-party state rule and bilateral alliances privileging former imperial centres of power.
This event is in association with FPA Research Month.
- Feb. 28, 2017 - Prof. Michael Pal - The Comparative Constitutional Politics of Voter Suppression
In this presentation, Prof. Pal argues that voter suppression should be understood as a comparative phenomenon and trace the constitutional politics of the practice. Voter suppression involves deliberate attempts to craft electoral laws so as to dissuade or prevent citizens from casting ballots in elections. Voter suppression stands as a staple of political and legal contestation in the United States, centering particularly in recent ye
ars around restrictive voter identification rules and the Voting Rights Act. Despite attempts at voter suppression by governments in other democracies, including prominently in recent years in Canada with the Fair Elections Act, as well as in India, South Africa, and Australia, the practice has received little scholarly attention outside of the United States. Prof. Pal argues that voter suppression must be understood as a problem plaguing democracies generally and consider the implications for democratic practice, constitutional design, and judicial review of election laws.
About the Speaker:
Michael Pal is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa, where he is the Director of the Public Law Group. He specializes in the comparative law of democracy and publishes in law, political science, and public policy. He is the co-editor of a 2017 special edition of the Election Law Journal on electoral reform around the world. He has a law degree and doctorate in law from the University of Toronto, where he was a Pierre-Elliot Trudeau Foundation Scholar, and an LLM in Legal Theory from the NYU School of Law. He is also a Fellow at the Mowat Centre in the School of Public Policy at the University of Toronto. Professor Pal has advised governments at all levels as well as electoral boundary commissions and election commissions. He represented Democracy Watch in Frank v. Canada on the right to vote of non-resident citizens.
- Dec. 14, 2016 - Panel - Turkey’s Security-Freedom Impasse
Turkey’s Security-Freedom Impasse:Crisis, Regime Change, Violence
A panel with presentations by:
Gülden Özcan, PhD Candidate, Carleton University, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
“Pacification as Purification: Understanding Turkish National Security’s ‘Cleaning Job’”
Çağlar Dölek, Visiting Scholar, Carleton University, Department of Law and Legal Studies,
“The AKP’s Contested Police Project: On the State, Class and Security in Turkey”
Simten Coşar, Visiting Professor, Carleton University, School of Journalism and Communication
“Academics in Neoliberal-Authoritarian Shackles: Asking for Peace in Crisis Times”
- Oct. 10, 2016 - Prof. Paulina Ochoa Espejo - Theories of Peoplehood and Territorial Rights
This mini-colloquium features guest speaker, Paulina Ochoa Espejo (Political Science, Haverford College), as well as a discussion with Prof. Zoran Oklopcic and Prof. Stacy Douglas, who will respond to the speaker’s paper in light of the way in which it touches upon their own research.
About the Speaker:
Paulina Ochoa Espejo is a political theorist who works at the intersection of democratic theory and the history of political thought. Before joining the faculty at Haverford, she was an Assistant Professor at Yale University, and a Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Fellow at the University Center for Human Values, Princeton University. She has been a visiting professor at CIDE in Mexico City, and a Carey Postdoctoral Fellow at the Erasmus Institute in the University of Notre Dame.
- Mar. 28, 2016 - Prof. Sujith Xavier - Theorising from Below? Global South, Third World Approaches to International Law and Global Governance
Prof. Sujith Xavier (Director of Transnational Law and Justice Network, University of Windsor)
Why are theories of global governance unable to integrate the lived realities of the people of the global South? More specifically, should we learn from the global South? How can we learn from the global South? In answering these questions, Prof. Xavier offers two insights in this paper. The first is based on international law as a field of practice. Often, international lawyers and international law scholars tend to examine the legal mechanisms and the ensuing doctrines of international law without reference to geo-political, economic, social, and cultural contexts. The second insight attempts to problematise the ethics of international legal scholarship. In this regard, Prof. Xavier focuses on the role of international lawyers and international law scholars and their ethical obligations in light of the material reality of the global South.
- Mar. 10, 2016 - Prof. Kamari Clarke - Affective Justice and the Limits of Law's Temporality
This talk explores what the construction of the perpetrator figure means in international criminal law circles and how we might understand it through the re-signification of “culpability”. Prof. Clarke examines the way that the attribution of culpability is directly tied to the re-attribution of law’s temporality. For what we see is that these re-attributive actions are not simply reflections of the increasing belief in judicial trials as the new norm for addressing mass violence a scholars such as Kathryn Sikkinnk (2011) may have it. Rather, the figure of the International Criminal Court’s perpetrators as “African” and “male” has inspired highly sentimentalized counter-ICC social movements. By examining new modalities for measuring justice expressed through re-attributions of criminal responsibility, the talk raises questions about the limits of the law and the spaces within which new publics are articulating senses of justice.
- Nov. 25, 2015 - Prof. Hossein Raeesi - The Criminalization and legal consequences of Apostasy in Islam
With Prof. Hossein Raeesi (Visiting Scholar, SAR Network). Based on his recent research, combined with over 20 years practicing as a Criminal and Human Rights lawyer in Iran – a Muslim-majority country – Professor Raeesi will explore topics in Islamic judicial systems such as women and children’s rights, honor killing, deserving death, death penalty and sexual crimes, which will be compared and contrasted with similar concepts defined in international human rights treaties.
- Nov. 6, 2015 - Dr. Trish Luker - Animating the Archive: Artefacts of Law
Join us for our upcoming JurisTalk seminar, ‘Animating the Archive: Artefacts of Law’, on Friday, November 6th with guest speaker, Dr. Trish Luker!
In this paper, Dr. Luker investigates the notion of law’s counter-archive through a reflection on the materiality of archival sources and the significance of this objective status when such sources are presented as evidence in legal proceedings. She argues that thinking of archival sources not as legal documents, but as artefacts with specific agentic powers, draws attention to the material conditions of their creation and demonstrates the way they are productive of colonial relations.
- Oct. 1, 2015 - Dr. Trish Salah - Phantasies of Identity and Trans Literary Aesthetics
In this talk, Dr. Trish Salah contends that contemporary understandings of (trans) sexuation and of gender identity, are substantially enriched by turning our psychoanalytic imaginations to the creative writing of trans authors. Such texts offer rich if ambivalent resources for representing the relationship of sexuality, psychoanalysis, the clinic and the law. What’s more, trans literary texts provide analytic and imaginative resources not only for depathologizing accounts of trans sexuation, but for disclosing the function of juridical and clinical accounts of desire and identity in forming national and racial normativities.
About the Speaker:
Dr. Trish Salah works in the area of transnational studies in gender, sexuality, race and minority cultural production. Her work develops critical contexts for reading and interpreting trans literature through collective and open ended, trans centred dialogues, interviews and conferences such as the recent Writing Trans Genres: Emergent Literatures and Criticism and Decolonizing and Decriminalizing Trans Genres.
- May 5, 2015 - Prof. Richard Devlin and Prof. Adam Dodek - Regulating Judges: Expanding the Horizons
Professors Devlin and Dodek provide an overview of a current research project which brings together approximately 20 scholars from around the world to analyse and assess the multiple regulatory mechanisms that might be deployed to regulate a judiciary.
To frame the project, the authors provide a critique of the dominant paradigm that is deployed in most discussions of the judiciary and, drawing on contemporary regulation theory, replace it with what they call a regulatory pyramid. They also specifically discuss several aspects of the regulation of judges in Canada to illustrate the utility of their framework.
- March 25, 2015 - Prof. Ruth Buchanan - Global Justice and the Cinematic Slum: Ethics and Aesthetics
This paper seeks to contribute to a critical literature on global justice through considering it in terms of an aesthetic rather than an ethic. Prof. Buchanan did so through a close examination of cinematic depictions of poverty such as those found in the films City of God and Slumdog Millionaire.
About the Speaker:
Prof. Ruth Buchanan (Osgoode Hall Law School) is an interdisciplinary legal scholar whose work has spanned a wide range of debates, methods and concerns in both law and humanities and socio-legal studies. Her scholarship has frequently engaged with issues of globalization, legal pluralism, resistance and affect.
- March 3, 2015 - Prof. Angela Cameron - Sperm Donation in Ontario: An Empirical Study
A presentation of the results of an empirical study conducted by Angela Cameron and Vanessa Gruben on the use of donated sperm in the creation of families. The study examines the current legal approaches to gamete donation in Canada, and how research participants think donation should be regulated. This project works toward proposed law reform in the use of anonymous sperm donation in Ontario.
About the Speaker
Prof. Angela Cameron is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa. Her research is generally in the area of social justice, with a particular focus on the equality interests of women. Dr. Cameron’s research areas include criminal law, restorative justice, property law, reproductive technologies law, family law, legal theory, sociological approaches to law, and human rights law.
She is the administrator of Bloggingforequality.ca
- January 29, 2015 - Dr. Jeff Halper - Israel, the Palestinians and Global Pacification
Based on his new book, Dr. Halper will discuss Israel’s involvement in the world’s arms and security trade.
With Dr Jeff Halper, an Israeli/American anthropologist who heads an Isreali political/human rights group, ICAHD.
- January 23, 2015 - Julienne Lusenge - Women’s Activism for Peace in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo
Attendees heard first-hand how women in Eastern DRC are mobilizing to stop rape and bring peace to their communities as well as concrete recommendations to the international community on how to best support the women.
With Julienne Lusenge, President of SOFEPADI, Founder of the Congolese Women’s Fund, and advisory committee member for the International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict.
- January 22, 2015 - Nadine Blumer - From the Margins to the Centre of Holocaust Studies: Commemoration and Reconciliation Politics of the Nazi Genocide of the Roma
This presentation charted the biography of the Roma Holocaust Memorial, prior to and since inauguration. A brief introduction provided a historical overview of the Nazi genocide of the Roma, and how Romani leaders mobilized in the postwar years to be recognized as a victim group of the Holocaust. Nadine Blumer (Ph.D. Sociology, University of Toronto) then discussed the role of the memorial in present-day Romani politics.
- November 27, 2014 - Scott Sinclair - Free Trade, Public Policy and Regulatory Chill
The Carleton Law, Business, and Society Discussions series presents Scott Sinclair, Director, Trade and Investment Research Project. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. This was a discussion on the collision between free trade agreements and public policy and the problem of regulatory chill. This event was co-sponsored by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre.
- November 19, 2014 - Dr. Jothie Rajah - A Jurisprudence of Images: Law, Legitimacy, and the Visual in a Post-9/11 World
In a post-9/11 world, principles and practices that used to mark law, such as civil and human rights, and judicial proceedings in the public domain, have been subordinated to ‘national security’ and the sense of ‘perpetual war’. What does this rescripting mean for law and justice in our time, and what is the role of the visual in this shattering and re-making of law? In an exploration of these questions, this paper focuses on images relating to the killing and burial of Osama bin Laden, attending to what has officially been made visible, and the manner in which popular culture has rendered visible what official images have left invisible. The paper theorizes the nexus of images, law, legitimacy, and performativity, drawing on critical theory relating to law, semiotics, and affect. Dr. Jothie Rajah is Research Professor at the American Bar Foundation in Chicago. Her publications include Authoritarian Rule of Law (Cambridge University Press, 2012) and “Sinister Translations: Law’s Authority in a Post-9/11 World” 2014 Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies. Her current project studies post-9/11 rule of law discourses.
- October 23, 2014 - Ioanna Tourkochoriti - The Transatlantic Flow of Data and the National Security Exception: In Search of Legal Protection Against Surveillance
Europeans regulate data privacy against violations coming from the private sector more strictly than in the U.S. This paper analyses these existing protections through the Safe Harbor Agreement and the New European Regulation. It suggests ways of interpreting the national security exception in a way as to narrow its scope in reference to standards posed by the European Court of Human Rights in Europe and the International Convenant on Civil and Political Rights. The paper also argues for the creation of new treaties to fill legal gaps in the protection of transfer of data through Cloud computing.
Ioanna Tourkochoriti is a Visiting Professor, and a legal scholar working in the field of human rights, constitutional law, comparative law, international law, antidiscrimination law, philosophy of law, as well as political and moral philosophy. She is currently working on a book project comparing U.S., Canadian and E.U. Employment Discrimination Law. She has been a Fellow at the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School, a Lecturer on Law and Social Studies at the Committee on Degrees in Social Studies at Harvard University, as well as a Fellow with the Rule of Law Collaborative at the University of South Carolina.
- October 1, 2014 - Sarah Keenan - Subversive Property: Law and the Production of Spaces of Belonging
This lecture explored the relationship between space, subjectivity and property, arguing that new political possibilities for property may be unveiled by thinking about property in terms of belonging rather than exclusion. While most socio-legal theories of property focus on the propertied subject and that subject’s right to exclude, Keenan shifts focus away from the propertied subject and on to the broader spaces in and through which the propertied subject is located. This presentation will discuss the main themes of her new book of the same title, to suggest ways in which subversive property might offer a conceptually useful way of analysing a wide range of socio-legal issues.
Sarah Keenan is Lecturer in Law at SOAS, University of London. She teaches Property, Feminist Legal Theory and Indigenous Land Rights and is also engaged in community-based struggles around these issues. Her research draws on legal geography, feminist and critical race theory to think through the relationship between law, space and belonging. In particular, Sarah has written on the role of long term leases of Aboriginal land in Australia’s Northern Territory Intervention, of the impact of identity testing in sexuality-based asylum claims, and of the conceptual and political links between property and governance, and between ownership and membership.
- March 31, 2014 - Prof. Simten Coşar - An Historical Assessment of Feminism in Turkey: Between Rights and Laws
The feminist movement in Turkey had entered into a new stage by the 2000s. The rise of socio-cultural conservatism at the policy-making level, the differentiation between women’s rights and feminist politics, and the socio-political crisis that intensified throughout the decade and afterwards, were all factors that affected new challenges for the feminist agenda.
This lecture grows out of an effort to inquire into the state of feminist politics in contemporary Turkey with an historical perspective and through taking issue with the dominant features of the political structure-in-crisis.
Simten Coşar is a professor of Political Science in the Faculty of Communication, at Hacettepe University (Ankara, Turkey). Her major sphere of interest has been political theory in general and liberal thought in particular. She has published articles on Turkish liberalism, covering both intellectual dimension and party politics, center-right politics, on women’s movement in Turkey in Turkish and English. She has been conducting research on the construction of gender typologies in Turkish political thought. She edited a book on the AKP years in Turkey (Silent Violence: Neoliberalism, Political Islam and the AKP Years in Turkey, Red Quill Books, 2012) with Gamze Yücesan-Özdemir.
- March 27, 2014 - Dr. Nikolas M. Rajkovic - Cartographic Disobedience: Maps, Legal Geography and Giga-Pixel Surveillance
This lecture critically looks at the significance of cartography and maps as the basis for knowledge, domination and disobedience on the state of the world, and we will do so within a current context where international order is said to have become “topsy-turvy”. We explore the interplay between cartography, geography and modern international law to underline how scientific maps are social and historical constructions which par excellence distort global realities. In this vein, we probe whether International Law has become blinded by the “territorial trap” of physical geography, and specifically the planimetric map of the globe. A series of critical cartograms and interactive maps are discussed which pressure the naturalness of the iconic world map, and bring us to confront profound human consequences of legality that are ordinarily obscured by the prison-house of conventional political and legal geography.
Dr. Nikolas M. Rajkovic is Lecturer in Law at Kent Law School and has published in such journals as the Leiden Journal of International Law, European Journal of International Relations, and International Relations. In 2012, his revised Ph.D. dissertation was published as a monograph by Routledge: The Politics of International Law and Compliance. Nikolas’ current research explores both conceptually and empirically the impact that practices of international law have on the constitution and contestation of “legality.”
- March 27, 2014 - Bill Jeffery - The Politics of Food Regulation: The Power of the Sugar Industry and Excessive Sugar Consumption in Canada
The Carleton Law, Business, and Society Discussions series presents this session in the JurisTalks series, featuring Bill Jeffery (Centre for Science in the Public Interest). This informal discussion focused on the influence of the sugar industry on food regulation and consumer choices and the problem of excessive sugar consumption in Canada.
- March 21, 2014 - Zoran Oklopcic - The crisis in Ukraine, the dissolution of Yugoslavia and the promise of the Canadian approach to secession
Prof. Zoran Oklopcic discusses how the recent political crisis in Ukraine is unfolding at the interstice of high-stakes geopolitics, inflamed popular emotions and the looming questions of constitutional design. Given its ethno-political diversity and the involvement of great powers, a number of commentators have likened the crisis in Ukraine to the beginning of the violent dissolution of the former Yugoslavia. The talk will interrogate not only whether the post-conflict constitutional making in the former Yugoslavia has valuable lessons for Ukraine, but also whether the Canadian experience with the constitutional regulation of secession can provide the principled framework for defusing some of most explosive issues in the conflict, such as the status of the Crimean peninsula.
- February 27, 2014 - Melanie Adrian - Democracy in the Classroom - A Viable Pedagogical Approach?
The class began without a syllabus, topics, grading schema or prepared lectures. Instead, it began with the idea that students might learn more if the power of decision-making was theirs… Prof. Melanie Adrian shares her experience with a pedagogical experiment and leads discussion on the viability of implementing a democractic teaching strategy. This event was organized in association with the Educational Development Centre (EDC).
- February 4, 2014 - Nomi Claire Lazar - How Time Frames: Temporal Rhetoric and the Politics of Legitimation
Nomi Claire Lazar‘s work focuses on a number of manifestations of the relationship between institutions and human agency, spanning the history of political thought, contemporary theory, and public policy. She is the author of “States of Emergency in Liberal Democracies” (Cambridge, 2009) and of scholarly writing in several edited volumes and journals, including ‘Polity’, ‘Political Theory’, ‘Politics and Society’, ‘Constellations’, and the ‘University of Toronto Law Journal’. She recently completed a new book called ‘How Time Frames: Temporal Rhetoric in the Politics of Legitimation’ (Yale UP, under contract), which looks at the important role of conceptions of the flow of time in political life.
- February 3, 2014 - Mohammad Mahjoub - Thirteen Years a Detainee
Special guest speaker Mr. Mohammad Mahjoub – our country’s longest security certificate detainee – shares his story about his ongoing Security Certificate.
- November 28, 2013 - Michael Mac Neil - Wal-Mart, Corporations and the Decline of Unions in Canada
The Carleton Law, Business and Society Group in association with the Jurisprudence centre features Associate Professor Michael Mac Neil in this informal discussion on the role of large corporations in the erosion of workers’ rights and legal and non-legal alternatives in Canada.
- September 20, 2013 - James Allan - Just a Spoonful of Charter Helps the Policy Go Down
James Allan is Professor of Jurisprudence and holds the oldest named chair in the TC Beirne School of Law at the University of Queensland. He has published widely in the areas of legal philosophy and constitutional law, including in all the top English language legal philosophy journals in the US, the UK, Canada and Australia. In this lecture, Allan considered how Canada’s Charter of Rights influences the shaping of public policy in Canada, with a comparison of Canada to Australia, where there is no national Bill of Rights. Professor Allan argued that the Charter is, on the whole, a negative influence.
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- April 4, 2013 - Lindsay Farmer - Securing Civil Order: On the Aims of the Criminal Law
Lindsay Farmer is Professor of Law at the University of Glasgow. He has published widely on the history and theory of the criminal law. This paper is part of a monograph which he is currently writing on criminalization, to be published by Oxford University Press.
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- March 26, 2013 - Eric A. Stanley - The Afterlives of Social Death: Anti-Blackness, Trans Resistance, Prison Abolition
Eric A. Stanley is a visiting faculty in Critical Studies at the San Francisco Art Institute. Along with Chris Vargas, Eric directed the films Homotopia (2006) and Criminal Queers (2012) and co-edited the anthology Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex (AK Press, 2011).
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- March 7, 2013 - Mariana Valverde - Where did Criminology come from? And what kind of Enterprise is it? An Opinionated Survey of the History and the Possible Futures of Criminological Research
Dr. Mariana Valverde (Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies, University of Toronto) carries out both theoretical and empirical studies of legal mechanisms, especially those involved in moral and sexual regulation and those that are distinctly local or municipal. Dr. Valverde’s first book, Sex, power, and pleasure (Women’s Press, 1985), was an important contribution to the ‘sex debates’ and was translated into several languages.
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- January 24, 2013 - Speaker Panel - Troubled Memory: The Politics and Aesthetics of Remembering Atrocity and (National) Harm
Speakers included Jennifer Henderson (Department of English, Carleton University), Anne Sheftel (Conflict Studies, Université St-Paul University), Christiane Wilke (Law and Legal Studies, Carleton University).
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- October 17, 2012 - Dean Spade - What’s Wrong With Rights? Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of Law
Dean Spade is an attorney, educator, trans activist, and author of Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of Law (South End Press, 2011). Visit Dean’s website.
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- April 18, 2012 - Vidya Kumar - International Legal Theory and Revolution: A Solution or Pathology?
Dr. Vidya Kumar is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Canada Centre For Global Security Studies, Munk School Of Global Affairs, University of Toronto and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre For International Studies, London School of Economics.
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- March 29, 2012 - Eva Hemmungs Wirtén - Disinterested Ownership: The Intellectual Properties of Marie Curie
Eva Hemmungs Wirtén discussed the Curies’ scientific ethos, their ‘disinterested’ negation of patenting and the alternative ways by which they claimed priority of radium.
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- December 1, 2011 - Rueban Balasubramaniam - Malaysia’s Blocked Social Contract Debate
Dr. Rueban Balasubramaniam is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Law and Legal Studies at Carleton University.
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- October 14, 2011 - Brad Roth - Sovereign Equality and Moral Disagreement
Panel discussion featureing Dr. Brad Roth, Wayne State University Law School, with co-panelists Patrick Macklem, William C. Graham Professor of Law, University of Toronto Faculty of Law, and Zoran Oklopcic Assistant Professor, Department of Law and Legal Studies, Carleton University.
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- March 4, 2011 - Lindy Ledohowski - Victimization and Redress: The Case of Ukrainian Canadian Internment during the First World War
Lindy Ledohowski is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at St. Jerome’s University in the University of Waterloo.
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- January 15, 2010 - Kim Pate - Poverty, Violence, Mental Health and Corrections
Kim Pate, Executive Director, Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies, discussed trends in the increased criminalization of women, especially poor and Indigenous women and girls and those who have mental health issues.
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- March 16, 2009 - John Brigham - Reinforcing Federal Law: How new courthouses In Massachusetts reflect the old ones In Puerto Rico
John Brigham, Department of Political Science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
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- February 6, 2009 - Martin Hevia - The Right Against Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment: Termination of Anencephalic Pregnancy
Martin Hevia, School of Law, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, Buenos Aires.
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