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The Green Transition: New Frontiers of Extractivism

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Stefanie Ullmann.

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The extraction of minerals required for the green or just transition, including in particular for electric vehicles, is supported by an infrastructure of legal norms that support and legitimise the concentration of wealth. This material aspect of (international) law is very much in contrast to the symbolic side of international law that purports to protect vulnerable nature and people. The exploitative and extractive aspect of international law is marked by colonial frontier thinking of expansionism. I use two case studies of ‘old’ and ‘new’ frontiers of extraction to demonstrate the imperial structures at play, namely the DRC and Greenland, which reveal the dynamics of an UnJust Transition.

About the speaker: Professor Christine Schwöbel-Patel is co-Director of the Centre for Critical Legal Studies at Warwick Law School. She is the author of two monographs Marketing Global Justice (CUP 2021) and Global Constitutionalism in International Legal Perspective (Brill 2011) and editor of Critical Approaches to International Criminal Law: An Introduction (Routledge 2014). Christine’s current research projects focus on the themes of aesthetics and international justice, imperial rentier capitalism in the green transition, and trials of rupture. Rosa Luxemburg’s work and influence runs like a red line through her research and pedagogy. Christine has won two competitive stipendiary fellowships for her work on the international law of the green transition: An Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship for Experienced Researchers (2022-2023) and a Leverhulme Research Fellowship (2023-2024). She is currently a visiting research at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Seminars series.

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