Narrative contingency and international humanitarian law : crimes against humanity in Cixin Liu's post-humanist universe
Contingency in international law : on the possibility of different legal histories
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2021
International humanitarian law (IHL) is the term which names, and also conceptualises, the current regime of the laws of war. Critical international lawyers have acknowledged the importance of narrative as a source of meaning that shapes the interpretation and practice of international law. In their genealogies of the discourses of international law, these lawyers have argued that, although the prevailing narratives make universal claims, they are predominantly Western—arising from Western interests and facilitating Western hegemony. As a result, an important part of the critical approach to international law has involved challenging these dominant narratives with alternative accounts and interpretations of international law. IHL may be contingent on narrative possibilities, but it is hard to see these narratives, hard to change them, and even harder to imagine a different range of aesthetic and ethical possibilities. Cixin Liu's science fiction epic, Remembrance of Earth's Past, however, gives an unusual opportunity to explore a vision of what such an alternative international law might look like if it were not based on Western narratives or humanist thinking.
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