Thursday, June 20, 2024

Özsu's "Completing Humanity"

Umut Özsu, Carleton University,has published Completing Humanity: The International Law of Decolonization, 1960–82 (Cambridge University Press):

After the Second World War, the dissolution of European empires and emergence of 'new states' in Asia, Africa, Oceania, and elsewhere necessitated large-scale structural changes in international legal order. In Completing Humanity, Umut Özsu recounts the history of the struggle to transform international law during the twentieth century's last major wave of decolonization. Commencing in 1960, with the General Assembly's landmark decolonization resolution, and concluding in 1982, with the close of the third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea and the onset of the Latin American debt crisis, the book examines the work of elite international lawyers from newly independent states alongside that of international law specialists from "First World" and socialist states. A study in modifications to legal theory and doctrine over time, it documents and reassesses post-1945 decolonization from the standpoint of the 'Third World' and the jurists who elaborated and defended its interests.

Among the endorsements:

"In his stunning and unprecedented book, Umut Özsu describes the ambition and breadth of the decolonizing agenda — and why international law mattered so much to it – while probing the impasses, limits, and resistance that foiled it. An accessible and dramatic story, Completing Humanity is based on exemplary learning and overflowing with insight and provocation: the most significant and sophisticated contribution to the history of international law written in many years."

Samuel Moyn, Yale University

--Dan Ernst