Feb 26 International Relations as Inter-Jurisdictional Relations

Freya Irani at MIRC: February 26th
Minnesota International Relations Colloquium

We would like to thank everyone who has been joining the colloquium this semester, and contributing to the great discussions we have been having.

Since this is quite a full semester for MIRC, we wanted to already alert you to our next colloquium presentation on February 26th, by our very own Freya Irani, who is the Postdoctoral Fellow for the Sawyer Seminar.

Email us at mirc@umn.edu if you want a copy of the paper next week. Florencia Montal will be the discussant.

We look forward to seeing many of you there,
MIRC Organizers

International Relations as Inter-Jurisdictional Relations

Since 1945, U.S. federal courts have frequently used U.S. regulatory laws (for example, antitrust, securities and trademark laws) to adjudicate certain kinds of disputes arising anywhere in the world. In addition, they have allowed such laws to serve as the basis for prosecution by the U.S. Department of Justice, including the prosecution of non-citizens located abroad. In this paper, I draw on these decisions to make an argument for centering jurisdiction – rather than sovereignty - in International Relations scholarship. I suggest that, by approaching the state as instantiated in its jurisdictional assertions, and by tracing patterns of jurisdictional assertions and seeing how such assertions are justified by their makers, we can better capture the shifting geographical scope and coordinates of U.S. legal authority, the multiple legal boundaries of the United States. More specifically, we can begin to see that, since the mid-20th century, the legal relations and legal authority of the U.S. government have come to be both organized around, and authorized by, not only the concept of territory, but also the concept of the national-territorial economy (and specifically, judges’ representations of the same): it is increasingly a posited relationship to this economy that determines whether or not actors and activities, wherever in the world they are located, are subject to U.S. law.
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