October 24, 2022

International Law & Popular Culture Symposium #2

A science fiction illustration of a city, the night sky, and a large Moon.

For the average (Western) person, October might be synonymous with Halloween, but for the IILJ, October has now become International Law and Pop Culture Month. As readers may remember, last year we hosted the first edition of this symposium, in collaboration with Opinio Juris, with great success. Back then, we set out rather ambitious objectives:

“[W]e hope to imagine alternatives of what the world could be, offering many possible alternative visions of human beings, law, and justice; engage with students by making connections between popular culture and international law that help them become familiar with fundamental concepts; and create a space for conversation: how is international law imagined across popular culture compared to how professors teach it and how lawyers practice it? How is international law presented around the world in various places in different mediums: as a force for evil, good, order, or chaos?

We were honestly blown away by the extremely positive reception and knew we had to do it again. This 2nd Annual Symposium on International Law and Pop Culture opens with Catherine Butchart and Tamsin Phillipa Paige’s exploration of Legally Blonde, encouraging us to “be more like Elle”, and Opinio Juris’ own Sarah Zarmsky’s exploration of international humanitarian law in the Wizarding World. On Tuesday, Alonso Gurmendi discusses critical approaches to international law by comparing the framing devices in James Cameron’s Avatar, The Woman King and Prey, while Samantha Franks discusses human trafficking in Marvel’s Black Widow. On Wednesday, Dimitrios Kourtis explores the representation of Anatolian Greeks in pop culture and John Hursh analyses the international legal issues present in Top Gun: Maverick. On Thursday, Santiago Vargas Niño discussing Neon Genesis Evangelion and Paul Philipp Stewens offers an analysis of the UN through the lens of Disney’s The Rescuers. On Friday, Ralph Janik walks us through international legal thought in The Simpsons, while on Saturday, Mohd Imran explores the representation of anti-colonial movements in Indian cinema.

We hope you enjoy our contributors’ posts but also, hopefully, that they make you think, perhaps from a different, unconventional point of view. We are certainly convinced of the potential pop culture has in the dissemination of our discipline.