Call for Papers: Queering International Law 2.0



Event Date: 

11/10/22 to 11/11/22

Location name: 

Deakin Downtown, Melbourne, Australia (and online for those unable to travel)


ANZSIL Gender, Sexuality and International Law Interest Group and proudly supported by Deakin Law School, the Institute for International Law and the Humanities at Melbourne Law School, and La Trobe Law School

Call for Papers: Queering International Law 2.0

Workshop details:

Organisers:    Dr Tamsin Phillipa Paige (Deakin Law School) and Claerwen O’Hara (La Trobe Law School)


Date:               10 and 11 November 2022


Place:              Deakin Downtown, Melbourne, Australia (and online for those unable to travel) Theme:

In December 2015, the Institute for International Law and the Humanities (IILAH) hosted a workshop at Melbourne Law School focused on ‘queering’ international law. Convened by Dianne Otto, the workshop was premised on the idea that ‘[j]ust as feminist and postcolonial critiques of international law have exposed some of the ways in which it can work to reinforce hierarchies of power and knowledge, so too can the critical insights of queer theory enrich our understanding of the conceptual and practical limits of the discipline.’1 Bringing together new and established scholars from around the world, the workshop aimed to reimagine international law in ways that could build solidarity, promote redistributive values, challenge entrenched inequalities, advance positive peace, and ensure environmental sustainability, while also contemplating the associated risks.2 The workshop would go on to produce the first book focused solely on queer approaches to international law:3 Queering International Law: Possibilities, Alliance, Complicities, Risks (2018)4 – a ground-breaking collection edited by Dianne Otto that draws on insights from queer theory to interrogate a range of topics, from the political economy of neoliberal internet governance5 to the complicities, indiscretions and subversions of queer border crossers.6


In the seven years that have passed since that foundational workshop, there have been significant changes in the field of international law, many of which invite ‘queer curiosity’.7 In 2017, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) came to an end, raising questions about memory and queer temporality.8 In 2019, the US unilaterally paralysed the World Trade Organisation’s Appellate Body, inviting queer critique of discourse and decision-making in international organisations.9 In 2020, the UK left the European Union against a backdrop of rival discourses and identities, each of which carried its own sexual10 and gendered11 narratives. Pandemic has swept across the globe, killing millions, resulting in restrictions that reinforced the ‘subject of public health as monogamous, coupled, and living with their partner or nuclear family’,12 and radically altering the way many live and work.13 Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022 has only reaffirmed the need to rethink the idea of peace in international law from a queer feminist perspective.14 And the threat of catastrophic climate change looms ever larger, prompting legal scholars to think through anthropocentrism in international law using a queer, feminist and post- human lens.15


In the specific field of gender and sexuality in international law, there have also been significant changes. In 2020 and 2022, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women handed down landmark decisions finding in favour of lesbian women who had had their rights violated on the intersecting grounds of gender and sexuality,16 signalling the possibility of ‘queering CEDAW’.17 In the second of these decisions, the Committee also affirmed that the rights enshrined in CEDAW ‘belong to all women, including lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex women’. The Committee’s inclusive understanding of ‘women’ echoed another landmark decision handed down the previous year by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Vicky Hernández et al. v. Honduras (2021),18 in which the majority held that the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women applied to women in all their diversity, including trans women.19


At the same time, the past seven years have seen the rise of an increasingly vocal transphobic ‘feminist’ movement, which has sought to rely on CEDAW and international law documents to justify an exclusionary account of women’s rights.20 Legal scholars who think with queer theory have also noted that the dissenting opinion from Judge Elizabeth Odio Benito in Vicky Hernández et al. v. Honduras ‘read[s] like the standard talking points for Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminism rhetoric – an anti-trans hate movement that has little relevance to feminism and is grounded in regressive bio-essentialist gender roles and performance.’21 In this way, the intensifying ‘culture wars’ relating to gender diversity in a number of countries also appear to be playing out in the field international law.


This workshop aims to revisit the project of queering international law seven years on. How can queer theory help us to understand the events of international law’s recent past? And what possibilities, alliances, complicities, and risks are held out by international law’s future? We invite submissions from new and established scholars working with queer, feminist and postcolonial theories and practices, in international law and related disciplines, to reflect on these questions.



Please submit abstracts of up to 300 words and biographies of up to 200 words to by 1 July 2022.


Successful applicants will be expected to submit draft papers of between 6,000 and 8,000 words by 10 October 2022. Our aim is for the workshop to result in a second volume of Queering International Law or another form of edited collection. All papers will go to peer review prior to publication.


A number of small travel bursaries are available for interstate and international presenting participants who are unable to claim sufficient funding from their home institution. Please indicate in your application whether you wish to be considered for a bursary.


The Queering International Law 2.0 Workshop is organised by the ANZSIL Gender, Sexuality and International Law Interest Group and proudly supported by Deakin Law School, the Institute for International Law and the Humanities at Melbourne Law School, and La Trobe Law School.


Contact email: