Radha d'Souza ©Julia Knop
Fellow Radha d'Souza at the Leuphana University

Senior Fellow 2023-2024

Professor of law and former barrister at the High Court of Bombay Radha D'Souza has shaped her thinking via a perspective from the Global South. Her most recent book "What's Wrong with Rights?" sheds light on and seeks to repoliticise the mainstream discourse on human rights and to place it in the context of international activism for justice. In her new project "Where Have Places Disappeared? Corporation-States, Law and Dualist Imaginations" she argues that European modernity institutionalises the dualism of economy and polity by having established states and corporations, the founding institutions of capitalism, as two distinct legal entities. Her research areas include international law, sociology, human geography, development studies and social movement studies. Within the field of international law, Radha's work focuses on Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL), international law and development, and colonialism and law as well as resource conflicts in the Global South. Among her numerous projects is the "Court for Intergenerational Climate Crimes", an (artistic) tribunal she conceptualised, organised and performed with artist Jonas Staal initially in Amsterdam (2021) and Helsinki, Seoul, Münster and Gwanju (April 2023).


Fellow-Portrait Radha d'Souza

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Where Have Places Disappeared? Corporation-States, Law and Dualist Imaginations

At LIAS I will progress research for the sequel to “What’s Wrong with Rights? Social Movements, Law and LiberalImaginations” (Pluto Press, 2018) provisionally titled “Where Have Places Disappeared? Corporation-States, Law and Dualist Imaginations”. The performative art project “Court for Intergenerational Climate Crimes” co-produced jointly with Dutch artist Jonas Staal ’enacted‘ the critique of liberal rights in capitalist modernity developed in “What’s Wrong with Rights?” In “Where Have Places Disappeared?” I examine the structure of modernist thought, its concepts and philosophical assumptions that European modernity established, and which has now spread around the world. The structure of European modernist thought is, I argue, dualist, i.e., is based on conceptual and philosophical dualism. This dualism locks the world in adversarial modes of being and living. Through the history of European modernity modern law and modern institutions have become the mediators of dualisms in capitalist-colonial societies. Modern law endows institutions with legal personhood by creating two types of 'persons': legal and natural. This institutional architecture established by modern law sustains and reproduces all sorts of dualisms in capitalist-colonial modernity such that it has become an inescapable condition of existence, and will remain so unless consciously refuted philosophically, politically, legally and ideologically. In addition, I am working on preparing for a London iteration of the Court for Intergenerational Climate Crimes that puts the East India Company and their contemporary ’heirs‘ on trial. Further research will concentrate on race and racism in international law and on socialism and constitutions examining the issue in the context of the emergence of the 'new constitutionalism' movements, especially in Latin America.


PhD Geography and Law, University of Auckland
MA Geography Practice Certificate, Bar Council of Maharashtra, India
LLB, University of Mumbai
BA Philosophy, University of Mumbai


Professor of International Law, Development and Conflict Studies, Westminster University, London

Most Recent Publications

“What's Wrong with Rights? Social Movements, Law and Liberal Imaginations.” London: UK Pluto Press, 2018.
“A radical turn in International Law and Development? Corporations, capitalist states and imperial governance.” “Canadian Journal of Development Studies” 43, no. 1 (2022): 20–38.
“Transcending Disciplinary Fetishisms: Marxism, Neocolonialism, and International Law.” In: Research Handbook on Law and Marxism”, edited by Paul O’Connell and Umut Özsu, 335–355. Cheltenham, Massachusetts: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2021.