Dr Adil Hasan Khan
Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne
By way of two case studies of two widespread famines that book-ended British Colonial India – the Madras Famine of 1876-78 and the Bengal Famine of 1943 – this paper seeks to both attend to some of the key historical dynamics, logics and authorization practices driving legal centralism in disaster response in our times, and also bring out the constitutive role that ‘the international’ has played in this. It argues that we need to carefully work through the history of this close imbrication between Southern developmentalist states and ‘the international’ (which is often presented as being a source of ‘the law beyond the state’) – specially around the production and response to disasters – to actually begin the task of genuinely engaging with, and acknowledging, different ‘laws beyond the state’ and attending to the aftermath of disasters.
Dr Adil Hasan Khan is currently a McKenzie Fellow at the Melbourne Law School. His research seeks to explore the intersections between international law and disasters, with a focus on South Asia. He completed his PhD in International Studies at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) in Geneva. His doctoral dissertation, titled Inheriting Persona: Narrating the Conduct of Third World International Lawyers, narrates the conduct of two generations of Third World international lawyers in their struggles to reimagine, re-found, and alternatively authorize international law, and identifies the defining struggle of the Third World in international law as being over temporal transmissions or inheritance. He was a Residential Institute Fellow at the Institute for Global Law and Policy (IGLP), Harvard Law School during 2016–2017 and a Junior Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM), Vienna in 2015-2016.