Narrative contingency and international humanitarian law : Crimes against humanity in Cixin Liu’s post-humanist universe

Book chapter


Alexander, Amanda. (2021). Narrative contingency and international humanitarian law : Crimes against humanity in Cixin Liu’s post-humanist universe. In In Venzke, Ingo and Heller, Kevin Jon (Ed.). Contingency in international law : On the possibility of different legal histories pp. 351-369 Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780192898036.003.0021
AuthorsAlexander, Amanda
EditorsVenzke, Ingo and Heller, Kevin Jon
Abstract

This chapter will argue that international humanitarian law (IHL) is embedded in narratives that shape its history and meaning. Some international lawyers have argued that these narrative possibilities are necessarily constrained by a Western perspective that limits the potential of the law. Indeed, theories of narrative history consider that the possibilities of any narrative history are limited by prevailing tropes and can only relate a humanist story of ‘man’s’ encounter with the legal order. Nevertheless, alternative aesthetic and theoretical frameworks are beginning to emerge that could facilitate new ways of understanding IHL. Remembrance of Earth’s Past, a science fiction trilogy by Chinese writer Cixin Liu, provides an opportunity to explore a strikingly different vision of law, crimes against humanity, and the very notion of humanity. It suggests how narratives that draw on non-Western, non-anthropocentric ethics might underpin a distinct type of law.

Keywordsinternational humanitarian law; law and literature; history and international law; narrative theory; ecocentrism; anthropocentricism
Page range351-369
Year2021
Book titleContingency in international law : On the possibility of different legal histories
PublisherOxford University Press
Place of publicationOxford, United Kingdom
ISBN9780192898036
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780192898036.003.0021
Publisher's version
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All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
OnlineSep 2021
Print2021
Publication process dates
Deposited04 Jul 2022
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