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Critical discussions have re-emerged in comparative constitutional law, amongst both practitioners and scholars, on the enduring impact of empire and other forms of transnational hegemony on theory and practice. At the heart of these discussions is the need to understand jurisdictions broadly described as the Global South. For some time, the study of constitutionalism has been shaped primarily by the experiences of a relatively small number of jurisdictions. Experiences of most jurisdictions of the Global South often are analysed from that limited perspective. Experiences in constitutional governance that are contrary to dominant understandings of constitutionalism, are not adequately examined, may be subject to misinterpretation or are treated as transgressions. This approach has limited the capacity of the field to deal with real life challenges, has given rise to false expectations and failed to respond to emerging trends. A related difficulty concerns recognition and representation: how the experiences of these jurisdictions should be represented and who should represent them.
This subject aims to examine these puzzles and consider in depth the significance of the Global South to constitutionalism. In doing so, it also reviews and critique the limits to the Global South as a concept. The subject is structured around five themes: the intellectual history of the concepts of constitutionalism and the Global South; the scholarly debate on the Global South in comparative constitutional law; how different methods can be used to study and develop knowledge about constitutionalism in the Global South; a critical evaluation of the different actors and institutions and their contribution to constitutionalism; and finally, reflections on how constitutionalism can be made genuinely global. Case studies are used throughout the course to illustrate and apply the learning and discussion.
Principal topics will include:
- Intellectual Histories of Constitutionalism
- The Debate on the Global South and Constitutionalism
- Methods for study and practice of Constitutionalism
- Constitutional Actors and Institutions
- Making Constitutionalism Genuinely Global
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject, students should be able to:
- Describe constitutionalism as a historical concept
- Identify, explain and critique the Global South as a concept
- Describe and compare the debates on the Global South in comparative constitutional law
- Identify and discuss limits to the methods for strengthening representation and inclusion of the Global South in constitutional law
- Evaluate the significance of the Global South in theorising on constitutionalism
- Practice methods of examining constitutional governance to identify issues from different perspectives
- Identify and appreciate debates and perspectives on a given theoretical concept
- Debate different approaches to knowledge development
- Match research methods with a research question in a context specific manner
- Judge the most appropriate approach to knowledge development in a given context
- Navigate the challenges of inclusion and representation in theory, practice and in professional contexts
Last updated: 24 January 2023