The Jurisprudence of 9/11 and its Aftermath

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I am offering a new course at the University of Birmingham to students in Law and Modern Languages, entitled “The Jurisprudence of 9/11 and its Aftermath.” The course has a public website, where readings and other resources are listed and where student work will be posted in due course.  The full syllabus is available here. Any and all comments (in particular suggestions for items to include on future syllabi and/or to list on the website) welcome!

Here is a summary of the course:

Using the aftermath of 9/11 and the US invasion of Iraq as a case study, this module asks why states engage in torture, giving particular consideration to why liberal states euphemise, conceal, and downplay this practice. We will examine the ramifications of 9/11 across multiple legal domains, domestically within the US and internationally. As part of their involvement with the War on Terror, US politicians, commentators, and jurists developed a range of new legal measures that reconceptualised international law, human rights, and civil liberties. Our inquiry into these transformations is divided into four parts. Part I considers the jurisprudence of emergency within liberal states historically, through the writings of Carl Schmitt and Giorgio Agamben. Part II links the theoretical foundations of part I with US discourses justifying the invasion of Iraq and immigrant detention, including treating the immigrant as an enemy. Part III considers the impact of these discourses on the rule of law within the United States and globally in connection with torture, the denial of habeas corpus and extraordinary rendition. Part IV concludes by considering how the war on terror has fostered the domestic suppression of Muslim dissent, violated freedom of expression rights, and underwritten the effort to ban Muslims from entering the United States.

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