International institutional law - as a subdiscipline of international law concerned with the life and functioning of international organizations - remains a procedural and apolitical sub-discipline of international law. In an effort to open up the space for broader multidisciplinary approaches to the study of IOs in international law, the Graduate Institute hosted a pioneering international conference entitled “Alternative Approaches to International Organizations in International Law” on October 14 and 15, 2021.
Convened by Graduate Institute PhD candidates Negar Mansouri and Daniel Ricardo Quiroga-Villamarín with the support of Prof. Nico Krisch, the conference brought together scholars from not only the legal field but also from other disciplines from the social sciences and the humanities to discuss various objects and methods for studying international institutions from decidedly interdisciplinary and innovative perspectives.
The conference was organized around roundtables and panel sessions on international relations, anthropology & ethnography, historical methods, feminism, and other critical perspectives. Junior and senior scholars came together to discuss and lay the groundwork for the development of new scholarly agendas.
Another objective of the conference was to disrupt the monopoly of knowledge production in international institutional law. Epistemologically, international institutional law has been developed and remains dominated by European male academics - many affiliated with IOs themselves. Amidst the crisis of multilateralism and global governance, it is of high importance to engage Global South and female academics in critical inquiries into functions and functioning of IOs and their distributional effects.
The diversity of the programme reflected a commitment to pluralize the ways of knowledge production in global governance. It brought together a balanced cast of scholars (in terms of gender, professional sensibilities, and diversity of career-stages) to have cutting-edge discussions on potentials and complexities of interdisciplinary and critical approaches to the study of international organizations in international law.