Miriam Bak MckennaMar 14, 2023
Reckoning with Empire
Self-Determination in International Law
Miriam Bak McKenna is an Associate Professor at the Department of Social Sciences and Business at Roskilde University (Denmark). Her first monograph, Reckoning with Empire: Self-Determination in International Law (Brill, 2023), adopts a new approach to self-determination’s international legal history, tracing the ways in which various actors have sought to reinvent self-determination in different juridical, political, and economic iterations to create the conditions for global transformation. The value of the book’s approach lies not only in a more nuanced understanding of self-determination’s legal history, but also in excavating the multiple ways in which actors, particularly those from the Global South, have challenged the existing normative and legal structures which rendered them unequal under the European system of international law. Rethinking this process touches on issues that are relevant not only to debates about the enduring legacy of imperialism in our present, but also to contemporary discussions of the position self-determination has come to occupy in international law.
Vladislav Lilic is a doctoral candidate in Modern European History at Vanderbilt University.