THE DIRECTOR’S SEMINAR SERIES Law And Humanities in a Pandemic: The Margins and the (Epi)Centres: Place, Space and the Pandemic


Ethical Limits of Pandemic Governance: International Refugee and Human RIghts Law Redefined? 
Nergis Canefe, York University

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a vast array of social, economic and legal implications. In addition to political and civil rights such as liberty and privacy had to be curtailed in the name of public health, legal responses to the pandemic continue to have a far greater impact upon populations on the move, displaced communities and refugees in radically unequal ways. The dimensions of their subjectification include nationality, legal status, race, gender, disability, vulnerability and social class. Legal interventions causing further hardship in their plight is presented as unequivocal and beyond public debate. Making sense of the relationship between law and the pandemic requires us to re-contextualize the use of law in novel ways to limit, to exclude, and to create exceptions as well as the lacunae created by the anxious and panicked publics’ lack of responses to it. The coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2/COVID 19) pandemic created multifaceted crisis responses affecting every aspect of social life. Measures adopted by domestic authorities across the globe included a broad spectrum of restrictions including mandatory quarantines and isolations of individuals, blanket travel bans and cordoning-off of cities and, in many cases, countries. In turn, these measures unprecedented consequences for the displaced populations and refugee communities, particularly those who survive under the conditions of the war nexus. As governments declared states of emergency and assumed exceptional powers, the relevant obligations, principles of protection and procedures under public international law pertaining to refugees and asylum seekers have been suspended. The strongest instrument of pandemic governance is national legislation. However, the effects of national pandemic governance upon displaced and dispossessed populations is far from clear. Legal analysis and empirical evaluation of implementation of national pandemic measures and exceptional policy guidelines require a comprehensive mapping of events unfolding in global refugee hubs, such as Turkey, Lebanon, Tunisia, India, Columbia and South Africa to create the necessary comparative data for critical legal analysis of repercussions of national legislation’s compliance/lack of compliance with established international obligations and ethical principles in the area of forced migration.

Pandemic, Humanities and the Legal Imagination of the Disaster
Valerio Nitrato Izzo, University of Naples Federico II

In this proposal I would like to engage the pandemic situation making bridges between the idea of catastrophe and its meaning for law and works from literature and other form of art that pioneered questioning both pandemics and disasters. Pandemic would not be the end of the world or the end of the world as we know it, but it is an important occasion for re-thinking how law can contribute to imagine other ways of being together. For this we need to re-think a legal imagination of the disaster from which it will be possible to learn other legal senses of and for the law. 

The Pandemic and the Ship 
Dr Renisa Mawani, University of British Columbia 
Dr Mikki Stelder, University of British Columbia & University of Amsterdam

The COVID19 pandemic has brought oceans and maritime legalities sharply into view. This paper will examine the pandemic from the vantage point of ships at sea - cruise ships, naval vessels, and migrant boats. How does turning to oceans, ships and international and maritime law provide a different framework for understanding the COVID-19 pandemic? What does an oceanic framework reveal about the geo- and necropolitics of containment and contamination? What can turning to ships and oceans in viral times tell us about law, migration, leisure, militarism, imperialism, colonialism and labor? Ships are not only viral hotspots and carriers of disease, they present interesting and generative microcosms for the study of the virus and its social, political, and global implications.

THE DIRECTOR’S SEMINAR SERIES Law And Humanities in a Pandemic Full Programme

Institute of Advanced Legal Studies
Nergis Canefe (York University), Valerio Nitrato Izzo (University of Naples Federico II), Dr Renisa Mawani, University of British Columbia, Dr Mikki Stelder, University of British Columbia & University of Amsterdam. Chair: Professor Carl Stychin, IALS Director
Event date: 
Wednesday, 19 May 2021 - 6:00pm