Constitutionalism in the Global South Project

Co-Directors: Theunis Roux and Melissa Crouch
Affiliates: Rosalind Dixon, Sai Myint Aung, Siddharth Narrain, Elisabeth Perham, Mohammad Sayeed, Andy Symington, Ayesha Wijayalath

This project aims to foster scholarship and debate on constitutionalism in, of and from the Global South. The project aims to develop appreciation of Global South epistemologies and to enhance our understanding of the nature of constitutionalism in the Global South, both in its liberal and illiberal varieties. The project aims to run regular reading groups, seminars and occasional panels at conferences, with a particular focus on mentoring early career scholars from the Global South. This builds on the scholarship of Theunis Roux on South Africa and beyond, and Melissa Crouch on Southeast Asia. 

Collaborative research project:  Reimagining Vulnerability in the Light of COVID 19 in Sri Lanka’ (2021-2023). Dr Mario Gomez of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies and Melissa Crouch are collaborating on a two-year project under the DFAT Sri Lanka grant scheme on Knowledge and Linkages for an Inclusive Economy. As the international partners on the grant, Melissa Crouch will produce a report on the impact of covid 19 on rights and governance in the region, and academics including Theunis Roux and Rosalind Dixon, and HDR students, who are part of the Constitutionalism in the Global South Project will contribute to a stakeholder workshop. This project will enhance collaboration between the Gilbert & Tobin Centre and ICES, as the leading research institute on ethnic studies and governance in Sri Lanka.

Elective opportunity: A new LLB/JB elective course will run from 2023: 'Constitutionalism in the Global South' (LAWS8375/JURD7975): This course will provide students with an introduction to constitutionalism in the Global South. The idea of constitutionalism is a key aspect of liberal democracy and the rule of law, and is seen as important to political stability and economic development. Constitutionalism has, however, been understood based on Global North conceptions of state development. As a result, in postcolonial societies, many of the assumptions in comparative constitutional law do not fit. This course will provide students with the opportunity to engage with the idea of constitutionalism in the Global South from a range of theoretical perspectives. Core themes of the course include the role and function of judicial review; constitutional courts; human rights; constitutions in authoritarian regimes; and constitutional migration, particularly South-South legal borrowing. The course will draw upon key case studies from jurisdictions across Africa, Latin America and Asia.