Skip to main content

The Law of the List: UN Counterterrorism Sanctions and the Politics of Global Security Law - Gavin Sullivan

Gavin Sullivan Seminar


Virtual Event - Zoom
Details to be sent to those who register


Thu 15 October 2020

The Edinburgh Centre for International and Global Law presents

The Law of the List: UN Counterterrorism Sanctions and the Politics of Global Security Law

Dr Gavin Sullivan, Senior Lecturer at Kent Law School


About the seminar
How does the UN Security Council come to know and govern the problems of 'global terrorism' and 'foreign terrorist fighters' in practice? And what are the implications of the Council’s expansive pre-emptive security architecture for international law, collective security and human rights? Recent Council resolutions put far-reaching global data infrastructure projects into motion that collect, analyse and share biometric, terrorist watchlisting and travel data for security purposes. There are huge issues at stake in these changes but, as yet, little academic debate. How do we study global law that is in motion, largely informal, shaped by technical expertise and being forged in the shadows of where we usually think international law is or ought to be?  This seminar addresses these questions by empirically following the UN Al Qaeda and ISIL terrorism list and proposing a ‘praxiographic’ approach to global law – one that ethnographically studies practices in ‘structure-making sites’ (Latour 2005) and knowledge in ‘activities … instruments and procedures’ (Mol 2002).  Based on the findings of my new book – The Law of the List: UN Counterterrorism Sanctions and the Politics of Global Security Law (Cambridge University Press, 2020) – and emerging research on global security infrastructures, I show how Science and Technology Studies (STS) and socio-legal studies can offer valuable insights into how international law, international organisations and global governance are transforming in response to transboundary threats and new opportunities for global data harvesting. 


About the speaker
Gavin Sullivan is a senior lecturer at Kent Law School (KLS), University of Kent (UK). His research focuses on the politics of global security law and data infrastructures and has been supported by funding from the British Academy and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). He uses socio-legal and ethnographic methods to understand contemporary security practices and problems of transnational and algorithmic governance. Gavin is a practising solicitor and coordinates the Transnational Listing Project - a global law clinic providing pro bono representation to people targeted by security lists worldwide, including before the UN Office of the Ombudsperson. He has worked widely as an expert consultant on counterterrorism issues, including for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Gavin is a member of the Transparency and Legal Framework working groups of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) and an affiliated researcher at ITAM’s Centre on Security, Intelligence and Governance (CESIG) in Mexico City. Gavin’s recent book - The Law of the List: UN Counterterrorism Sanctions and the Politics of Global Security Lawwas published by Cambridge University Press in 2020 and has been nominated for numerous awards. He is a member of the Law and Society Association (LSA), the Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA), Society for the Social Studies of Science and the European Society of International Law (ESIL). He co-convenes the new ESIL International Law and Technology interest group and is also on the editorial committee of the journal, Transnational Legal Theory.   


This event is free and open to all but registration is required.

Image Credit: Photo by Benedikt Geyer on Unsplash

Event Link

Register on Zoom