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LEGS, or "Law-Engaged Graduate Students," meets during the academic year to discuss a work in progress by one of our Graduate Associates. Academic papers, dissertation proposals, and dissertation chapters have been presented at these meetings, to an audience of fellow graduate students.
Abstract: "Spaceflight arrived on the heels of decolonization. Developed countries pursued the massive undertaking of spaceflight by means of vastly disproportionate economic resources, yet, in the same breath, often invoked “humanity” and the borderless “whole Earth.” This did not go unnoticed to transnational decolonization efforts, like the New International Economic Order, that directed international law toward the redistribution of economic and technological resources. In the Bogotá Declaration of 1976, a coalition of equatorial states (Colombia, Congo, Ecuador, Indonesia, Kenya, Uganda, Zaire, Brazil) claimed national sovereignty over geostationary orbital segments above their territories. The Declaration complicates historical accounts which claim that conceptualizations of nature like “humanity” and the borderless “whole Earth” are imperial categories employed by developed countries. Here, imperial power manifested not in the concepts of “humanity” and the “whole Earth” as mere descriptions of technological activity or the natural world but through the process of shaping and reshaping their meanings in the law."
Haris A. Durrani is a first-year PhD candidate in the History Department, at the Program in History of Science. He is also a JD candidate (on leave) at Columbia Law School. He studies the intersections between history of science and legal history in the 20th century to present. His work focuses on property (including raw materials and IP), administrative law, and constitutional law in the context of extraterritoriality, international law, and US extractive empire in Latin America.