CIPR | Center For Inter-American Policy & Research

Tulane University

Dr. Daniel Bonilla Discusses "The Political Economy of Legal Knowledge."

The Payson Center for International Development and the Center for Inter-American Policy were proud to host Dr. Daniel Bonilla Maldonado, Faculty of Law at the University of the Andes in Bogota, Columbia, for a discussion about “The Political Economy of Legal Knowledge.”

Dr. Bonilla, constitutional law scholar and author of several books, including Constitutionalism of the Global South (Cambridge University Press, 2013), presented an impressive body of research about the way that legal knowledge is generated, legitimized, and disseminated. Dr. Bonilla begins from the premise that legal knowledge is subject to a particular political economy—one that governs and channels the way that it is created and consumed.

Dr. Bonilla’s research is guided by two main objectives. First, he seeks to analyze a political economy model, termed the “free market of legal ideas,” which dominates our collective perception of the way that legal knowledge is created and distributed. This model is defined by rational actors generating and adapting existing legal knowledge to suit a particular time and place.

His second objective is to juxtapose this model with the “colonial model of legal ideas,” which he argues more accurately characterizes the political economy of legal knowledge. In the colonial model, as Dr. Bonilla argues, the Global North creates and exports legal knowledge and theory to the Global South. Any legal knowledge generated by the Global South, meanwhile, exists only on the fringes of global legal discourse. In this model, legal knowledge is subject to the same power dynamics that have long defined the global political economy. Legal knowledge—like political, economic, military, and cultural power—is a product of the Global North. The Global South receives this knowledge and applies it to its own social and political context, in an effort to emulate the Global North. To support his claims, Dr. Bonilla cites the influence of Roe v. Wade in the Global South and the relative lack of understanding of similarly important court cases that have taken place within the Global South.

Dr. Bonilla’s research sheds light on the way these two models interact, the way that the perception of the free market of legal ideas shelters the reality of the colonial model, and the way this dynamic affects the global market for legal knowledge.






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Latin American Graduate Oraganization (LAGO) 2018 Conference: Call for Proposals

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The Latin American Graduate Organization will be hosting its 2018 Latin American Studies Conference titled Thinking of the Future: Expanding the possible in the Americas (Pensando en el porvenir: Expandiendo lo posible en las Américas) February 23 – 25, 2018, at Tulane University, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

This year, the conference topic is meant to challenge academics and activists to move beyond critiques and recommendations of how to address modern days issues, and instead articulate a vision of and for the future.

The LAGO Conference welcomes all disciplines and all approaches, as long as the project attempts to grapple with the idea of building something better. This is a Latin American Studies Conference, but creative writers, journalists, artists, performers, organizers, lawyers and healthcare providers as well as graduate students and other academics are welcome. Proposals are accepted in Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, and English.

Deadlines: Abstracts of papers and projects are due November 25, 2017. Abstracts of papers or project descriptions must not exceed 300 words.

Please contact with questions. For more information, visit the official conference website.