Visiting Fellows 2012/13

[see Staff page for full listing]

James Irving



Research Interests:

My primary research interest is in the idea, principle and right of self-determination as considered from legal, political and philosophical perspectives. Related questions include the theory and foundations of international law, the status of secession in international law, indigenous peoples’ rights, minority rights, autonomy regimes under international law, democratic governance in international law, decolonisation (and post-colonial development), feminist approaches to self-determination and the theory of nationalism. I am particularly interested in exploring new approaches to self-determination as I think received conceptions unnecessarily limited (especially in light of the many recent developments in the area).

In order to provide LSE students with an opportunity to pursue research interests relating to self-determination I founded the post-graduate course “The International Law of Self-Determination”, which ran for the first time in the Lent Term of 2010.


LL105 – International Law: Contemporary Issues

LL278 – Public International Law

LL4K4 – The International Law of Self-Determination

[I graduated from the LSE’s PG Cert. (teaching) programme in 2009.]

Selected Presentations, Conference Papers and Publications:

  • “Kosovo Before the ICJ – Does Territory Have Integrity?”, Staff Research Seminar, LSE, March 2010.

  • “The Kosovo Case Unpacked: A Legal and Political Discussion of the Arguments Presented to the ICJ”, presentation with Dr. James Ker-Lindsay at the LSE European Institute, February 2010.

  • “Universal Confusion: Global Rights through the Prism of Self-Determination”, presentation at the APA (Eastern Division)106th Annual Meeting, New York, December 2009.

  • “Self-Determination and Colonial Enclaves: The Success of Singapore and the Failure of Theory” (2008) 12 S.Y.B.I.L. 97-112. (Paper originally presented at the Asian Society of International Law Young Scholars Workshop, National University of Singapore, September 2008.)

  • “Self-determination, Human Rights & the Basis of International Law” presented at the Society for Philosophy in the Contemporary World Annual Meeting held in Morelia, Mexico, July 2007.

  • “Nationalism and Normativity: Between the Poles” presented at the Association for the Study of Nationalities World Convention, Columbia University, March 2007.

  • “Self-determination and International Law: A Procedural Approach” presented at the International Institute for the Sociology of Law conference titled, “Sovereignty, Secession and the Right to Self-Determination: Challenges to the International Law”, Ońati, 2006.