Rethinking Sovereignty for the Earth • An International Symposium

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Dates 27-28 August, 2018, venue to be announced

Sydney, NSW 2000


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A two-day International Symposium • Sydney • 27-28 August 2018

Bulletin #1 • February 2018


Sovereignty is a foundational concept for the globally dominant systems of jurisprudence, international relations and governance. But this Western thinking about sovereignty is stuck in the European and colonial past, making it hard to deal with a whole range of urgent global and local challenges from climate change, to ecosystem protection and renewal, to honouring the wisdom of indigenous cultures.

Sovereignty’s expression in the theory of the nation state since the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 and the sovereignty of the individual according to some readings of the US Constitution of 1787 have become inimical to the viability of our own species and many others as well.

A new conception of sovereignty vested in the Earth and asserting the preeminence of respect for the matrix of life, the integrity of the biosphere, and the inalienability of our global commons has become a necessity. The redefinition of Earth sovereignty as prior to and more fundamental than human agency would provide a basis on which to reframe all our doctrines of authority, justice and responsible governance. In this respect Australia’s indigenous knowledge systems and traditions of Caring for Country have much to teach the hegemonic cultures of crisis prone techno-industrial growth societies.

This symposium will invite a dialogue between four principal praxis streams within a context of indigenous understandings of human participation in and responsibility for the natural order.

The four praxis streams will be:

• Law, Governance and Politics

• Earth System Science

• Planetary Health

• Society and Culture

Particpation in the symposium will be by invitation following a call for expressions of interest in March 2018. Participants may offer to present a paper, convene a panel, facilitate a roundtable or dialogue circle, or simply contribute to the deliberations.

At this stage we already have a number of confirmed guest speakers/discussion leaders:

Dr Mary Graham, Komburmerri elder and and Adjunct Professor in Political Science and International Relations at the University of Queensland.

Professor Klaus Bosselmann, Director, New Zealand Centre for Environmental Law, University of Auckland Law School,

Dr Michelle Maloney, National Convenor, Australian Earth Laws Alliance, and

Professor Will Steffen, Earth System Science, Australian National University and Stockholm Resilience Centre.

Now is the time to register your interest in this important gathering. You'll receive regular updates as we shape the symposium program and opportunities to contribute your ideas.

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Dates 27-28 August, 2018, venue to be announced

Sydney, NSW 2000


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