Jennings, Ronald - Lecturer

Columbia University, 2011

Dr. Ronald Jennings received his PhD in anthropology from Columbia University in 2011 and has just completed a British Academy Newton International Fellow postdoc at LSE. He is currently working to complete two research projects, each off which will be a book. The first, to be called Cosmopolitan Subjects, uses the cases of Duško Tadić at the Yugoslavia Tribunal and Thomas Lubanga at the ICC, the first subjects of a properly cosmopolitan law, as lenses to raise the questions of how we should understand the cosmopolitan rights and subjectivities being produced by the recent experiment with the criminalization and individualization—which it’s advocates call humanization—of international law. It is based on more than a year of SSRC-GSC funded ethnographic fieldwork research at the formally cosmopolitan spaces of the ICTY and ICC in The Hague and on his earlier work as an international lawyer. The second book project, tentatively entitled Anthropology, Sovereignty, and Political Modernity, is a historicist, political and structural genealogy of sovereignty, political science and legal positivism as conceptualized by Bodin and Hobbes—and understood as structurally determinative of our political modernity—which seeks to make sense of sovereignty as dialectically structured by the institutions that it sought to disable (esp. the civic republican and Roman law traditions).

Dr. Jennings has published in the journal Anthropological Theory, taught classes at LSE, Columbia University and the New School for Social Research, and worked as Assistant Editor for the journal Public Culture. He has received major fellowships from the British Academy, SSRC-Global Security and Cooperation, FLAS, and the MacArthur Program on Peace and International Cooperation Fellow.

Before coming to academia, Dr. Jennings worked as an international, human rights and asylum lawyer in South Africa, Cambodia and the US, including serving as a Foreign Legal Advisor with the International Human Rights Law Group's Cambodia Court Training Project training judges, prosecutors and court personnel in rule-of-law and constitutional issues in the Cambodian provincial courts (1995-96); conducting prison interviews and assisting in preparing criminal defenses for apartheid era victims of police torture in the Vaal triangle region, and providing pro bono legal representation to the Finetown shackdwellers association in Soweto in South Africa in the summer of 1994; writing a internationally distributed report on HIV/AIDS labor law and corporate best practice for the AIDS Law Project, South Africa's largest HIV/AIDS legal advocacy organization (based on the organizations precedent setting Constitutional Court victory against South African Airways) (1999-2000); as well as working on a number of projects related to refugee rights and asylum in the US. Dr. Jennings received a J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School, where he was a MacArthur Program on Peace and International Cooperation Fellow and specialized in constitutional, international and human rights law.

Selected Publications: 

2011 "Sovereignty, Political Modernity, and Anthropology: A Genealogy of Agamben's Critique of Sovereignty," Anthropological Theory 11: 1 (2011).

2008 "On the Global Constitutional Meaning of an Indictment of Bashir," Making Sense of Darfur, Alex DeWaal, ed., SSRC Blog, (posted 6/24/08: .

2004 "Is there a Political Globalization? Examples from Global Law and the Yugoslavia Tribunal," GSC Quarterly 12 .

2000 (with Liesl Gerntholtz, Mark Heywood, and Fatima Hassan) Your Victory is Our Victory: The Case of 'A' v. South African Airways: A Guide to Pre-Employment HIV Testing, Business Best Practices and the Rights of South Africans with HIV. Johannesburg: AIDS Law Project, Centre for Applied Legal Studies, University of the Witwatersrand.