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Summer Activity Report of TLSI

Naoyuki OKANO

I have attended the Transnational Law Summer Institute (TLSI), a unique interdisciplinary summer school held in King’s College, London 28th June - 10th July 2015. TLSI gathered participants of Ph.D. students and young scholars from all over the world who major in law, anthropology, political science and others. This two-week intensive course aims at initiating continuous conversation among scholars in a field of transnational law and global governance.

The program was designed to set a solid basis of effective interdisciplinary conversation and set a shared understanding on main issues of transnational law among scholars. The first week contained discussions on thematic topics including transnational labor law, the state, legal ethnography, and the rule of law. The second week involved more practical tips for young scholars such as how to interact with publishers, make academic movements within faculty, or treat his/her own doctoral study in teaching and further study. Throughout the program many opportunities of networking were present and I am also involved in one of research groups, “Transnational Law and Local Struggles”, with an expectation of further research collaboration.

I had a fortune to become one of the discussants on a seminal book, “Toward a New Legal Common Sense” by Boaventura de Sousa Santos. This book, first published 20 years ago, one of important sources of inspiration for all the scholars in a field of law and globalization. In the presentation, I tried to put the book into the context of current debate of law and politics in an era of globalization and reinterpret the book from that perspective.

The writing workshop in the first week was an opportunity to present my research project and discuss it intensively. Groups of 8 to 9 students coupled with a few faculties were formed. Every student was assigned to submit a short piece of his/her work, and a student other than the author him/herself will present the paper. All the students have read the article and make any comments that come up. The author, who is not allowed to speak out till the last comment, would experience how papers are read and interpreted regardless of the author’s original intention, which invokes a deep reflection on a way we research, write and publish.

TLSI was a truly inspiring opportunity and is a great springboard for my remaining years of doctoral research. Lastly, I would like to thank Prof. Peer Zumbansen and Dr. Prabha Kotiswaran, conveners of TLSI, to all the contributors and participants who made this event more than successful, and to Prof. Dai Yokomizo, for introducing me to this opportunity.