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Globalization Expert Saskia Sassen of Columbia University To Deliver the 2012 Storrs Lectures

Professor Saskia Sassen of Columbia University will deliver the 2012 Storrs Lectures at Yale Law School on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31. Her first lecture is titled “The Making of New Bordering Capabilities,” and her second, on Tuesday, is “Ungoverned Territories or New Types of Rights and Authority?” (see descriptions below).

Both lectures will be held at 4:30 p.m. in the Faculty Lounge and are free and open to the public. A reception will be held in the Alumni Reading Room following Monday’s lecture.

Saskia Sassen is the Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology and co-chair of The Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University. She is the author of numerous books, including “Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages” (Princeton University Press, 2008), “A Sociology of Globalization” (W.W. Norton, 2007), and the 4th fully updated edition of “Cities in a World Economy” (Sage, 2012). Her book, The Global City,” came out in a new fully updated edition in 2001. She is currently working on “When Territory Exits Existing Frameworks” under contract with Harvard University Press. Her books have been translated into more than twenty languages. She is a regular contributor to www.OpenDemocracy.net and www.HuffingtonPost.com.  

This is how Professor Sassen describes her lectures:

Monday – The Making of New Bordering Capabilities: New tightly bordered spaces that cut across traditional inter-state borders have multiplied in tandem with the reduced weight of the latter. This is the organizing hypothesis I explore in this lecture. The existence of such new bordering capabilities qualifies, or even overrides, the common proposition that deregulating traditional borders entails a substantive shift to a “borderless world.” Such a lesser weight of borders may indeed hold for traditional inter-state borders. But if we disembed bordering from that traditional institutional setting, we make conceptual room for such new kinds of borderings. And we confront the question not only of the existence of such borderings, but also of the making of bordering capabilities it entails, capabilities once exclusive to national states.

Tuesday – Ungoverned Territories or New Types of Rights and Authority?: The making of new types of bordering capabilities can be both cause and consequence of a corresponding emergence of new spaces carved out of long-established national and inter-state governance frameworks. Seen through the lens of the conventions of the inter-state system, such spaces can be conceived of as ungoverned territories, to be mapped as the equivalent of the terra nullius of an older era. From a governance perspective, such spaces could be considered ungoverned territories. In this lecture, I examine to what extent these spaces carved out of older jurisdictions might in fact generate novel forms of authority and rights. Further, I ask whether they drag elements of the rights and authorities associated with established jurisdictions into their orbit. A critical implication of this conceptualization is that it problematizes the proposition that traditional national borders encase the “national.” This, in turn, raises implications for the meaning of sovereignty. While sovereignty remains a key systemic property, we need to examine whether its institutional homes remain unchanged given the geopolitical consequences of these new transversal bordered spaces.

The Storrs Lectures, one of Yale Law School's oldest and most prestigious lecture programs, were established in 1889. These annual lectures are given by a prominent scholar and deal with fundamental problems of law and jurisprudence.