Faculty Book Talk: David W. Kennedy’s “A World of Struggle,” Wed. Mar. 9, at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and panel discussion in celebration of Professor David W. Kennedy’s recently published book, A World of Struggle: How Power, Law, and Expertise Shape Global Political Economy (Princeton Univ. Press).

Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at noon, with lunch
Harvard Law School Room WCC 2036 Milstein East B/C (Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge

david kennedy poster

Professor David W. Kennedy is Manley O. Hudson Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the Institute for Global Law and Policy at Harvard Law School where he teaches international law, international economic policy, legal theory, law and development and European law. He joined the Harvard Law faculty in 1981 and holds a Ph.D. from the Fletcher School at Tufts University and a J.D. from Harvard. He is the author of numerous articles on international law and global governance. His research uses interdisciplinary materials from sociology and social theory, economics and history to explore issues of global governance, development policy and the nature of professional expertise. He has been particularly committed to developing new voices from the third world and among women in international affairs.

A World of Struggle reveals the role of expert knowledge in our political and economic life. As politicians, citizens, and experts engage one another on a technocratic terrain of irresolvable argument and uncertain knowledge, a world of astonishing inequality and injustice is born.

In this provocative book, David Kennedy draws on his experience working with international lawyers, human rights advocates, policy professionals, economic development specialists, military lawyers, and humanitarian strategists to provide a unique insider’s perspective on the complexities of global governance. He describes the conflicts, unexamined assumptions, and assertions of power and entitlement that lie at the center of expert rule. Kennedy explores the history of intellectual innovation by which experts developed a sophisticated legal vocabulary for global management strangely detached from its distributive consequences. At the center of expert rule is struggle: myriad everyday disputes in which expertise drifts free of its moorings in analytic rigor and observable fact. He proposes tools to model and contest expert work and concludes with an in-depth examination of modern law in warfare as an example of sophisticated expertise in action.

Charting a major new direction in global governance at a moment when the international order is ready for change, this critically important book explains how we can harness expert knowledge to remake an unjust world.” — Princeton Univ. Press


William W. Fisher


William W. Fisher, WilmerHale Professor of Intellectual Property Law and Faculty Director, Berkman Center for Internet and Society



Janet Halley




Janet Halley, Royall Professor of Law


Samuel Moyn




Samuel Moyn, Professor of Law and History, Harvard University


Lucie White




Lucie White, Louis A. Horvitz Professor of Law


More about A World of Struggle: How Power, Law, and Expertise Shape Global Political Economy:

A World of Struggle offers a dramatically new and important analysis of the logics, techniques, and sites of global rule. In it, Kennedy draws attention to the significance of expert work in the global exercise of power, shedding new light on the background processes by which the world is interpreted for ‘decision makers,’ and by which those decisions are then interpreted in and for the world. Written with subtlety and startling insight, this book will take its place in the canon of essential reading for those interested in the nature of contemporary global governance.”— Andrew Lang, London School of Economics

“To change the world, you must understand how it is put together. Kennedy’s powerful analysis reveals how inequality and injustice become entrenched and what might be done in response. A must-read for people of good heart who inhabit the professions of law and policy. Our technocratic world can be remade: Kennedy helps us see how–and where to begin.”— José Ramos-Horta, former president of East Timor and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize

“David Kennedy, one of our most cerebral and critical thinkers, here challenges the tyranny of ‘experts,’ whose strident cacophony of claims all too often passes for the apex of policy debate. Drawing on history, law, and economics, and highlighting the new salience of regulation as a principal vector of policymaking, he charts a highly original path and calls for profound change in how we conceive of international society.”— David Malone, rector of the United Nations University

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