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Decolonizing Labour Law: A Conversation with Professor Adelle Blackett

Professor Adelle Blackett

At the end of last summer, Amin Parsa and Niklas Selberg interviewed Professor Adelle Blackett about her teaching and research on decolonization of labour law and legal education. The conversation was recently made public.

On 31 August 2020, the Sociology of Law Department’s Postdoc Amin Parsa, and Niklas Selberg, lecturer at the Faculty of Law, conversed virtually with Adelle Blackett, Professor of Law at McGill University. The interview, published in Third World Approaches to International Law Review, covered Professor Blackett’s research and teaching on decolonization of labour law, and the Othering of labour law by even the most progressive factions of international legal scholarship.
Professor Blackett asks what happens when labour law is forced to see itself in historically rooted, relational, and contextualised terms. While refusing continuity for its own sake, she stresses the need for developing spaces in which alternative and counter-hegemonic narratives about the purpose of (labour) law are taken seriously – those emerging from labour law’s peripheries in colonised land, dispossessed and disenfranchised people in the global South and North.

Professor Adelle Blackett.
In addition to her professorship, Adelle Blackett is Director of the Labour Law and Development Research Laboratory, and the Canada Research Chair in Transnational Labour Law & Development. Photo copyright: Lysanne Larose, McGill University.

The Professor also reflects on the significance of the Black Lives Matter movement, the role of legal academia in sealing out historical frames of oppression and exploitation, and our responsibility to cultivate a learning environment that enables students to engage with endemic anti-Black discrimination, racism and police brutality. Reflecting on her own entry to academia, Blackett once concluded that we all have ”homework” to do, including ”the redemptive work of transforming the institutions we inhabit, including our universities and law faculties”.

The interview emerged out of two events at Lund University: Professor Blackett’s presentation of her monograph “Everyday Transgressions: Domestic Workers’ Transnational Challenge to International Labour Law” On 5 December 2019, and the seminar “Decolonizing Labour Law and Conceptualising Transnational Law”, organised by the Law & the Social Research Network the following day.
Visit to read the interview with Professor Adelle Blackett.

Learn more about Amin Parsa’s work on his personal page.

To learn more about Niklas Selberg’s work, visit his page at the Lund University Research Portal.

For more intersectional law research, check out the research network Law & the Social.


Amin Parsa. Photo: Private

Amin Parsa holds a doctoral degree in Public International Law from Lund University. His doctoral dissertation deals with the legal consequences of the use of technologies of target visualisation by US military in its counterinsurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is currently a Vetenskapsrådet funded International Post-doc fellow the Department of Sociology of Law at Lund University and the Centre for the Politics of Transnational Law at Vrije University in Amsterdam.

Niklas Selberg

Niklas Selberg is a lecturer at the Faculty of Law. His research interests concern the legal system as it relates to the labour market. It covers the legal rules applicable to the relationship between employer and employee as well as between employer and trade union.