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KDEC 9730 - Constitutionalism of the Global South

Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Autumn 2018-2019

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

The Indian Supreme Court, the South African Constitutional Court and the Colombian Constitutional Court have been among the most important and creative courts in the Global South. In Asia, Africa and Latin America, these courts are widely seen as activist tribunals that have contributed (or attempted to contribute) to the structural transformation of the public and private spheres of their countries. Some observers have argued that these courts' jurisprudence deals with problems that are specific to or have special importance in the Global South and that it does so through original and imaginative legal theories and political strategies. The cases issued by these three courts, some scholars have claimed, are gradually creating what can be called a constitutionalism of the Global South. In this course, we will evaluate the plausibility of these claims. Therefore, the course has two specific aims: on the one hand, to explore the theoretical and practical tensions and connections between structural social change and the judiciary in Colombia, South Africa and India; and, on the other hand, to analyze critically the idea that the Indian Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court of South Africa, and the Colombian Constitutional Court are creating a constitutionalism of the Global South. To accomplish these aims, three questions will guide our discussions. First, what are the specific theoretical and practical challenges that courts in the developing world, in general, and in Colombia, South Africa, and India, in particular, face when dealing with issues that are related to structural social change? Second, can we talk convincingly about the existence of a constitutionalism of the Global South? And, third, if so, what are the differences and similarities between this emerging constitutionalism and mainstream, Global North, constitutionalism? We will address these questions by critically analyzing two issues that have been central in the jurisprudence of these courts: cultural diversity and economic and social rights.


BONILLA MALDONADO, Daniel Eduardo (Universidad de Los Andes, Profesor Asociado)

Pedagogical format

Socratic method

Course validation

Students should write a 10 – 15 pages paper (70%) Class participation (30%)

Required reading

See syllabus for complete list of readings