David W. Kennedy

Manley O. Hudson Professor of Law

Director, Institute for Global Law and Policy

Biography

David 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.

As a practicing lawyer and consultant, Professor Kennedy has worked on numerous international projects, both commercial and public, including work with PricewaterhouseCoopers with their emerging markets and anti-corruption practice, with the United Nations, the Commission of the European Union, the Qatar Foundation and with the private firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen and Hamilton in Brussels, where his work combined European antitrust litigation, government relations advising and general corporate law. A member of the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations, he is past Chair and Member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Advisory Council on Global Governance. In 2011, he was appointed Foreign Advisor to Thailand’s Truth for Reconciliation Commission and now serves as a member of the Asian Peace and Reconciliation Commission.

At Harvard, he served as Chair of the Graduate Committee and Faculty Director of International Legal Studies. He founded the European Law Research Center at Harvard in 1991 and served continuously as its Faculty Director. He has advised a number of educational institutions on their academic programs, and lectured as a Visiting Professor at numerous universities across the world. In 2008-2009, he served as Vice President for International Affairs, University Professor of Law and David and Marianna Fisher University Professor of International Relations at Brown University.

http://www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/dkennedy/

Areas of Interest

David Kennedy, A World of Struggle: How Power, Law and Expertise Shape Global Political Economy (Princeton Univ. Press 2016).
Categories:
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
Sub-Categories:
Foreign Relations
,
International Trade
,
Human Rights Law
,
Nonprofit & Nongovernmental Organizations
,
International Humanitarian Law
,
International Law
,
Treaties & International Agreements
Type: Book
Abstract
"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."
David W. Kennedy, The Rights of Spring: A Memoir of Innocence Abroad (Princeton Univ. Press 2009).
Categories:
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
Sub-Categories:
Human Rights Law
,
International Humanitarian Law
Type: Book
Abstract
One spring more than twenty years ago, David Kennedy visited Ana in an Uruguayan prison as part of the first wave of humanitarian activists to take the fight for human rights to the very sites where atrocities were committed. Kennedy was eager to learn what human rights workers could do, idealistic about changing the world and helping people like Ana. But he also had doubts. What could activists really change? Was there something unseemly about humanitarians from wealthy countries flitting into dictatorships, presenting themselves as white knights, and taking in the tourist sites before flying home? Kennedy wrote up a memoir of his hopes and doubts on that trip to Uruguay and combines it here with reflections on what has happened to the world of international humanitarianism since.
David W. Kennedy, Of Law and War (Princeton Univ. Press 2006).
Categories:
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
Sub-Categories:
International Humanitarian Law
,
Laws of Armed Conflict
Type: Book
Abstract
Modern war is law pursued by other means. Once a bit player in military conflict, law now shapes the institutional, logistical, and physical landscape of war. At the same time, law has become a political and ethical vocabulary for marking legitimate power and justifiable death. As a result, the battlespace is as legally regulated as the rest of modern life. In Of War and Law, David Kennedy examines this important development, retelling the history of modern war and statecraft as a tale of the changing role of law and the dramatic growth of law's power. Not only a restraint and an ethical yardstick, law can also be a weapon--a strategic partner, a force multiplier, and an excuse for terrifying violence.
Law and Economics with Chinese Characteristics: Institutions for Promoting Development in the Twenty-First Century (David W. Kennedy & Joseph E. Stiglitz eds., Oxford Univ. Press 2013).
Categories:
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
,
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
Sub-Categories:
Law & Economics
,
Foreign Law
Type: Book
Abstract
This volume examines the role of law in economic development. It focuses on China and analyzes how the development policies and institutional characteristics of the emerging Chinese market economy might aid policymakers, in developed and developing countries, to create and reform frameworks to achieve equitable and sustained development.
David W. Kennedy, Law and the Political Economy of the World, 26 Leiden J. Int'l L. 7 (2013).
Categories:
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
,
Banking & Finance
Sub-Categories:
Economics
,
International Law
,
International Monetary Systems
Type: Article
Abstract
The interpenetration of global political and economic life has placed questions of ‘political economy’ on the scholarly agenda across the social sciences. The author argues that international law could contribute to understanding and transforming centre–periphery patterns of dynamic inequality in global political economic life. The core elements of both economic and political activity – capital, labour, credit, and money, as well as public or private power and right – are legal institutions. Law is the link binding centres and peripheries to one another and structuring their interaction. It is also the vernacular through which power and wealth justify their exercise and shroud their authority. The author proposes rethinking international law as a terrain for political and economic struggle rather than as a normative or technical substitute for political choice, itself indifferent to natural flows of economic activity.
David Kennedy, Lawfare and Warfare, in The Cambridge Companion to International Law 158 (James Crawford & Martti Koskenniemi eds., Cambridge Univ. Press 2012).
Categories:
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
Sub-Categories:
Laws of Armed Conflict
,
International Law
Type: Book
Abstract
"This intellectually rigorous introduction to international law encourages readers to engage with multiple aspects of the topic: as 'law' directing and shaping its subjects; as a technique for governing the world of states and beyond statehood; and as a framework within which several critical and constructivist projects are articulated. The articles situate international law in its historical and ideological context and examine core concepts such as sovereignty, jurisdiction and the state. Attention is also given to its operation within international institutions and in dispute settlement, and a separate section is devoted to international law's 'projects': protecting human rights, eradicating poverty, the conservation of resources, the regulation of international trade and investment and the establishment of international order. The diverse group of contributors draws from disciplinary orientations ranging from positivism to postmodernism to ensure that this book is informed theoretically and politically, as well as grounded in practice"
New Approaches to International Law: The European and American Experiences (José María Beneyto & David Kennedy eds., T. M. C. Asser Press 2012).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
,
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
Sub-Categories:
Human Rights Law
,
International Law
Type: Book
David W. Kennedy, Some Caution About Property Rights as a Recipe for Economic Development, 1 Acct. Econ. & L. 1 (2011).
Categories:
Property Law
,
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
Sub-Categories:
Law & Economics
,
Property Rights
Type: Article
Abstract
In recent years, enhancing the security and clarity or formality of property rights has become something of an idée fixe among global development policy experts. This is more ideological assertion than careful history, however. Western economies have experienced periods of aggressive industrialization and economic growth with a wide range of different property regimes in place. Throughout the West, property rights have always been embedded in a complex legal fabric which modifies their meaning and qualifies their enforcement. In fact, most proposals for “strong and clear” property rights rest, at least in part, on lay conceptions about the legal order which are simply not warranted. These include the following: that “property rights” have an ideal form which can be disentangled from the warp and woof of social and economic struggle in a society; that “private order,” including property rights, and “public regulation” can and ought to be cleanly separated, the one supporting the market, the other potentially distorting it; that “strengthening” property rights has no distributive implications, if only because property law concerns the “rights” of individuals over things rather than complex relations of reciprocal rights and duties among people with respect to things; that concerns about social uses and obligations are only properly pursued outside the property regime, through social regulation of one or another sort; that in a well functioning market economy, all “private” rights can and will be freely rearranged by market forces, rendering decisions about their initial allocation unimportant; or that the formalization of property rights leads cleanly to both efficiency and growth, eliminating the need for policy judgment about the desirability of alternative uses and distributional arrangements. Each of these six ideas supports the notion that the development of a proper law of property can be accomplished without facing complex questions of social, political and economic strategy. But each is incorrect. Property law is a critical domain for engaging, debating and institutionalizing development policy, but it is not a substitute for strategic analysis and political choice. In this short essay, I review these common, if mistaken, ideas about property rights in the West in light of the Western experience. My objective is to place the strategic choices embedded in any property regime in the foreground and lead one to hesitate before accepting conventional neo-liberal wisdom about the importance of “clear” or “strong property rights” for economic development.
David W. Kennedy, Reassessing International Humanitarianism: The Dark Sides, in International Law and its Others 131 (Anne Orford ed., Cambridge Univ. Press, 2006).
Categories:
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
Sub-Categories:
International Humanitarian Law
,
International Law
Type: Book
Abstract
"Institutional and political developments since the end of the Cold War have led to a revival of public interest in, and anxiety about, international law. Liberal international law is appealed to as offering a means of constraining power and as representing universal values. This book brings together scholars who draw on jurisprudence, philosophy, legal history and political theory to analyse the stakes of this turn towards international law. Contributors explore the history of relations between international law and those it defines as other - other traditions, other logics, other forces, and other groups. They explore the archive of international law as a record of attempts by scholars, bureaucrats, decision-makers and legal professionals to think about what happens to law at the limits of modern political organization."
David W. Kennedy, Challenging Expert Rule: The Politics of Global Governance, 27 Sydney J. Int'l. L. 5 (2005).
Categories:
Banking & Finance
,
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
Sub-Categories:
Financial Reform
,
International Monetary Systems
,
International Law
Type: Article
Abstract
In my Julius Stone Memorial Address, I explored the hypothesis that everyday decisions made by the professionals who manage norms and institutions which seem to lie in the background of global politics may be more important to global wealth and poverty than what we customarily think of as the big political and economic decisions made by parliaments and presidents or brought about by war and peace. If you have the energy to protest, criticise and change the distribution of wealth and status in our newly globalised world, it can be hard to locate points at which allocative decisions can be politically contested. The urgent political disputes that become international front-page news can seem peripheral to the decisions responsible for the distribution of things in the world. Although meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or the G–7 (Group of Seven) provide useful backdrops for street protest and media attention, it is not clear that the decisions being taken inside those meeting rooms are either meaningfully responsible for global distributions of wealth and power or contestable in conventional political terms. Although it is easy to think of international affairs as a rolling sea of politics over which we have managed to throw but a thin net of legal rules, in truth the situation today is more the reverse. There is law at every turn— and only the most marginal opportunities for engaged political contestation. The footprint of national rules and national adjudication extends far beyond their nominal territorial jurisdiction. Private ordering, standards bodies, financial institutions and payment systems, tax systems, trade regimes — all are managed by legal expertise. Indeed, to say the world is covered in law is also to say we are increasingly governed by experts — legal experts. Even the story of the war in Iraq is overwhelmingly one of law, of military force mobilised coordinated and legitimated by law. The difficulty is to understand more adequately what these experts do, the nature and limits of their vocabulary, and the possibilities for translating their work into politically contestable terms — or promoting the experience of responsible human freedom among the experts who govern our world.
David W. Kennedy, The Dark Sides of Virtue: Reassessing International Humanitarianism (Princeton Univ. Press 2004).
Categories:
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
Sub-Categories:
International Humanitarian Law
,
International Law
,
Human Rights Law
Type: Book
Abstract
In this provocative and timely book, David Kennedy explores what can go awry when we put our humanitarian yearnings into action on a global scale--and what we can do in response. Rooted in Kennedy's own experience in numerous humanitarian efforts, the book examines campaigns for human rights, refugee protection, economic development, and for humanitarian limits to the conduct of war. It takes us from the jails of Uruguay to the corridors of the United Nations, from the founding of a non-governmental organization dedicated to the liberation of East Timor to work aboard an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf. Kennedy shares the satisfactions of international humanitarian engagement--but also the disappointments of a faith betrayed. With humanitarianism's new power comes knowledge that even the most well-intentioned projects can create as many problems as they solve. Kennedy develops a checklist of the unforeseen consequences, blind spots, and biases of humanitarian work--from focusing too much on rules and too little on results to the ambiguities of waging war in the name of human rights. He explores the mix of altruism, self-doubt, self-congratulation, and simple disorientation that accompany efforts to bring humanitarian commitments to foreign settings. Writing for all those who wish that "globalization" could be more humane, Kennedy urges us to think and work more pragmatically.
David W. Kennedy, When Renewal Repeats Thinking Against the Box, 32 N.Y. U. J. Int'l. L. & Pol. 335 (2000).
Categories:
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
,
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
Sub-Categories:
Legal Theory & Philosophy
,
International Law
Type: Article
David W. Kennedy, New Approaches to Comparative Law: Comparativism and International Governance, 2 Utah L. Rev. 545 (1997).
Categories:
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
,
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
Sub-Categories:
Legal Theory & Philosophy
,
Comparative Law
,
International Law
Type: Article
David W. Kennedy, The International Style in Postwar Law and Policy, 1 Utah L. Rev. 7, (1994)
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
,
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
Sub-Categories:
Legal Theory & Philosophy
,
International Law
Type: Article

Current Courses

Course Catalog View

Additional Information

Lectures and Presentations by Professor David Kennedy

Professor David Kennedy, IGLP Director, has participated over the years and will participate during 2016 in many conferences and seminars, giving lectures or serving as a panelist in many of them. These include:

  • "How Law and Expertise Shape Global Political Economy,” Institute for Global Law and Policy, Madrid, Spain, July 20, 2016
  • Remarks, IGLP Workshop, Madrid Spain, July 18-22, 2016
  • “Navigating Issues of Global Law and Policy,” professional education course, Centro de Estudios Garrigues, Madrid Spain, July 12-13, 2016
  • Opening remarks, IGLP Colloquium, Harvard Law School, June 5, 2016
  • “The Contemporary Politics of Unease,” presentation and press conference, Vienna, Austria, May 27, 2016
  • “Law & Politics in the Debate on UN Security Council Reform” panel, UN Security Council Meeting, Ascona, Switzerland, May 23, 2016 
  • Remarks introducing “A World of Struggle: How Power, Law & Expertise Shape Global Political Economy”, by David Kennedy, Institute of Law & Finance, Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany, May 18, 2016
  • “The Context for Context: International Legal History in Struggle” at the conference History, Politics, Law: Thinking through the International” at Clare College, Cambridge, UK, May 16, 2016.
  • “Neutral Processes and Production of Inequality”, Annual Conference on Inequality & Human Rights, University Texas at Austin, Texas, April 9, 2016
  • “Democracy, Expertise, and Public Opinion”, March 31, 2016, New York University Max Weber Conference on Democracy & Expertise, New York, NY
  • “Modern War and Modern Law” at the panel on “The Evolution of International Law & Ethics in Warfare”, NATO Defense College, Rome, Italy, March 11, 2016
  • Remarks introducing “A World of Struggle: How Power, Law and Expertise Shape Global Political Economy,” Harvard Law School Library, book panel, March 9, 2016
  • Opening Remarks, IGLP Regional Conference, Cape Town, South Africa, January 17-23, 2016
  • Remarks introducing “A World of Struggle: How Power, Law and Expertise Shape Global Political Economy,” SOAS, Khalili Lecture Theater, London, for the London Review of International Law, January 14, 2016
  • Remarks at the meeting of the Asian Peace and Reconciliation Council, annual meeting, Beijing, China, December 1, 2015
  • “Law & Distributive Struggle in a Global Political Economy”, Keynote Lecture, University College London Symposium, London, UK, November 12, 2015
  • “Heterodox Law and Heterodox Economics: An Alliance,” remarks for the celebration of Joseph Stiglitz’s 50 years of teaching, Columbia University, October 17, 2015
  • “The Powers of Knowledge: Law, Distribution and Inequality in Global Political Economy,”  Los Andes University, Bogota, Colombia, August 20, 2015
  • Opening remarks: What is New Thinking in Transnational Law?, at the IGLP Regional Workshop, Los Andes University Law Faculty, Bogota, Colombia, August 20, 2015
  • American Legal Thought, course lectures at the University of Freiburg law faculty, July 2-4, 2015
  • “Transnational Regulation in The American Legal Tradition,” course presentation at the Centro de Estudios Garrigues, Madrid, Spain, June 30-July 1, 2015
  • “Law and Global Political Economy” Faculty of Law, Oslo, Norway, June 11, 2015
  • Opening Remarks: What is the IGLP?, June Conference, June 1, 2015
  • “What is Expertise?” Harvard IGLP conference panel presentation, June 1, 2015
  • “The Law and Development Field: The Current Situation” at the conference “Critical Perspectives in Development and Global Economic Governance,” London School of Economics, May 22, 2015
  • “Regulating Warfare in the Age of Lawfare, at the conference, “Rape and War: Critical Interdisciplinary Perspectives, The Pembroke Center, Brown University, May 7, 2015
  • Chair, “Next Generation of Threats Symposium,” PricewaterhouseCoopers, New York, April 8, 2015
  • Remarks, "Thomas Piketty, Capital in the 21st Century," Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA, March 6, 2015
  • “Law, Expertise and Struggle”, Yale Human Rights Workshop, New Haven, CT, February 12, 2015
  • Opening Plenary, IGLP global Workshop, Hamad bin Khalifa University, Doha, Qatar, January 3, 2015
  • "Reflections on Global Legal Education,” Keio University, Tokyo, Japan, December 16, 2014
  • Remarks at the conference on Heterodoxy in Contemporary Legal Analysis, Kyoto, Japan, December 14, 2014
  • “The Challenges of Contemporary Global Political Economy,” remarks at the conference on "Next Left: A Progressive Answer to the Global Social Question,” Fundacion Democracia y Desarrollo, Santiago, Chile, November 20, 2014
  • "Law and Global Political Economy,” University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, December 10, 2014
  • “Law and Global Political Economy,” The Transnational Justice Lecture at the Center for Transnational Legal Studies, London, October 22, 2014
  • Remarks on Anticorruption, PricewaterhouseCoopers, October 14, 2014
  • Remarks, Global Agenda Council on Global Governance, World Economic Forum Summit, Dubai, November 11, 2014
  • “Global Governance for the Political Economy of Today,” University of Cape Town, South Africa, September 9, 2014
  • Remarks at the Workshop on "Law, Development & Poverty," University of Cape Town, South Africa, September 11, 2014
  • Presentation, "Governing Publics and Politics,” STS Summer School: Science and Governance at the Frontiers of Life, Cambridge, MA, July 31, 2014
  • "Governance and Globalization: International and European Answers" at a conference on international law scholarship today at the Lauterpacht Centre, Cambridge University, United Kingdom, July 4-5, 2014
  • "The American Approach to Global Law and Policy," and "Managing Regulatory Risk: Compliance in a World of Conflicting Regulation," North American Lawyers Program, Centro de Estudios Garrigues, Madrid, Spain, July 1-2, 2014
  • Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS), Dialogue on Diversity, Peace and Diplomacy, Putrajaya, Malaysia, November 11, 2013
  • Investing in the Rule of Law, Justice and Security for the Post 2015 Development Agenda, Bangkok Dialogue on the Rule of Law, November 15, 2013
  • Global Governance for the Political Economy of Today, Rafael del Pino Foundation, Madrid, Spain, February 21, 2013
  • International Law and the Center-Periphery Dynamic, The American University in Cairo, February 19, 2012
  • International Law and the Center-Periphery Dynamic, The American University in Cairo, February 19, 2012
  • World Bank Presentation , May 25, 2011
  • Global Governance and Policy: Structural Challenges, Zaragosa, Spain, December 9, 2010
  • Global Governance for the Political Economy of Today, Yaroslavl, Russia, September 9, 2010
  • Modern War and Modern Law, Suffolk University School of Law, October 2009
  • The Limits of Human Rights, University College London, October 9, 2009
  • Opening remarks at the launch celebration for the 15th edition of the UCL Jurisprudence Review, Tel Aviv, Israel, December 9, 2008
  • Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Dinner Remarks, The New International Law Conference, Oslo, Norway, March 2007
  • The ELRC: An Agenda for Research, Real Colegio Complutense, June 15, 2007
  • Keynote address, The TWAIL Conference, Albany, New York, April 2007
  • Modern War and Modern Law, University of Minnesota Law School, October 2006
  • Baltimore Law School, Center for International and Comparative Law, October 26, 2006
  • Modern War and Modern Law, Brooklyn Law School, September 23, 2005
  • Contribution to the Panel Discussion, Detainees in the Global War on Terror: Guantanamo Bay and Beyond, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, February 1, 2006
  • Modern War and Modern Law, The Fletcher School, Tufts University, October 18, 2006
  • Modern War and Modern Law, London, Institute for Policy Research, October 24, 2006
  • The Secretary General as Policy Maker, New York University School of Law, February 23, 2006
  • One, Two, Three, Many Legal Orders: Legal Pluralism and the Cosmopolitan Dream, Delivered at the Biennial Conference of the European, Society of International Law – Paris, France, March 20, 2006
  • Reassessing the Humanitarian Promise of the International Legal Tradition, Zurich, June 30, 2005
  • Challenging Expert Rule: The Politics of Global Governance, Cairo, Egypt, May, 2005
  • Reassessing the Humanitarian Promise of the International Legal Tradition, Hong Kong, May 9, 2005
  • Global Governance and the Politics of Expertise, Paris, France, May, 2005
  • Reassessing the Humanitarian Promise of the International Legal Tradition, Yale Law School, April 22, 2005
  • Reassessing the Humanitarian Promise of the International Legal Tradition, Zurich, June 30, 3005
  • Humanitarians in the Cockpit: War and International Law, Toronto, May 18, 2004
  • Challenging Expert Rule: The Politics of Global Governance, Julius Stone Memorial Address, Sydney, Australia, June 17, 2004
  • Reassessing International Humanitarianism, Paris, July 12, 2004
  • Challenging Expert Rule: The Politics of Global Governance, Monterrey, Mexico, November 6, 2004
  • The Dark Sides of Humanitarianism: Reassessing International Humanitarianism, Madrid, December, 2004
  • Was Humanizing Warfare a Good Idea? War and the Vocabulary of International Law, Florence, Italy, May 2004
  • The Dark Sides of Humanitarianism: Reassessing International Humanitarianism, Boston University School of Law, October 26, 2004

Click here for a complete listing of Speeches and Presentations.