Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 June 2008
This special issue of the Leiden Journal of International Law on the Nigerian international lawyer Taslim Olawale Elias (1914–91) marks the second of the journal's Periphery Series. The collection of essays featured here serves essentially two functions. On the one hand, it pays tribute to an exceptional jurist whose work marked international legal scholarship during the years of decolonization. On the other, it invites critical engagement with the theme of international law's ‘periphery’. The centre–periphery formulation, as explained elsewhere, owes its provenance mostly to recent debates in political economy. It is a spatial metaphor which postulates a structural relationship between a presumed ‘centre’, typically portrayed as advanced or metropolitan, and a less developed and provincial ‘periphery’. In such debates the centre–periphery opposition is assumed as stable, decisive, and representative of the empirical reality of a ‘world out there’. The Periphery Series was launched in 2007, with a special issue on the Chilean jurist Alejandro Álvarez, to foster engagement with the discursive function of centre–periphery oppositions in public international law in its various iterations, and to confront questions of resource allocation, dependency, geography, and power.
1. See F. Johns, T. Skouteris, and W. Werner (eds.), ‘Editors’ Introduction: Alejandro Álvarez and the Launch of the Periphery Series', (2006) 19 LJIL 875.