The articles in this issue of the Leiden Journal of International Law (LJIL), on the life and work of Alejandro Álvarez, comprise the first in a series of occasional special issues planned for the LJIL, each of which will focus on the work of a leading international legal scholar from the ‘periphery’. In launching the Periphery Series, the editorial board of the LJIL had in mind the goal of focusing attention on the role played by centre–periphery dynamics in international law. The centre–periphery formulation of international affairs owes its provenance to political economy, in which context it is primarily associated with dependency theory, Immanuel Wallerstein's world systems theory, and more recently, Paul Krugman's model of the geography of trade economics. In part, the Periphery Series invites scholars to confront questions of resource allocation, dependency, and geography highlighted by those bodies of work. In addition, however, this series seeks to foster wider engagement with the discursive function of centre–periphery oppositions in international law, in their many and various iterations.