Res Omnium Communes, Res Extra Commercium: The Common Heritage of Mankind

Senior Common Room at Birmingham Law School
Thursday 9 February 2012 (12:30-14:00)

If you wish to attend please contact Dr Anastasia Vakulenko at


Staff Research Seminar: Ms Yoriko Otomo (Lecturer, University of Keele)


In my paper I will be discussing international law, property and their ‘missing connection’ – ‘the animal’. I do so, not through planning law (as my initial abstract envisaged), but by focusing on the curious question of the animal as it (in the form of ‘biodiversity’ and ‘cultural heritage’) has been inscribed by international law, both as property in common (res omnium communis) and purportedly as a thing prohibited from exchange (res extra commercium). What is the function of such a prohibition? What is proper to a form of life thus inscribed? While at first glance this conjugation (of ‘animal’ and international) may seem irreverent, I argue that the production of one is historically contingent upon the production of the other, and that they together form the ontotheological basis of our modern political economy.

Discussant:  Professor Marie Fox


  • Staff Research Seminars take place at 1pm in the Senior or Junior Common Room, Birmingham Law School
  • A sandwich lunch and a glass of wine will be provided from 12:30 pm
  • Postgraduate students and academic staff are welcome to attend.

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