Daniel Bonilla (Los Andes University, Colombia): Constitutionalism in the Global South

On September 28, Daniel Bonilla, professor at the Los Andes University (Colombia), was the guest of the seventh meeting of the International Dialogues in Constitutional Law in 2016. In his lecture, entitled Constitutionalism in the Global South, Bonilla presented some of the ideas of the influential book he edited, Constitutionalism of the Global South: The Activist Tribunals of India, South Africa and Colombia (Cambridge University Press).

His arguments challenge both the way the legal scholarship of the Global North takes (or does not take) into account what is written by authors of the Global South, and the way how academics of the Global South itself sometimes uncritically absorb what is published in the North. Combining epistemological critique with political reflection, his reasoning unveils the power structures that normalize the dynamics of how we think about constitutional law and law as a whole. His ideas allow us to rethink how we conduct research in constitutional law, challenging whether the mainstream canons of the North are really suited to deal with the challenges peculiar to the Global South.

Virgílio Afonso da Silva
Author: Virgílio Afonso da Silva

Professor of Law, Faculty of Law, University of Sao Paulo.