Charlotte Ku

Assistant Dean for Graduate and International Legal Studies and Co-Director, Center on Law and Globalization, Unitversity of Illinois;  and Former Executive Director of The American Society of International Law (ASIL)


Charlotte Ku of the University of Illinois explores the opportunities afforded by ‘taking a long view’ to better understand global governance processes. In particular, Ku draws upon some of her recent scholarship assessing how consequential change in international systems emerges from an accumulation of diverse events over time. Although academics have tended to focus upon the specificity of particular events, one should also consider a view that is longer in time and broader in perspective. Notably, Ku suggests that events of limited individual significance may in fact embody a collective ‘game-changing’ character when viewed in sequence. For Ku, this particular approach to understanding is uniquely situated to address the difficulty associated with conceptualizing the overall character of global governance. How do, for example, units of governance need to adjust or change over time? In detecting and observing patterns of behaviour as part of a broader schematic, Ku reveals how various ideational and material inputs come to impact change. For Ku, scholars must continue to seek out learning opportunities of an interdisciplinary character in efforts to better foster this ‘long view’.

Works by Charlotte Ku

  • Paul F. Diehl and Charlotte Ku, The Dynamics of International Law (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010).

Additional Resources

  • Michael Barnett and Raymond Duvall, eds. Power in Global Governance (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005).
  • Jutta Brunnée and Stephen Toope, Legitimacy and Legality in International Law: An Interactional Account (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010).
  • Daniel W. Drezner, All Politics is Global: Explaining International Regulatory Regimes (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007).
  • Balakrishnan Rajagopal, International Law from Below: Development, Social Movements and Third World Resistance (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003).
  • Dinah Shelton, ed., Commitment and Compliance in International Law: The Role of Non-Binding Norms in the International Legal System (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2003).
  • Beth A. Simmons, Mobilizing for Human Rights: International Law in Domestic Politics (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2009).
  • Anne-Marie Slaughter, The New World Order (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004).
  • Andrew H. van de Ven and Marshall Scott Poole, “Explaining Development and Change in Organizations,” Academy of Management Review 20 (July 1995).

Recorded January 2011