Call for papers: Law, Science, and Indigenous Knowledge

A conference, interactive workshop and exhibition

4-6 July 2024

Call for Papers

Deadline for Abstracts: 29 March 2024

In the context of multiple, global environmental crises, policy-makers, scientists, researchers, and activists have identified a critical gap between science and policy in environmental law-making. Law-makers, it is argued, have failed to create rules or develop tools that respond to and address the significant threats that scientists are identifying. At the same time, scientific research and outputs often fail to engage with the spectrum of concerns that shape the law.

Both law and science institutions are plagued by issues of accessibility and both are shaped by social, economic and geographic determinants that often entrench problematic, exclusionary, neo-colonial practices and priorities. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the ongoing exclusion of Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous knowledge, and Indigenous law in law and science research and practice, domestically and internationally.

We warmly invite proposals for papers that explore the dynamics and relationships between law, science and Indigenous knowledge.

If you would like to participate in this event, please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words to by 29 March 2024.

This event will take place in person at the Cape Town Science Centre in South Africa. A limited number of remote, hybrid presentations will possible. Please indicate if you would like to participate remotely.

We have limited funding to support the participation of Indigenous researchers and practitioners as well as early career researchers. Should you require funding to participate in this event, please provide details of the requested funding along with your abstract.

We welcome paper proposals on a wide range of topics relating to theme, across disciplines. Topics explored could, for example, include:

  • Indigenous epistemologies and the transformation of international law;
  • Indigenous governance and law in biodiversity and land;
  • Approaches to the ‘gap’ between science and law, including conceptual, communicative, epistemic, hermeneutic, social, educational, economic, political, and justice-based;
  • Post- and decolonial understandings of ‘science-led policy’;
  • The problems of time and the temporality of law and science;
  • Access, participation and Science Justice;
  • Science and Indigenous expertise in Court;
  • The transboundary regulation of Indigenous knowledge systems.

South Africa focused topics might include:

  • The current status of benefit sharing in the South African  context;
  • The relationship between biodiversity law and the Protection, Promotion, Development and Management of Indigenous Knowledge Act 6 of 2019;
  • The adequacy of the framework of the Indigenous Knowledge framework to protect the rights of Indigenous communities;
  • The legal framework for the protection of the intellectual property rights of Indigenous communities: gaps, synergies and areas to improve.