Passionate humility for global constitutionalism - a new paper out by Prof. Kurowska

September 21, 2023

Passionate humility for global constitutionalism in the aftermath of the Russo-Ukrainian war

Xymena Kurowska has a new paper out in Global Constitutionalism, a journal which publishes interdisciplinary research on the foundations and contestations of the principles and norms of global political order. The paper proposes an interpretative approach to questions of knowledge production.



This essay proposes the epistemic ethos of passionate humility for knowledge production about global constitutionalism in the aftermath of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. By employing the conceptual strategy of elucidation, passionate humility can reveal a counter-intuitively counter-hegemonic use of the global constitutionalist triad of human rights, democracy and the rule of law in the Ukrainian resistance against Russia’s war. As an approach to knowledge production, passionate humility addresses epistemic ignorance by retrieving situated non-imperial knowledges while also confronting the ambivalent politics of such knowledges. It therefore hints at how we can both decentre and make use of resources associated with global constitutionalism, without valorizing western elitist discourses, reinscribing the inter-imperial mode of knowledge production or sanitizing vernacular knowledges. Passionate humility does so in three moves: it problematizes hegemonic epistemic frames (either west-centred or Russia-centred); it foregrounds complex social agency, which resists a fixed theoretical or ideological language; and it reveals the contextual deployment of the Occidentalist language of global constitutionalism in the Ukrainian public discourse as a practice of negotiated subjecthood. Such practice can be counter-hegemonic without being inherently progressive.

Kurowska, X. (2023) 'Passionate humility for global constitutionalism in the aftermath of the Russo-Ukrainian war', Global Constitutionalism, 10 (3), pp. 1-12. doi:10.1017/S2045381723000229