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Decolonising the International Law Curriculum: A Critical Literature Review

Odermatt, J. ORCID: 0000-0002-6073-3033 (2023). Decolonising the International Law Curriculum: A Critical Literature Review (CLS Working Paper Series 2023/05). London, UK: City Law School, City, University of London.


This critical literature review analyses academic scholarship addressing decolonisation of pedagogy in the field of international law. In recent years, there has been more focus on the broader goal of decolonising the curriculum in higher education, including greater reflection on the way historical processes of colonialism connect to modern racialised disadvantages. The discipline of international law is addressing related concerns, particularly the role of international law in creating and perpetuating inequality and hierarchy. The review analyses the scholarship that has addressed these concerns in the teaching of international law, which is often criticised for presenting a Eurocentric narrative. It uses a semi-systematic literature review to synthesise and provide a metalevel overview of findings, review patterns, identify gaps, and lay the groundwork for further studies. It is based on a keyword search of relevant databases to identify literature on teaching and learning related to international law. Literature was included or excluded using pre-defined selection criteria to include books, articles and blog posts that related to decolonisation and teaching international law. The review highlights some common themes and challenges in the teaching of international law. It addresses issues related to decentring the mainstream approaches, acknowledging geography of knowledge, and integrating a range of voices (history, theory, methodologies) into the international law classroom. The review finds that much of this literature has been influenced by critical scholarship in international law, particularly from Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) scholars. It argues that this scholarship, while uncovering the biases in international law teaching, should link to broader research and scholarship on decolonising pedagogy.

Publication Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Additional Information: Copyright, 2023, the author.
Publisher Keywords: Decolonising, international law, pedagogy, TWAIL, legal theory
Subjects: J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
J Political Science > JX International law
K Law > K Law (General)
Departments: The City Law School > Academic Programmes
The City Law School > CLS Working Paper Series
The City Law School > Institute for the Study of European Laws
The City Law School > International Law and Affairs Group
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