Africa and the History of International Law
OXFORD HANDBOOK OF THE HISTORY OF INTERNATIONAL LAW, Forthcoming
27 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2012
Date Written: March 26, 2012
This chapter traces the two major trends in thinking about Africa’s engagement with international law from a historical perspective: contributionists who emphasize Africa’s contributions to international law, on the one hand, and critical theorists who examine Africa’s subordination in its international relations as a legacy that is traceable to international law, on the other. Each approach emphasizes different aspects of Africa’s relationship to international law. Contributionism emphasizes Africa’s role as a generator and innovator of international legal norms. The critical approach by contrast emphasizes the ways in which international law has legitimized Africa’s marginality in the world. This difference in the emphasis is a reflection of that Africa’s historical engagement with international law cannot be rendered in singular or consensual terms.
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