How Cosmopolitan Are International Law Professors?
Michigan Journal of International Law, Vol. 38, No. 1, 2016
Marquette Law School Legal Studies Paper No. 16-09
Texas A&M University School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 16-38
18 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2016 Last revised: 18 May 2017
Date Written: April 21, 2016
This Article offers an empirical answer to a question of interest among scholars of comparative international law: why do American views about international law appear at times to differ from those of other countries? We contend that part of the answer lies in legal education. Conducting a survey of the educational and professional backgrounds of nearly 150 legal academics, we reveal evidence that professors of international law in the United States often lack significant foreign legal experience, particularly outside of the West. Sociological research suggests that this tendency leads professors to teach international law from predominantly national and Western perspectives, and thus socialize generations of future government elites, activists, legal experts, and private practitioners to internalize views about “international law” that are not always truly international. After discussing and analyzing the new evidence, the Article identifies arguments for and against the current pattern.
Keywords: Comparative International Law, Legal Education, Professional Socialization
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