Must International Legal Pedagogy Remain Eurocentric?

(2021) 11 the Asian Journal of International Law 176-206

28 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2019 Last revised: 20 Jun 2022

See all articles by Mohsen al Attar

Mohsen al Attar

Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU)

Date Written: November 25, 2020


Mainstream international law is Eurocentric. Throughout the past half millennia, no territory beyond Europe was safe from jus gentium’s striking capability to legitimise the intrusion of European civilisational precepts. Beginning with the Americas but quickly shifting to Africa and Asia, each continent was a battleground for the penetration of a provincial knowledge system. In this article, I explore the implications of Eurocentrism for international legal pedagogy. While textbook authors now pay homage to other civilisations, their effusions are ornamental only. Instead of supporting epistemological equivalency, they centre European international law throughout their works, exorcising the brutalities of European history that generated the law in question. After setting out the dilemma, I outline three approaches toward transforming international legal pedagogy that capitalise on the decolonisation movement. Each method builds on the premise that, without epistemic diversity, legal pedagogy will continue to rationalise European international law’s predatory impulse.

Keywords: TWAIL, legal pedagogy, international law

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

al Attar, Mohsen, Must International Legal Pedagogy Remain Eurocentric? (November 25, 2020). (2021) 11 the Asian Journal of International Law 176-206, Available at SSRN: or

Mohsen Al Attar (Contact Author)

Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) ( email )

111 Renai Road, SIP
, Lake Science and Education Innovation District
Suzhou, JiangSu province 215123

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