Scholarship on the Teaching of International Law: An Overview of the State of the Art

30 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2024

See all articles by Lucas Lixinski

Lucas Lixinski

University of New South Wales (UNSW)

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Date Written: December 31, 2023


This chapter surveys the scholarly literature on the teaching of international law in a number of key European languages (English, French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese). It points to three major trends in this scholarship. The first is the focus on self-reflexive writing, when the international law scholar reflects on their own practice as a teacher. This literature showcases a turn to granular analyses of international legal teaching practices, and a focus on the localization of these practices to serve local interests, which simultaneously grounds this literature and contributes to important theoretical interventions elsewhere in the discipline, which query the universality of international law. The second major trend, historically prevalent but now in decline, is major assessments of international legal curricula, and attempts at creating uniform practice in the field for the entire world. The third trend observed in the scholarship relates to the place of the international lawyer in the broader university community, particularly within the legal curriculum. This body of scholarship aids in the grounding of international law in the immediate reality of the place where it is taught, since it displays an attempt by the international law teacher to see themselves validated in relation to other legal fields. I argue that, considering these trends, what is needed is more critical reflection on how international law is taught, for what purposes, and based on what premises about the place of international law in the broader legal discipline. This field of scholarship seems to have moved past the point where simply calling for deeper engagement with pedagogical theory is sufficient, without doing the work. The diagnostic is well-established, what is now needed is addressing the diagnosed problems.

Suggested Citation

Lixinski, Lucas, Scholarship on the Teaching of International Law: An Overview of the State of the Art (December 31, 2023). UNSW Law Research Paper No. 23-69, Available at SSRN:

Lucas Lixinski (Contact Author)

University of New South Wales (UNSW) ( email )

High St
Sydney, NSW 2052

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