Analysis

The Analysis Section of Afronomicslaw.org publishes two types of content on issues of international economic law and public international law, and related subject matter, relating to Africa and the Global South. First, individual blog submissions which readers are encouraged to submit for consideration. Second, feature symposia, on discrete themes and book reviews that fall within the scope of the subject matter focus of Afronomicslaw.org. 

Symposium on Early Career International Law Academia: Black in the Ivory: Reflections of Early Career 'Blackademics' in International Law

Following the uprisings for Black life in the spring of 2020, the movement quickly marched its way into the academy with the viral hashtag #BlackInTheIvory harvesting confessions of black scholars – or ‘blackademics’. This post presents the perspectives of six anonymous early-career blackademics from universities in Europe, Australia and North America, each pursuing careers in international law. Sharing their positive and negative experiences navigating this industry, this post aims to foster exchange and understanding about the relevance of identity when establishing an academic career in international law.

Symposium on Early Career International Law Academia: Gender Disparity in Academic Citations: Tips for Rectifying the Gender Gap among Early Career International Law Academics and Practitioners

The impetus for this blog post was the excellent book Invisible Women by Caroline Criado-Perez. Among other things, the book highlights evidence for the existence of a gender gap in the frequency of citations: plainly, women are cited much less than men in academic works. I would argue that this gender gap is likely to be equally pervasive in the context of international legal scholarship, and particularly prejudicial to junior women practitioners and early career researchers (“ECRs”). With this phenomenon in mind, this piece proceeds in three parts. First, it reviews the more general evidence for the existence of a gender gap in academic citations and legal scholarship. Second, it provides a personal perspective by reviewing gender equality in my own citation practice. Finally, it concludes by recommending best practices to minimize the gender gap, with an emphasis on the role of ECRs.

Symposium on Early Career International Law Academia: Difficulties of an Early Female International Lawyer from the Global South

The genuine character of our struggles and the originality of our claims are the tests that we must take to shed the accusation of imitation. The ridicule of Westernization has been best described by post-colonial feminists as ‘triple colonization’ which means that we are colonized first by the colonial power, followed by patriarchy and then by Western feminists. When accused of such a mis-step, there is a massive watering down of our concerns. In the words of Spivak: ‘Can the subaltern speak?’

Symposium on Early Career International Law Academia: Pursuing a PhD in International Law: Some Epistemological and Existential Challenges in the Indian Context

Academic inquiry can be varied, but some of the most streamlined and institutionally regulated ones are those which we conduct during our doctoral studies. The challenge with doctoral studies is not only in bringing out novel findings to disciplinary knowledge but also to present a likeable, marketable, and innovative piece of work. The whole doctoral experience is further enriched but also complicated by the life of the candidates, the geographical location they are working from, and, obviously, the issues that they are studying. In this post, I would like to highlight how international law as a subject is perceived in India, the academic processes surrounding the completion of a PhD, and some of the structural issues and problems faced by the candidates at various stages of the degree.

Symposium on Early Career International Law Academia: Your One Wild and Precious Life

In mid-2020 (as the world felt unmoored), I found myself thinking a lot about what gives a life its shape. I was reading two things that, at first, appeared unconnected – the 1970s diaries of Australian writer Helen Garner, and the testaments written about anthropologist and leftist David Graeber after his untimely death. But as I read these in tandem, I felt them each to be deeply relevant to the questions of how we live, how we create, how we attend, how we pay attention.

Symposium on Early Career International Law Academia: Balancing my Time or Why Watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race is a Better Use of your Time

not serious enough. I am extremely serious about my students and about my research I just do not feel the need to perform it or to ‘lean-in’ to a toxic norm. I possess privileges that help me do that, that is certain. But I like to ex-change top facts in non-sensical conversations that have nothing to do with law, I like going out for runs, I like watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race and What We Do in the Shadows. Anyone who tells you that those things are not commensurate with being a serious academic working the hours that are needed to be a serious academic are wrong.

Symposium on Early Career International Law Academia: An Indigenous Concept of Time and Its Impact on Time Management: A Personal Reflection in an Early Academic Career (Part 2)

In this post, I would like to shed more light on this by discussing two matters central to Indigenous perspectives of time: time linked to tasks or duties, and circular time as a means that is attached to an activity in progress. I will use personal experiences in an early academic career in international law to clarify these matters.

Symposium on Early Career International Law Academia: An Indigenous Concept of Time and Its Impact on Time Management: A Personal Reflection in an Early Academic Career (Part 1)

In this two-part blog post series, I will discuss Indigenous understandings of time and reflect on personal experiences in an early academic career in international law. Part 1 of this blog post series will be devoted to a discussion on a circular perspective of time, which Indigenous peoples use. Subsequently, Part 2 will illustrate how valuable such approach is by reflecting upon personal experiences in an early academic career in international law.

Symposium on Early Career International Law Academia: Am I an Imposter? Overcoming Doubt and Self-disbelief as an Early Career Researcher

I’m privileged that my time as an early career researcher (ECR) has been a positive experience. I’ve worked with and been helped by brilliant lawyers and researchers in a collegial, welcoming environment. I’m indebted to them for their time, knowledge, and guidance. Yet, despite this, since I began my doctoral research, I have the unshakable sense that I simply do not belong among these people.

Symposium on Early Career International Law Academia: Mental Health in Academia: Some Hard Truths

Some years ago, at a different institution, I reached a point where professional, workplace, and personal pressures intersected for a period and I was simply unable to function as normal. Depression is certainly a possible label, so is burnout. I sometimes think of it as an implosion. I was fortunate enough to get help, recover, move on, and I have not since relapsed. However, what one finds on the other side of such events is not a return to things as they were before. Indeed, returning to what went on before is quite likely to repeat the patterns which caused one to burn out in the first place. Hopefully, one finds instead a new, better normal.