Shaimaa Abdelkarim


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Shaimaa welcomes doctoral supervision in these areas:
• Third World Approaches to International Law
• Law and Development (specifically through a postcolonial lens)
• Critical Approaches to Human Rights
• Alternatives to Human Rights Practices
• Law, Gender and Sexuality (especially in black feminist thought)
• Law and Abolitionist Praxis


Research activity per year

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Personal profile


Shaimaa Abdelkarim joined Birmingham Law School as a lecturer in postcolonial legal theory and critical race studies in the fall of 2021. Prior to that, she was a researcher at the Center of Research and Studies at the Hague Academy of International law (2020-2021). In 2019, she was awarded a Kathleen Fitzpatrick visiting fellowship for the Laureate Program in International Law at Melbourne Law School. She also held a visiting research fellowship at Warwick Law School.

Shaimaa has been an active member of various research networks including TWAIL (Third World Approach to International Law) and IGLP (Institute for Global Law and Policy, Harvard Law School). She speaks regularly at different conferences like that of London Conference in Critical Thought, Critical Legal Conference and SLSA (Society for Legal Scholars Association) and gives invited talks at several institutions such as the Laureate Program Seminar at Melbourne Law School (2019) and the Global Institute of Law (2021).

Shaimaa completed her PhD in 2021 at the School of Law, University of Leicester. Her doctoral thesis analyses the conception of resistance in human rights discourse. During her PhD, she taught on the Analysing Legal Concepts and Law, Justice, and Society modules at University of Leicester. She holds an LLM from the Law Department at the American University in Cairo and an LLB from Cairo University.

Research interests

Shaimaa’s research contributes to the growing interest in alternative practices to human rights and practices of freedom in the nonliberal realm. Her research explores the basis of action in human rights. Her doctoral thesis unpacks the function of anti-colonial resistance and social movements in shaping human rights ideals and offers a psycho-social examination of the concept of resistance in human rights.

Shaimaa has taken on a few research projects that build on her doctoral thesis. Her research fellowship at the Hague Academy of International Law examined the implications of centering a human rights response to COVID-19. She deploys a counter-narrative to the exceptional framing of the pandemic and questions global health governance regimes that reproduce a stratifying hierarchy between first world and third world societies.

Shaimaa also maintains an active interest in third world approaches to international law (TWAIL), postcolonial legal theory, feminist legal thought and black studies. During her research fellowship at Melbourne Law School, she examined practices of sovereign recognition in the League of Nations in relation to shaping postcolonial agencies.

Currently, Shaimaa is working on the significance of black and Islamic feminist thought in challenging the securitisation of gender struggles in human rights. Her research is part of a broader project on Feminist Collaborative Ethos in International Law.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Unbinding Repressions: The Conception of Resistance in and beyond Human Rights Discourse

Sept 2016Jul 2021

Award Date: 12 Jul 2021

Master of Laws, Master of International and Comparative Law, LLM , The American University in Cairo

Feb 2014Jun 2016

Award Date: 1 Apr 2016

Bachelor of Laws, LLB, Cairo University

Sept 2009Jul 2013

Award Date: 1 Jul 2013


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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