Decolonising the curriculum in international law: entrapments in praxis and critical thought

Mohsen al Attar, Shaimaa Abdelkarim

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Calls to decolonise the curriculum gain traction across the academe. To a great extent, the movement echoes demands of the decolonisation era itself, a period from which academics draw both impetus and legitimacy. In this article, we examine the movement’s purchase when applied to the teaching of international law. We argue that the movement reinvigorates debates about the origins of international law, centring its violent foundations as well as its Eurocentric episteme. Yet, like many critical approaches toward international law, the movement is smitten with itself and with the regime. As a consequence, the outcome of its activism and critique is predetermined: both must redeem the Eurocentrism of international law and its associated pedagogy. Calls to decolonise the curriculum ultimately validate the epistemological limitations inherent to a stratified, international order, failing to offer a genuine alternative framework or epistemology.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLaw and Critique
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2021


  • Decolonisation
  • Decolonising the curriculum movement
  • Eurocentrism
  • International law
  • International legal pedagogy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


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