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Ryan Scoville & Milan Markovic, How Cosmopolitan are International Law Professors?, 38 Mich. J. Int'l L. 119 (2016)

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38 Michigan Journal of International Law 119 (2016)


This Article offers an empirical answer to a question of interest among scholars of comparative international law: why do American views about international law appear at times to differ from those of other countries? The authors contend that part of the answer lies in legal education. Conducting a survey of the educational and professional backgrounds of nearly 150 legal academics, the authors reveal evidence that professors of international law in the United States often lack significant foreign legal experience, particularly outside of the West. Sociological research suggests that this tendency leads professors to teach international law from predominantly nationalistic and Western perspectives, and thus socialize generations of future government elites, activists, legal experts, and private practitioners to internalize views about “international law” that are not always truly international. After discussing and analyzing the new evidence, the Article identifies arguments for and against the current pattern.

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