Having dominated the discipline since its professionalization at the end of the nineteenth century, the standard of civilization gradually lost its predominance after the Second World War and came to be seen as an embarrassing anachronism, largely inconsequential for contemporary international law. This chapter challenges this conventional narrative about the gradual demise of the standard of civilization. It does so in conversation with critical historiographies of international law, including the work of Antony Anghie, Martti Koskenniemi and China Miéville. First, the chapter provides a brief history of ‘civilization’, emphasizing that its disappearance as an explicit concept was accompanied by its metastasis in the grammar of international law, the discipline’s structures and patterns of argumentation. Second, it seeks to systematize the meaning and functions of ‘civilization’, pointing both at its transformations over time and at its continuing entanglement with the logic and contradictions of the capitalist mode of production.
This chapter examines the ways institutional changes in (Anglophone) academia impact on the position of women as teachers of international law as well as on the project of feminist approaches to international law. To do so, I map the changes brought about by the advancement of neoliberal managerialism in law schools around the world and its contradictory impact on feminist legal scholarship. Indeed, marketisation and the rise of metrics created an ‘opening’ for heterodox approaches by subjecting academic production to the imperatives of quantifiable outputs, which partially unsettled established hierarchies. However, the same processes of marketisation put disproportionate pressure both on women in legal academia and on feminism as a legal project. The chapter proceeds to discuss the detrimental impact of casualised work and precarity as phenomena that disproportionately affect female academics, the reproduction of exclusionary practices and gendered hierarchies under the guise of market objectivity, as well as the contradictions between feminist critiques of violence and militarism in the international realm and the increasingly authoritarian and violent responses to dissent in our own campuses. Even though the overall picture is rather bleak, I conclude this chapter with a reminder of past and present feminist solidarities in academia and beyond that can serve as useful roadmaps when thinking about and acting for the creating of such material, institutional conditions that would enable a feminist international law to flourish.