Research Handbook on Feminist Engagement with International Law
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Research Handbook on Feminist Engagement with International Law

Edited by Susan Harris Rimmer and Kate Ogg

For almost 30 years, scholars and advocates have been exploring the interaction and potential between the rights and well-being of women and the promise of international law. This collection posits that the next frontier for international law is increasing its relevance, beneficence and impact for women in the developing world, and to deal with a much wider range of issues through a feminist lens.
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Chapter 16: The future of feminist international legal scholarship in a neoliberal university: doing law differently?

Ntina Tzouvala


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.

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