Some Thoughts on Centring Pan-African Epistemic in the Teaching of Public International Law in African Universities

In: International Community Law Review
Babatunde Fagbayibo Associate Professor, Department of Public, Constitutional and International Law, College of Law, University of South Africa

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The teaching of public international law in Africa remains unresponsive to the imperative of decolonisation. The curriculum in many universities across the continent remain steeped in Eurocentric canons, and does little to disrupt hegemonic assumptions that place European thinkers at the heart of the development of international law. There is little attempt to provide a critical discussion around important epistemologies that emerged from diplomatic interactions between and among pre-colonial African Empires, and with Europeans and Asians; state building/state recognition measures; and negotiations and dispute settlement mechanisms regulating the activities of trade networks. In addition, the consideration of approaches such as the Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) that have exposed the non-neutral underpinnings of international law remains marginal or non-existent. In this respect, this article proposes ‘critical integrative approach’ as a viable ontological framework that should shape the inclusion of important pan-African epistemic in the teaching of public international law in African universities.

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