Friday, February 29, 2008

The Rosy Future of International Law: Redux

It's that time of year again -- I'm in New York today for the Junior International Law Scholars' annual workshopping conference (generously hosted by the New York Law School Law Review and Center for International Law). Yet again, the conference is dominated by women; 22 of 35 participants are female. The panels, which are divided into four themes -- Bridging the Domestic/International Divide, International Security, International Human Rights, and Trade law -- break down to 9 female presenters and 3 male presenters, will all of the commentators being female (including our own Elena Baylis). The first and third panels are entirely female and the second has one male and three females. The balance runs the other way in the final panel (on trade), with two males, one female, and a female commentator. (We did let in two males to lead the lunchtime discussion on "engaged scholarship" but balance that with a session led by the two female organizers of the group, yours truly included). This breakdown does lend some credence to the theory that the dominance of women in the junior end of the field has to do with the ghettoizing of warm and fuzzy human rights issues as "female" -- a question we pondered about this time last year in posts here and here. But with women at this year's conference presenting articles such as "Protecting Rights Online: Access to Knowledge, Human Rights, and the International Regulation of the Internet," "Beyond Legality and Legitimacy: The Erosion of the Nonproliferation Norm," and "Deconstructing Overlaps Among Foreign Investment and Trade Regimes", there's a credible argument that we can do well more than just the "fluffy" stuff. In fact, I'd say that we're taking over the show . . .

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