Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Have we that kind of agenda?

'To what extent blogs such as this purposefully include or exclude certain other groups, or can be said to represent an identity-based ideological or political agenda, is altogether unclear.'
– So concludes footnote 307 of "Comparative International Law," published last year in the Brooklyn Journal of International Law by Professor Boris N. Mamlyuk of the University of Memphis' School of Law and Professor Ugo Mattei of the University of California Hastings College of the Law and the University of Turin, Italy.
The blog in question? Ours.
The footnote's linked to a statement in the article's text, that "identity and authenticity critiques also allow the demystification of the notion that given groups of scholars represent a particular minority" – that "minority" being in this instance, apparently, women.
Here in full is the rest of the footnote (altered so that cites are now hyperlinks, and so that yours truly's surname is correctly spelled). The passage precedes the footnote's last sentence, quoted above:
'In this respect, see IntLawGrrls, a blog co-authored by a number of influential female international law scholars, subtitled “voices on international law, policy and practice” and further subtitled “it's our world, after all.” The purpose of the blog seems to facilitate discussion and the dissemination of ideas. Diane Marie Amann, IntLawGrrls' Heartfelt Hello (“Women now have a hand in our world's affairs: think Albright and Arbour, del Ponte and Higgins, Ginsburg and Rice. Yet our voices remain faint, in backrooms and in the blogosphere. IntLawGrrls – women who teach and work in international law, policy and practice – hope to change all that. We embrace foremothers' names to encourage crisp commentary, delivered at times with a dash of sass.”).'
Pleased to receive the attention, and welcome the "influential" label. But not sure about all the points put forward.
Hard to see that our pink purpose, of cultivating more voices in public discourse, rises to the level of "ideology" – particularly as one might construe that term within the context of this journal article, which delves deeply into Soviet international law.
Is our pink purpose an "identity-based" agenda?
If the term's meant to speak of the fact that we identify ourselves via bylines at the bottom of posts, well, yes. But if it's meant to suggest that we purport to speak solely through our status as female human beings, not at all. Our posts frequently evince other, overlapping, complementing, sometimes contradicting identities – as friends/colleagues, spouses/partners, parents, daughters/granddaughters, students/professors/practitioners, lovers (or not so much) of art/music/film/literature, athletes/gardeners/outdoorswomen, foodies/fashionistas. You name the identity trait, one or more of our nearly 300 contributors likely possess it.
We have worked hard toward the "demystification" of which the authors' speak; that is, toward dispelling any "notion" that all women think and speak alike.
IntLawGrrls' posts have treated "gender justice," of course. But they've also covered areas as varied as the law of armed conflict, climate change, comparative criminal justice, information technology, and foreign direct investment.
In projects like our blog series and special journal issue on Women and International Criminal Law, we've looked not only at victims who seek justice from international legal mechanisms, but also at the creators of the international law within which those mechanisms work.
We've tried hard to include an array of approaches addressing this myriad of concerns.
As for whether we "purposefully include or exclude certain other groups"? (By process of elimination, "certain other groups" must mean men.)
Achievements of our male colleagues frequently are celebrated. You might say that men – like these co-authors, by way of this post – are given voice on the blog from one degree of separation.
And let's not forget our recent, very special (male) guest.
An exclusionary, ideologically driven agenda?
Just isn't pink.

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