The future of feminist international legal scholarship in a neoliberal university: Doing law differently?

Date & time
1–2pm Thursday 26 October 2017

Phillipa Weeks Staff Library

ANU College of Law, 5 Fellows Road, The Australian National University

Ntina Tzouvala,Laureate Post-Doctoral Fellow, Melbourne Law School


For interstate visitors, we offer suggestions for accommodation near ANU.

Nicole Harman
College seminar

Institutional and material conditions matter for the production of feminist international legal scholarship as well as for the future of women’s engagement with international law.

This simple assumption lies at the heart of this chapter that attempts to map the consequences of the ongoing neoliberalisation of universities and its impacts on the processes of teaching, learning and re-searching international law in an academic environment. More specifically, I will reflect on how the disciplining of academic endeavours according to market imperatives has contradictory implications for the position of women within the discipline and for the emergence of feminist orientations both in the ways we teach international law and on research and publishing.

To do so, I will proceed in three steps. First, I will reflect on the need to examine the teaching of international law in higher education institutions as an essential step for safeguarding the future of women in international law. Secondly, I will map the transformation of higher education in Anglophone environments in the course of the last three decades with an emphasis on the rapid subordination of these spaces to the imperatives of neoliberalism. Finally, I will examine the impact of these evolutions on feminist legal scholarship and the position of women within international legal academia.

My concluding argument is that even though the marketisation of higher education has begun dissolving former status-based hierarchies and has opened up space for heterodox approaches to the discipline, increased emphasis on competition and an emerging consumerist culture are directly antithetical to a meaningfully feminist ethos in academic international law.


  • Ntina Tzouvala »

    Ntina Tzouvala took up a position as Postdoctoral Fellow with the Laureate Program in International Law in September 2016. In the context of the Program she will work on a project entitled ‘The Forgotten War: The Greek Civil War and International Law’. Prior to this post, Ntina was a lecturer in law at Durham Law School (UK), where she also completed her PhD thesis.  

    Her teaching focused on international law, international human rights law and research skills training for undergraduate and postgraduate students. Her research concerns international law, with particular emphasis on history, theory, and the political economy of international law. Entitled ‘Letters of blood and fire: a socio-economic history of international law’, her thesis traced the role of international law and international institutions in the diffusion of free-market economy outside Europe between the 1870s and the early 21st century.  

    Ntina also holds an LLM in international law from University College London and an LLM in sociology of law from the National and Kapodestrian University of Athens, as well as an LLB from the same institution. As part of the Laureate Fellowship Program team Ntina intends to analyse the impact of international law and international institutions on the Greek civil war. Being the first major incident in the wake of the Cold War, the Greek civil war posed pressing questions of intervention and international legality in the immediate aftermath of the UN Charter. More broadly,

    Ntina intends to examine the role of international law in the construction of European peripheries, the political economy of interventionism, and their lasting impact for the region.


Updated:  10 August 2015/Responsible Officer:  College General Manager, ANU College of Law/Page Contact:  Law Marketing Team