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22 Chi. J. Int'l L. 71 (2021-2022)
Studying Race in International Law Scholarship Using a Social Science Approach

handle is hein.journals/cjil22 and id is 77 raw text is: Studying Race in International Law Scholarship Using a
Social Science Approach
James Thuo Gathii*
This Essay takes up Abebe, Chilton, and Ginsburg s invitation to use a social science
approach to establish or ascertain some facts about international law scholarship in the United
States. The specific research question that this Essay seeks to answer is to what extent scholarship
has addressed international law's historical and continuing complicity in producing racial
inequaliy and hierarchy, including slavery, as well as the subjugation and domination of the
peoples of the First Nations. To answer this question, this Essay uses the content published in
the American Journal of International Law (AJIL) from when it was first published in
1907 to May 2021. It also uses the contentpublished in its sisterpublication AJIL Unbound
from when it was first published in 2014 to My 2021. The most significantfinding of this
Essay is that only 64, or 1.25%, of 5,109 AJIL documents substantialy engaged with race in
the body of their texts. In AJIL Unbound, only 11, or 9.94%, of the 568 documents
substantialy engaged ith race in the bodies of their text.
To accountfor the extremey low number of documents substantialy engaging ith race in
the pages of the leading international law journal, I advance four hypotheses. First, that this
absence is a reflection of the conscious exclusion of African Americans in the American Sociefy
of International Law in the first six decades of its existence, as the 2020 Richardson Report
found. Second, it is the result of the stringent scrutiny race scholarship in international law has
faced in AJIL and AJIL Unbound. Third, that the big or defining debates about international
law in the United States have focused on issues other than race, and fourth that color-blindness
has been the default view of American international law scholarship as represented in thejournal.
Ultimately, the point of this Essay is threefold. First, to show that the social science
approach that Abebe, Chilton, and Ginsburg advance can be useful to answer questions that
*   Wing-Tat Lee Chair of International Law and Professor of Law, Loyola University Chicago School
of Law. I thank my research assistants Michael John Cornell, Romina Nemaei, Caitlin Chenus, and
Audrey Mallinak for their invaluable assistance with this ongoing project. I also thank Loyola's
international reference librarian, Julienne Grant, for her important contributions to the research
process and methodology. Finally, I would also like to thank Tom Ginsburg, Christiane Wilke, and
Mohsen al Attar for their extensive comments on the draft of this Essay. All errors are mine.


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